Our Lady & St. Anne
A brief history of Widemouth Bay Church:
The little Church of Our Lady and St Anne is a satellite of the Parish Church of St Winwaloe’s at Poundstock. It stands in Leverlake Road about 300 yards from the beach and almost opposite the turning into shady Coombe Lane. It is surrounded on two sides by peaceful, sheep-filled, rolling pastures and by a small community of seaside bungalows on the other. In the old days such a building would have been described as a ‘chapel of ease’ which was erected within the bounds of a parish for the attendance of those who could not easily reach the parish church because of a long or difficult route.
This small cruciform building of wood and asbestos was first erected in 1929 at nearby Madeira Drive as a private oratory for the Kingdon brothers. This trio of priests: Fr Claude (Rector of Whitstone), Fr. Frank (Rector of Bridgerule) and Fr. Reginald (Vicar of St John’s, Isle of Dogs, London) were notable characters who continued their ministries well into their eighties. Every summer they spent the month of August together in this little private chapel where they prepared a full stock of sermons for the coming year so that each Sunday they were preaching identically.
In 1940 the building was moved from Madeira Drive to its present site which had been acquired some years before by the Revd J. M. Milner, the then vicar of Poundstock. Consequently it became the worship place for that part of this extensive coastal parish and has been lovingly cared for by a small but consistently faithful congregation ever since.
In the grounds of Our Lady & St Anne there is also small, picturesque timber summerhouse, purchased and erected by the church members in 2006 and which is used by both the congregation and the local community for meetings and events. There being no other public meeting place in Widemouth Bay, and thanks to the generosity of the churchwardens, it is a well-used local facility.