St Saviour's Church

  • Contact: Father Will Hazlewood
  • Address:
    The Vicarage
    79 Seymour Drive
    Dartmouth, Devon TQ69GE
  • Telephone: 01803 414767
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    St Saviours Church

    Gazing across the River Dart from Kingswear, one can see the ancient Church of Saint Saviour. St. Saviour's, except for its tower, is almost hidden by the Victorian development of the Quay.

    Permission for a church to be built on the site was given by Edward I in 1286 when he came to inspect the harbour for his use in his French campaigns. The Bishop of Exeter and the Abbot of Torre, who appointed the priests of St. Clement's and had not been consulted, objected and their objections were great and lengthy. Eventually, in October 1372 Bishop Brantingham of Exeter consecrated the Church in honour of the Holy Trinity but in 1430 was known as St. Saviour's.

    The oldest part of the building is the illegally built 'Mayor's Chapel' being the western part of the Nave. The Mayor's Pews, the official seal for the Mayor and Councillors of the Town, were installed in the Church in 1816 and have been moved several times. The St. Nicholas Chapel and the Altar and Reredos are comparatively new, being refurbished in the 1950's. There is a stone piscina for the washing of hands and the sacred vessels at the Eucharist.
    The South Door is one of the Church's great treasures with its medieval ironwork, and is quite possibly the original portal. In 1631 the door was the subject of a major refurbishment.

    The beautiful screen is made of oak and was built in 1480. It is decorated with vine leaves, grapes and wheat, symbols of the Church and of the Eucharist. There is also a carving of the 'Green Man' a pagan symbol adopted by the Church 1000 years ago. The Pulpit is made of stone, not wood. This is a fine piece of workmanship.

    The North West Case of the magnificent 1889 Bryeceson Organ is magnificent.  This Rococo beauty was the case front of an earlier instrument, originally sited on the West Gallery.

    The Altar is uniquely beautiful. It dates from James I and may have replaced an older stone Altar dedicated in May 1318 AD by Bishop Stapledon of Exeter on his only visit to Dartmouth.In the Choir there is a very fine brass of John Hauley and his two wives.

    The Lady Chapel had the Altar and Reredos installed in the early 1920's. The Reredos has particularly beautiful panels, consisting of mosaic pictures.
    The font is of Purbeck stone and dates from the 13th or possibly early 14th Century. The lid is of wood and modern.

    It would appear that at one time there was undoubtedly a rood beam in the fine chancel arch. A modern carved wooden crucifix painted and gilded hangs in the chancel arch and provides some colour.