Last Updated on 8th July 2017 by Sophie Nadeau
There is a sad yet haunting allure that surrounds abandoned buildings. You can almost imagine what they must have looked like in their heyday, sense years of rich history steeped within their walls. Driving through the English countryside about a month ago with one of my good friends on the way to Salcombe, we stumbled upon the ruins of an abandoned church. It may have been a cold, windy and rainy day, but neither one of us wanted to pass up the opportunity to explore a new location- especially one as beautiful as the South Huish Church.
We quickly got out of the car to examine the church further. If I’m entirely honest, I’d never even heard of the South Huish Church (despite living in South Devon for almost ten years prior to the discovery). Plants grew out of every possible crevice and grass carpeted the presumably once paved floor. The only remaining features of the church are the architectural ones.
Although the church is essentially roofless, the majority of window arches remain intact, providing perfect framing for the rapidly invading outside world. Nature and man-made blend together in this still consecrated place.
Why does the South Huish Church Lie in Ruin?
A few photos and raindrops later, I was totally ready to do some more research to delve into the rich history of this abandoned church. Why had it been abandoned? What secrets had it witnessed between its’ four walls?
The church is now a Grade 2* listed building- meaning that very few alterations are allowed to be taken place to both the interior and exterior of the building. If the owner wants to make any changes to the building, then they’ll have to go through a length and extensive planning permission application (and have good reason for wanting to alter the building).
Built as early as the 13th century (later additions were made throughout the ages- notably in the 15th century), the church saw a rich history before being abandoned in 1866. It was abandoned because weather damage and years of constant use had led to it needing a large amount of reparations and the vicar of the time decided that repairing the church would not be cost effective.
Today, you can still visit both the church and graveyard of South Huish Church. Curiously, even after the church had been abandoned many parishioners chose to still be buried in its graveyard.
Today the church is supported and looked after by Friends of Friendless Churches. They are the caretakers of just under 50 churches in England and Wales, including The ruins of St Andrew’s South Huish Church.
According to their website, an annual service is held in the South Huish location. You can find more information about them on their website here.