St Nectan, Welcombe
Welcombe Church began as one of the chapels attached to Hartland Abbey - founded in the 11th century - and was confirmed by name in a Royal Charter of 1189. The Font dates from those early days. St. Nectan, Patron of the parish, was a Celtic hermit who came to Hartland in the 6th century and gives his name to this church and the Hartland one. See the notes for the Hartland church (here) for more details of the saint's life.
Within our church is a 14th century wooden Screen, one of the most primitive examples of a great Devonian art. Over it is a beautiful early 16th century cornice, perhaps by the same craftsmen as the screen at Stoke church, in Hartland Parish.
In 1508 Welcombe was made an independent parish, and the church was "fittingly rebuilt" - transepts were added and possibly a new chancel and consecrated with the graveyard. A Vestry was built in 1911 around the ancient doorway and more recently a kitchen area has been provided in the vestry, with a toilet off that room.
The church, left open during daylight hours, is much loved and in a good general state of repair. St Nectan’s is the only church in the parish providing a spiritual focus for members of many traditions including C of E, Methodist, Baptist, Quaker and Roman Catholic backgrounds. Equally diverse are the types of service offered to members of our congregation. We have recently added more modern services at the request of members, which has proven very successful, although we are open to reassessment of the situation to suit future congregations.
Lay members of the congregation take an active part in worship, reading one lesson and leading the intercessions in all services, starting services when needed and leading services when no priest or reader is available. We actively include children in all services. We have a permanent and fully qualified organist who plays for all our services, weddings and funerals. There is a very strong team of bell ringers who ring for all events and enter and host ringing competitions.
Just under 200 hundred people live in Welcombe of whom 30 are school age or below. We do have a number of members who live outside the parish. There are a large number of holiday and second home owners who form a regular part of our services throughout the year.
Welcombe is an active and vibrant village comprising a number of small hamlets with a strong sense of community. The Church is an enthusiastic part of the community hosting a number of events each year. The Church Fete is very popular and the main fund raiser of the year. The village also has an active village hall with many popular clubs, a community shop, pub and pottery.