A major FREE attraction . This is a must-see on your visit to Brixham. Tucked away amid a street layout that reflects the middle ages this church is a hidden gem. It reflects not only so much of Brixham’s history but also contains a large graveyard with many WW2 graves.
St. Mary’s Church, Higher Brixham is the ancient Parish church of Brixham, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is probably the third on the site. The wooden Saxon church was succeeded by a Norman church 14 feet wide with walls 28 inches thick, the foundations of which are just within the columns of the North and South aisles of the present building.
St. Mary’s, with its lofty nave, like those of Totnes and Tavistock, is an instance of the new church being built outside and over the earlier Norman edifice. The actual date of the building is not recorded but the pillars are so close in design to those of Totnes Church (circa 1432) that experts think that the two churches had the same architect.
It is likely that St. Mary’s was commenced about 1435. The sandstone of which St. Mary’s is built almost certainly came from the local Berry Head seams, and the stone for the arches and supporting piers from the quarries at Beer, in East Devon.
There are a total of 43 war graves in St Mary’s churchyard, from both World Wars 1 and 2. To commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, each one is recognised by a poppy band around the headstone, and can be seen from both sides. Take a walk around the churchyard and reflect on those who paid the ultimate price in these wars, many of whom were so very young. Those buried here who gave their lives in both World Wars are also remembered here and below.
The historic Church is an essential part of our heritage but now requires over £750,000 of renovation works. If you can afford it, please make a donation to the preservation of this important building.
The Church will be open every day between 10.30am – 4pm (except Saturday 1st) with friendly church-wardens who can guide you around and talk on the wonderful aspects of this historic site.
St Mary’s will be hosting will be a Vigil Service on the 5th June at 7.30pm to mark the 75th Anniversary of D-Day on the next day to which everyone is welcome.