History

St Peter's Church, Meavy.  Photo by Jon Tooke

A stone building for worship was consecrated in the centre of Meavy village in 1122. The dedication to St Peter cannot be traced before 1754. The medieval dedication, however, was probably St Peter as the village fair is held in June near to that saint's feast day each year.

The church has a Norman core with some thirteenth century work. In the fifteenth century the west end, tower, south aisle, south transept and south porch were added. The survival of a number of early windows from the thirteenth century is of importance. Two major restorations were made in 1873-4 and 1884.

In this ancient building, listed Grade 1 in 1967, prayers have been offered since monks travelled between the Abbeys of Buckland and Tavistock and the Priory at Plympton, visiting Meavy to celebrate Mass. The family De Mewi probably founded the church.

St. Peterís Church, Meavy

The oldest feature of the building is the square north pier to the chancel arch in pink and grey stone. The carved heads, disclosed during restoration work in 1873, are usually described as rams heads but the features are far nearer human. The additions of horns indicate ornamentation of the Norman period.

The embattled fifteenth century tower with four pinnacles, contains 6 bells, the clock and granite stairs in a rectangular turret.

The third Sir Francis Drake (1647 - 1718) a descendant of the brother of the famous explorer, purchased the manor house at Meavy, west of the church. The family acquired rights over the Lady Chapel and had a doorway constructed of granite leading into what became known as the Drake Aisle. The date 1705 and the Drake star are carved in the stonework outside. The stained glass in the window was given in memory of the Drakes of Buckland Abbey in the twentieth century. Members of the family are reputedly buried in a vault under the floor beneath the brass plaque on the south wall.

The roof of the chapel has some interesting bosses and James Hine, who restored the roof, wrote in 1873: ďOne represents a womanís head with a mouse coming out of her earĒ.

 

Taken from the church guide written by Pauline Hamilton-Leggett in 2004 and for sale in the church.