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The present church building dates from the end of the thirteenth century. Monuments both inside and outside the church commemorate the Clevland family, who once lived at Tapeley Manor and the Christie family, to whom the house and estate passed by marriage. There are also monuments to the Berry Torrs, who lived in the littler village of Eastleigh. Some restoration work has been done, and more is envisaged in the near future when funds become available.

The present congregation is small and ‘elderly, though there is a much bigger body of people who come on special occasions and are willing to help in practical ways. The church and the pub are the two main focal points for this community.

St. Peters, Westleigh is part of the United Benefice comprising St. Peters, Westleigh, St. Johns, Instow and St. Peters Fremington.  

At such times, it is good to remember that the Church is not primarily a building or an ordained minister, but rather the people of God. People have worshipped here for hundreds of years and they do so still. Please pray that others in this generation will come to put their trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour, and bear witness for him in this rural community.


JULY 2022

Sunday 17h



 Dear Friends,

       This is my last contribution to the News.  It has been a privilege to serve as Interim Minister and to get to know the parishes and people of Taw and Torbridge estuary.  Some key moments include:  getting lost on an early February late afternoon coming over the top from Woodtown;  the amazing verges and their variety over the early spring;  the views from Instwo and Westleigh churchyards; sunsets, and the challenges of driving to take funerals during Storm Eunice;  the hard work, and the fun and laughter that went with it; coffee and cake at John's on a cold January day – and of course, a Hockings ice cream on the beach……

    We are so fortunate to live in such beautiful surroundings: sea, coast and countryside.  It's been a joy to see spring and summer arrive, with hopes now for good summer weather and a warm welcome for our summer visitors.

    We all enjoyed the many amazing events over the Jubilee weekend.  So many people worked so hard to bring us together and share in what was a very special few days.

    We are now beginning the process of seeking a new vicar for our parishes and look forward to welcoming them to a role which offers tremendous potential and opportunity.  The proposed interview date is 30th November, with an anticipated start in around February next year.  The time will go quickly – just as this secondment seems to have flown by.  As Anglican parishes, we are there to serve and support everyone in our communities - to be available for worship and pastoral care, as well as cherishing the heritage of our wonderful buildings.  It is a privilege to be there to support families coming for baptism, marriage and funerals; to contribute to national celebrations such as the Jubilee; to offer prayer and care for those affected by tragedy, bereavement, or challenging circumstances.  We pray regularly for Ukraine and those affected by changing circumstances at home and are thinking of ways in which we might help and support where needed.  

    I'm confident that our churchwardens and Parochial Church Councils will continue to do so while the vacancy process plays out.  Please, if you wish, pray that someone will see the advert and feel a strong call to serve our communities.

Our Diocesan vision is Pray, Grow, Serve the people of Devon with joy.  So many of our volunteers, whether churchgoers or not, serve with joy. They maintain our churchyards, give their time to meetings, volunteer to run events and fundraise, provide hospitality , support our services or offer expertise and advice on buildings, governance and partnership working.  We are very grateful for all that they do, and also to everyone who recognises and values the role of our churches in community life.

    So we look forward with hope. We're grateful to our retired priests and lay ministry colleagues for stepping up to cover services, and we will continue to be available to offer care and support through our regular services as well as funerals, weddings and baptisms.  We are not on our own, as we have good additional support from our Deanery colleagues and the Diocese of Exeter.  So look out for summer services, Harvest, Remembrance and Christmas services as the year unfolds.

    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

     With every blessing and all good wishes, Rev'd Marisa



July 22


    Themed' flowers arrangements consisting of blue, white and red flowers were displayed to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee together with a lovely framed photo of the Queen for our Sunday service. Thanks to Janet, Sue and Viv for their floral decorations.

    A very uplifting Baptism service of Noah Llewelyn James,  and Emily Arianwen James, children of Steffan and Esther James took place on Sunday 5th June and was conducted by Rev Marisa Cockfield. The church was almost full and lovely to see so many children in the church. Readers were Rhodri James, Emily Reynolds and Matthew Maguire. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this service.

    Dates for your diary:

    You are warmly invited to come and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea on Saturday 9th July,     2.30pm to 4.30pm in Westleigh Village Hall.  A delicious selection of sandwiches, cakes and tea/coffee will be included for only £8.  Booking is advisable (for catering and dietary requirements) no later than Wednesday 6th July. Tickets available from Jan Lees telephone number 01271 860035.  A raffle will be available.  Money raised will go towards church funds.

    On behalf of everyone we wish to thank the Westleigh Village Hall Committee for arranging a wonderful celebration to mark the Queen's Platinum celebration. It really was a joyous event and it was lovely for us all to get together. They had even instigated a flypast by the Red Arrows, which went straight over Westleigh Village Hall which was wonderful!

    We say a very fond farewell to Rev Marisa who is leaving the Parishes of Taw and Torridge Estuary churches at the beginning of July. We would like to thank her for her hard work, dedication, support and encouragement to St Peters over the past 6 months. We wish her well for the future.

    We extend our sincere condolences to Jean Cook and her family on the passing of her husband Oliver William Cook. A service to celebrate his life took place on Tuesday 7th June at North Devon Crematorium.