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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.



Sunday 15th


Morning Worship  

Chris grew up in Cardiff and lived and worked in Portsmouth and Wiltshire. Before ordination he was a technical writer (writing technical documents for users of industrial equipment) and subsequently involved in marketing and training. He was made redundant twice, and after fourteen years (and selection conferences) he trained for the ministry in the north-east.

   As a curate, he served in Wiltshire, and was then a parish priest in the north-west, looking after two parishes in deprived areas for several years. He returned to industry and continued in churches in a lay role, returning to licenced (unpaid) ministry a few years later. Since 2015 he has been Rector for seven rural churches in south-east Cornwall.

   He is married to Andrea who is a medical secretary in the local hospital, and they have two young children, Charles and Phoebe, and cats Elsa and Saffy. Chris also has older children, one of whom is married to a priest and will be ordained herself in June.

   He has too many interests!

“I enjoy music and although I am traditional, I do like a number of pop performers (that rarest of breeds, a lover of Wagner, who also likes Rihanna and Britney Spears). I enjoy tracing the family tree and learning about history (Romans and the medieval period especially). I'm not a competitive sports fan - but enjoy running, gym and swimming. Andrea and I are looking forward to cycling again and we both played netball in Manchester.”   

Why this part of Devon?

“I believe God has called me to serve these parishes, to support and work with the lay leaders, congregations and retired clergy. I want to work with the important and gifted lay ministers in our church - the congregations. I am here to support them in their ministries and in the use of the fantastic gifts they have. Mainly, our role is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus, and to grow His church together.”

   Just the congregation?

   “I'm also called to serve the people of Fremington, Instow and Westleigh parishes, of any religion, and none. I want to hear their story. I want to hear what matters to them, and what they think God is up to. They may be happy, or they may be angry - I still want to hear.”

   What's the 'Good News'?

“I'm always sad to hear people criticise religion for being gloomy, or controlling, or false. Christianity is not a quick-fix, but hard work. But it's chiefly about joy and celebration; let's celebrate the good things we have and make known what Jesus is already doing in the hearts and homes of each person.”

   What are you looking forward to doing?

“Meeting as many people as possible - and swimming!”

                                                     See you in April, Chris


                                  JAN 23


  We are delighted to announce that the Rev. Chris Painter will be the new vicar of the Taw and Torridge Estuary Churches joint benefice. He is currently Rector of 7 rural churches in South East Cornwall. He will be Licensed on Wednesday 26th April 2023 by Bishop Robert of Exeter Cathedral. More details are given in the editorial letter in this issue of the Parish News.

   We would like to thank Rev. Marissa Cockfield, Rev. Brenda Jacobs and Rev. John Thompson for the good work they have carried out in holding services at St Peters since Rev. Sue Spankie stepped down last year.

   The carols by candlelight service held on 18th December will be reported on in next month's parish news. Many thanks to the volunteers who decorated the church and Christmas tree so beautifully.  We would like to thank Mark and Sarah Ansell for providing the tree.

   We would like to thank everyone who donated non perishable food items for Harbour during December.

    There was a meeting of the PCC held on ThursdWe ay 1st December when it was reported that the Parish share had been paid in full.

    We wish everyone a peaceful, healthy and safe New Year