About Wembury Church


The main part of the present church was built by the Normans in 1088, replacing an earlier Saxon wooden building. In the 1880’s there was a substantial restoration, significantly funded by the Corys of Langdon Court. There are a number of interesting items of stained glass and woodwork which contribute to the spirituality of the church. These include the St Werburgh Window dating from 1886 (this can only be seen by looking up from the front of church), the East Window and the Fisherman Window in the south aisle, both from the early 20th century, the Good Shepherd Window installed in the south aisle in the 1980’s and the Millennium Window in the east end of the south aisle installed in 2004. The nave roof, a traditional Devon Wagon Roof, has a variety of carvings and five of the bosses represent St. Werburgh and the four gospel writers. Parts of the roof of the south aisle are original medieval timbers.

Our organ came to the church in the 1960’s. replacing a smaller chamber organ. It had been built in Huddersfield in 1915, and was moved here having served other churches and has had a number of upgrades since its installation. The church tower was the last part of the building to be completed, early in the 15th century.  The 1552 Inventory records three bells.  The bells was increased to five in 1909 when they were recast to repair cracks. A sixth bell was added in 1948 in memory of parishioners who died in World War 2.

We don't know why St Werburgh was chosen for the dedication of Wembury Church as there is no record of her having any contact with Devon. She was the daughter of King Wulfere of Mercia, but wished to become a nun rather than a royal bride. However, when her father became the first Christian king at his conversion in 673 he acceded to her requests. In due course she was given control of all the convents in Mercia, and after her death Chester Cathedral grew up around her shrine. There are just four churches in the country dedicated in her name.

Visitors to the church will see the Australian and Western Australian flags in the south aisle, presented to the church in 1979 to commemorate the fact that the British flag was first raised in Western Australia by Major Thomas Lockyer, son of the owners of Wembury House.

More detailed information is available in our booklet ‘A Romantic History of Wembury Church’ available from the bookstall in the church.

The church is under the historic Patronage of The Dean and Canons of Windsor.

We also have ‘Friends of St.Werburgh’s church’, who receive an annual newsletter, and maintain contact with and support for the church.