St Andrew, Alwington
This wonderful 13th Century Church has a majestic, stone cut tower with a grotesque gargoyle at each corner. It is popular for weddings for its setting, beautiful stained glass windows, the carved minstrels’ gallery and pulpit and especially the 'Alwington Bible' which is carved so lovingly on the pew ends.
The bells (two of which date back to the 1500s) are regularly rung on Sundays and other special days of worship.
The church has a stable congregation with a keen wish to work and grow together in all ways. Worship is shared with the Methodists.
The parish community holds regular fund-raising events throughout the year and occasional special events for the maintenance of the fabric and these are well supported by the wider community.
Beside the church is the former school, which has one large room, a kitchen and a ‘disabled’ toilet (accessible from outside for the benefit of churchgoers); this building is mainly used for church-related activities and community events.
The parish consists of a collection of hamlets (Alwington, Fairy Cross, Ford and Woodtown) and farms and isolated houses. This parish is entirely rural, situated roughly five miles west of Bideford with a population of 400 according to the 2011 census. A large proportion of the land within the parish is owned by the Portledge Estate along with the old manor house and immediate grounds. This estate has recently changed hands again and the house is currently the subject of much investment by way of restoration and addition. Our researches tell us that the Coffin family were initially gifted the estate by King William 1 in 1086 but it had to relinquish it some 17 years ago due to the accumulation of death duties.