New Churches and a New Cemetery Timelines: All, Victorian (1837 - 1901)


Restarick’s Chapel was not the only one that sprang up during the late 19th C. In 1880 an ‘Iron Church’ was established in Barnstaple Street and 1888 saw a Port Mission Chapel opened at Bank End. The Bank End chapel was founded by the Rev Roger Granville, the minister of St Mary’s. He then went on to finance most of the cost of building St. Peter’s on Torrington Lane, a church with capacity for 300 people. Opened in 1890, the church was built using local stone and top quality fittings at a cost of £2,150 (the equivalent of £234,000 in 2012). The same year, i.e. 1890, the Church of England Cemetery near Northgate Cottage was opened. The Rev Granville also established an infant school for the children of East-the-Water (in Torrington Street, near the bottom of Torrington Lane).

Despite a sinking floor, the Bank End mission chapel survived until around 1980, at which time former mayoress Ethelwynne Brown was the organist. She gives her name to the local authority housing of Ethelwynne Brown Close. St Peter’s, whose location suffered from a lack of local parking facilities and the increasingly busy road outside its gate, is now also closed.

But it was not just chapels that were springing up all over the place. In 1879, the Barnstaple Turnpike Trust commissioned, as one of its last acts, 104 new milestones, each giving the distance to Barum (the ancient name of Barnstaple). These were erected beside the turnpike roads and may survive. One may be seen, albeit half buried, beside the bus shelter on the western side of Barnstaple Street.