People and Stories

HLF Children's CHurch Trail at St Margaret's Northam
Friday 17th November 2017 found St Margaret’s Church Northam buzzing with children at the launch of the ‘Trail for Children'.

Watched by a number of guests, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Northam, Northam Town Councillors, Governors from local schools and committee members of NDDFAS (North Devon Decorative and Fine Arts Society), children from Kingsley School , Kingsley Prep School and St Margaret’s Junior School Northam, with accompanying adults,  were presented with clipboards, pencils and the ‘Trail’ sheet, and invited to experience following the Trail for the first time. They did so with great enthusiasm and interest.

Adults also joined in, going all round inside St Margaret’s to find the answers to a set of questions. The questions have been designed to encourage children and adults to see the many aspects of the architecture and furnishings of the building which often go unnoticed. The trail blazers were also finding out from their answers more of the history of St Margaret’s.

The Event was opened officially by the Mayor of Northam Town Council, Councillor Brading and the Chairman of NDDFAS, Mrs Pamela Selman, by together cutting a ribbon. The Trail was created by a Church team with the guidance and sponsorship of NDDFAS.

“It has been a joy to see how much the children have enjoyed following the Trail and learning more about St Margaret’s Church”, said the Rector, Revd Derek Arnold.  “We hope many more children will take part in future.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund has made a grant to St Margaret’s Church for the development phase of the roof project.

Trail Children's CHurch Trail at St Margaret's Northam

  See Pictures on Facebook


St Margaret’s Church, Northam has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for urgent roof and ceiling repairs to improve the building for community use, it was announced today. The project aims to replace the majority of the ageing roof and ceiling to ensure the future of the church building, preserving its heritage and history and making it a warmer and more welcoming place to improve it as a centre for even more community activities.

Thanks to National Lottery players, development funding of £25,600 has been awarded to help St Margaret’s Church progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The church has been a focal point for worship and the spiritual home for many people in Northam for centuries, and is currently used by a number of community groups for various activities, fairs and exhibitions.

John Lawrence, the Churchwarden, said: “We’re delighted that the HLF has given us this support. Besides church services, the Church provides a place for entertainment, concerts, fairs, group activities and meetings, and it’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving this beautiful building and its heritage for many more years to come.”

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said, “Devon’s historic and diverse places of worship are so often at the heart of our communities, and have fascinating stories to tell. We are delighted that thanks to National Lottery players we are able to support this project, which will enable St Margaret’s Church in Northam to conserve a much loved building so it can continue to function as a space for worship, and serve local people of all ages.”

About St Margaret’s Church
The parish church of St Margaret, Northam was built over 750 years ago with the first written record of its benefice in 1261. For many years the tower was used as a landmark to guide seafarers, the sides being plastered and white-washed to make it visible far out to sea. The church has developed over the centuries, most notably in 1593 when the north aisle was built to accommodate more people. The church was placed on Historic England’s “At Risk” list in 2014 with the urgent need to replace the roof and ceiling.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery

For further information, images and interviews, please contact: Anne Irwin, Secretary Buildings Committee on 01237 472891 or

Wiesbaden Boys Choir
Concert by the Wiesbaden Boys Choir with songs from: Gabriel Faure, Ola Gjeilo, Thomas Tallis, Henry Purcell, John Rutter and many more
Wednesday, 28th March  7:00 pm, St Margaret's church, Northam
Direction: Roman Twardy
See Picture and Video on Facebook

Thank you to everyone who sponsored a tree for our Christmas Tree Festival and those who came to look round and support it.  Everyone worked so hard, and there were so many different, pretty trees. The whole effect was amazing.
 See Pictures on Facebook

Rev'd David Carrington February 11th 2018
The Bishop of Crediton, the Team Rector in the Otter Vale Mission Community and Parish Representatives are delighted to announce that, subject to the completion of all legalities, an offer of the post of Part Stipendiary (0.5) Team Vicar in the Otter Vale Team Ministry with special responsibility for Escot, Feniton and Payhembury, has been made to The Rev'd David John Carrington who is currently Team Vicar of Appledore. Northam and Westward Ho! and Director of Lay Education at SWMTC and that offer has been accepted. His licensing will be on a date and at a venue to be advised.

Bishop and RectorNew Rector  
ST MARGARET’S Church in Northam was filled to capacity on Sunday 12th March for the licensing of the parishes’ new rector, the Reverend Derek Arnold, by the Bishop of Exeter, the Right Reverend Robert Atwell.  

Reverend ArnoldRevd Arnold was formerly at Saint Andrew's Church, Ombersley, Worcestershire, who was formerly at Saint Andrew's Church, Ombersley in Worcestershire, is to be the new Rector and Mission Team Leader for the Parishes of Northam, Westward Ho! and Appledore.

The service was attended by many parishioners, well-wishers, family and friends. Representatives of the church schools, town council and local ministers welcomed him to the parish.
Reverend Arnold fills the position left vacant in April 2016 by the retirement of the Reverend Canon Dr Ian Lovett.

