By contrast there is evidence that the origins of All Saints Church in East Budleigh go back to Saxon times. You certainly feel that you're in an important historic place as soon as you enter the village with its winding main street lined with picturesque thatched cottages. In fact visitors from our sister-town of Brewster should probably start in East Budleigh if they want to explore the area, if only because of the village's centuries-old links with America.
All this remarkable history and more is contained in a recently published booklet about the village of East Budleigh and its church, commissioned by the Friends of All Saints. Hanneke Coates, who has lived near East Budleigh for many years, was responsible for the research and writing the text. A talented artist she also created many of the etchings and colour illustrations in the booklet. Her drawings of the church bench ends show particularly well the amazing detail of medieval craftmen's work. The example pictured above, showing the Seafarers' Seat, appears on the booklet's back cover.
I almost gave up on my search for Admiral Preedy's grave because the churchyard was so overgrown, feeling just a bit surprised that a national hero's last resting-place should be so neglected. But Hanneke Coates points out in her booklet that ancient churchyards are effectively miniature nature reserves, noting that 100 species of wild flowers have been identified. All Saints really is a place where you could quietly compose an Elegy in a Country Churchyard.
The booklet is most informative without being too 'heavy' about many other aspects of East Budleigh and some of the surrounding places of interest such as the Salem Chapel, even including Bicton St Mary's and the mausoleum a few miles away. It's an attractive publication which is certain to find its place on both residents' and visitors' bookshelves. All Saints Church and the Village of East Budleigh is on sale at the Church, East Budleigh Village Shop and The Card Shop Too in Budleigh Salterton High Street.
For more information about East Budleigh click on http://home.btconnect.com/eastbudleighvillage.org.uk/