St.Winifreds Church

Normal pattern of St Winifred's Church Services

1st Sunday of the month: 9.30 am Holy Communion

2nd Sunday of the month: 10.00 am All Age Worship

3rd Sunday of the month: 11.00 am Holy Communion 

4th Sunday of the month: 6.00 pm Evensong  

Coffee, tea etc is provided  in the church after all regular morning services

When there are five Sundays in the month there is a combined service at 10.30 am or 11.00 am in one of the four parish churches in the United Benefice of Lustleigh, Manaton, Moretonhampstead with Doccombe, and North Bovey: see .

The Benefice service on the 29th September will be held in St Winifred's church at 11.00 am followed by a finger buffet lunch in the Parish Hall. All are very welcome: no need to book!

Special services

Sunday 8th September at 10.00 am: Welcome Back to Church service


Chris Butcher, tel.01647 221 251, email


Our church is open daily throughout the year, except in extreme weather conditions.
Everyone is very, very welcome!

The Church is one of the focal points in Manaton, occupying a prominent site in the upper part of the village on the north side of the village green. Lying in the lee of Manaton Rocks and thus sheltered from the north, to the south the view is across to Hayne Down and Bowerman’s Nose, a marvellous vista of the moor as you leave out of the south porch.

The oldest parts of the present granite-built church are the nave and chancel built early in the fifteenth century and later that century were added the north and south aisles, with the tower also being built then or at least soon after.


For the first 150 years or so of the present church, Catholicism prevailed, and during this time, around AD1500, the rood screen was built, with its Tudar Rose and Fleur de Lis decorations, commemorating many Christian saints and martyrs. When the Reformation came to England towards the middle of the sixteenth century a decree from the Privy Council in 1548 ordered all superstitious images to be taken down or defaced. It was almost certainly at this time that all the figures on the screen were defaced and the statues on the top removed.


St.Winifred’s is adorned with five stained glass windows. At the west end of the church stands a tower, 76 feet high and about 500 years old. The tower clock,installed in 1934 in memory of Charlotte Kitson, strikes every hour and can be heard in all parts of the village. For many years the tower suffered from damp and in 1931 a fund was started to provide a rendering for the whole tower and the Western end of the south wall.


Much older than the clock and even more audible is the set of bells, housed within the tower. In fact in the set of six bells there are three which are as old as or older than the tower itself. In 1934 all the bells were taken down, repaired, retuned and rehung on strengthened frames – a very necessary operation considering the bells together weigh 33 cwt.3qtr.11lbs!

With bells go bell-ringers, practising an ancient and traditional skill, proclaiming imminent services at the church as well as marking times of celebration and, with muffled peal, sadness. As far as we are able to tell a local team of bell ringers has existed without interruption and peals have been regularly rung.


The interest in St.Winifred’s, however, lies not only in the building and its interior but in the churchyard and the surrounds of the church. Approaching from the Green, one passes through the lychgate just in front of the flagstaff given in memory of Brigadier Welchman stands the village war memorial erected in 1921 to commemorate originally thodse who fell in the Great War. Later were added the names of those who fell in the 1939-45 war – together including names from many well-known local families. There, in the shadow of the ancient church, those who gave their lives in the two world wars are remembered annually early in November at the service of Remembrance, led by the local branch of the British Legion, at which a roll of honour is read and a wreath is laid at the foot of the War Memorial.


The cross provides every Dartmoor Guide with a good tale. The Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould wrote in "A Book of Dartmoor", published in 1900:

"In the churchyard was a fine granite cross. A former rector, the Reverend C.Carwithen, wantonly destroyed it in the night. The people had been wont at a funeral to carry the corpse the way of the sun thrice round the cross before internment. He preached against the custom ineffectually, so he secretly smashed the cross."