Fish Festival
Westward Ho! Fish Festival

The third battle of Ypres (Passchendaele)
Remembering the men of the parish who lost their lives during this period.
Battle Battle Battle Battle Battle

Dressing the Northam Churchyard Easter

Last year’s Dressing the Churchyard Event at St Margaret’s Church was so well received that it was decided to hold it again this year. The members of St. Margaret’s Churchyard Project Group, together with Friends of St. Margaret’s, invited people to come and lay flowers around the churchyard.
Many people came, some from quite a distance away and as the weather was warm and sunny they were able to sit awhile on the various benches. With Easter being so early, the daffodils were still a glorious show.
Refreshments were available in the church and people stayed and chatted, and caught up with friends, over tea and cake.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make the day so memorable, by working in the churchyard, and by providing many delicious cakes.

Mission Community
Service of Celebration
to Mark the Formation of the Mission Community, 25th March 2015 at St Margaret’s with Bishop Nick.

Pantomime  Pantomime
In January each year Bright Stars perform a pantomime in Northam Methodists Church Hall.

May Fair
Northam May Fair
A big thank you to everyone who supported the May Fair.
The whole day seemed to be hugely enjoyed by so many people, a special event in Northam's diary.

Easter flowers
Dressing the Churchyard
Family and friends with a graves or memorials in St Margaret's
Churchyard visit on Easter Saturday bringing flowers to dress graves. See more pictures

Ferry blessing
 Appledore Ferry Canon Ian Lovett blessed the Ferry fleet on Appledore Slip in April 2014.

Archbishop Welby
Archbishop Visits Truro See an interview with Fran!

St Margaret's Community Churchyard Project  Local people from Northam & Bideford have given their time to restore the churchyard to order. In February trees were planted. Beech, Hawthorne and Blackthorn were chosen for the hedge and Dogwood (Cornus) to go in front of the wall. Western Power Distribution provided the funding for the trees and the Silvanus Trust provided help and advice. See Gallery for more Pictures

June Keal
would like to thank all Church members, past and present, who have  raised £340 for the Roof/Building Fund in the 3 weeks up to Easter by purchasing her first edition of ‘Barney Muffin Stories’. Grateful thanks to all.

Making Graveyard Welcome  See North Devon Journal article about the tranformation of the churchyard, including a picture of Reg Williams, Rod Hookway, George Powe and David Matthews.  In the next phase of our plans it is hoped to create a wild flower conservation area within the churchyard.
Thanks to all the donations we have received, we no longer require garden tools/equipment.  Also, we've received a grant from the Co-op Community Fund, via Trapnell & Sherborne - Funeral Directors, of nearly £400 to purchase a new strimmer and other smaller items for the churchyard; this has been a wonderful contribution towards the work there. 
The small hedge/whips which were donated by Western Power Distribution and the Silvanus Trust and planted in February/March are looking really good over on the Bone Hill car park boundary. Please take some time to look at the new planting and the care the churchyard is receiving this year.  Thank you to all those who come every month on the working party - more people are welcome to join us.
We meet on the last Saturday each month 10.00am - 2.00pm at St Margaret's Church & in The Churchyard.

"A little while ago our churchyard was unattended and looked a mess. Now thanks to our group of volunteers it is in prime condition and the daffodils look wonderful.
A big thank you to the group for their time and generosity."
Grace & Bob Trickey.

St Margaret's Churchyard Burial Inscriptions
These are listed at GENUKI Northam

St Margaret's Church Reordering Plan

 Reordering plan  Reordering plan
While replacing the floor coffins were discovered underneath.

Changing Attitude England founded in 1995, is a network of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual members of the Church of England. They welcome as members everyone whose concern is working for change in the church’s understanding of human sexuality.

Waste not, want not. How does the human race measure up to this wise saying when it comes to one of the essentials of life, food? Not well, it seems. Research by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, reported in the Guardian, found that between 30% and 50% of all the food produced in the world, equivalent to 1.2 to 2bn tonnes, never makes it to a plate and ends up as waste every year.

Transitions Exeter A global response to climate change

Church Bells Sadly our tower bells have been almost silent for some time, just rung occasionally by visiting bands who say that they are perfectly ringable. The sound of the bells calling people to church on Sunday is missed by many people – is there anyone out there who would like to take on the task of getting the bells of Northam ringing again?

Erica Henderson is in the Guiness Book of Records as the oldest stem cell donor in the world is celebrating that she saved her brother from leukaemia, and that four years later he is in complete remission.

If you have stories about local people, or would like to contribute items, email them to

Erica Henderson

Michael Henderson

Resistance and Renewal

Franciscan Blessing pdf

Churchyard Projects

Silvanus Trust

Silvanus Tree Plant pdf

Graveyard article in Journal

N D Gazette

N D Journal

Lies we tell ourselves pdf

Bideford Buzz

ND Journal thanks letter