Throwleigh, Dartmoor

Throwleigh Church. The first recorded rector was from 1248. The church is late 13th or early 14th century, but most of the present church dates from the 15th century.

Throwleigh is a small village on north Dartmoor a few miles SE of Okehampton, mostly built of the granite that forms the base of all of Dartmoor. Immediately to the west is high moorland with some of the tallest tors on the moor. For most of its history it consisted of the church of St Mary The Virgin, the Church House (to the right of the church in the image above and below), the Rectory and the Barton (The manor Farm with a few agricultural outbuildings) and a handful of cottages.

The Church House is well preserved and can be seen to the right in this image
The Barton is the original Manor Farm of Throwleigh. Notice the well built granite wall at the front.

I visited Throwleigh in late March on a lovely spring day with the daffodils on the church yard in full bloom. The church dates back to the 13th century, but most of the present building dates from the 15th century. Please note the priest’s doorway. The outer courses of the doorway are made from only four massive blocks of granite. Carving the very hard granite with medieval tools demanded a high skill! And I loved the untidy churchyard covered in daffodils. So English!

Throwleigh Church of St Mary The Virgin. To the left is the main entrance and to the right is the priest’s door
Looking down into the village from the churchyard. The priest’s door can be seen behind one of the gravestones

Stepping inside you find the typical vaulted ceiling with its waggon roof and roof bosses depicting among other things a Green Man and also the three hares with conjoined ears that I have described from North Bovey and also Widecombe-in-the-Moor.

At the far north end is the Easter Sepulchre in a niche. Every Good Friday a wooden chest containing a cross and consecrated Eucaristic Wafer was placed her to represent Christ’s burial. They were then taken out on Easter morning and were the main part of the East Procession to celebrate His resurrection.

The church interior looking towards the altar
The Easter Sepulchre at Throwleigh Church. An arched recess in the north side of the chancel used during annual Easter ceremonies. A crucifix and other sacred elements were placed in the sepulchre from Maundy Thursday or Good Friday until Easter Day. The sepulchre was generally set into the north wall of the chancel.

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