Payhembury Church

Church of St Mary the Virgin

Parish of Payhembury

An aerial view of Payhembury church and its churchyard
The congregation at St Mary's church, Payhembury

Welcome to church

Payhembury church is a busy warm and welcoming place for all ages. There are 4 services in the month, all different, to accommodate different ages and tastes. On the first Sunday we hold a parish Communion at 11.00 and on second Sundays an All Ages service at 9.15. On third Sundays our service is in the evening at 6pm: a lay led service of prayer, reflection and music. Lastly on fourth Sundays we have Cafe Church at 9.15am in the Village Hall – coffee and croissants and lots of fun. This is our most accessible service, as our church steps are not easy for everyone. We have a flourishing children’s ministry and our older congregation is usually between 15 and 25. We have a midweek cafe in our church “sitting room” on a Thursday morning and lots of other social activities through the month.

Location and information

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Church of St Mary the Virgin
Church Lane
EX14 3HR

Nearest defibrillator

Outside village shop near church

Latitude / longitude

50.8084805765182 / -3.29475045204163
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Church Officers

Churchwardens (or if vacant the parish priest) can help you with general enquiries about the church, and if you are researching your family history. PCC Secretaries can help with information about the work of the Parochial Church Council and any correspondence should be directed to them. PCC treasurers deal with the finances of the church and are always pleased to discuss giving to the church or making a legacy in your will.

  • Babs Leach


  • Christine Thair

    PCC Secretary

  • Pat Fowler

    PCC Treasurer

Contact an officer

Payhembury contact form

Church accessibility

As a Mission Community we are very aware that our ancient buildings are not always the most accessible. Where possible we have made changes to make them more user-friendly but there are some limitations that we are not able to work round.

  • Open daily 9 AM - 5 PM

  • Limited parking

  • Toilet

  • Churchyard not wheelchair friendly

  • Church not wheelchair friendly

  • No hearing loop

A view of the south entrance of the churchyard at Payhembury church

Church features

All of our churches are unique many date back many hundreds of years. Each building tells a story and highlighted below are some of the features that are especially noteworthy.

  • Children's area

  • Refreshment area

  • 15thC Rood screen

  • Wagon roof, bosses and carvings

  • Victorian font lid lifting mechanism

  • Fragments of 15th and 16th C glass

  • 1740 George II coat of arms

A close up view of the column and arches on the carved wooded screen at Payhembury church


There has been a church on the site since the 12th C and the tower of the church dates back to this time. Prior to the dissolution Payhembury Church was held by Ford Abbey.

The current building is grade 1 listed dating from the 15th and early 16th centuries, though much restored in 1887 bringing a lot of Gothic style into the church. This can be seen in the reading desk, lectern and font cover – all the work of G Fellowes Prynne of Exeter.

There are lots of references to the church being dedicated to the Virgin Mary – statues of her are above the south door in the porch with two more in the church.

Three of the bells in the present ring of 6 are thought to date from 1583, two were added in 1665 and a 6th in 1853.

The pews in the church show the long history of seating – some of them are the original 15th C benches but most are 19th C copies with the 15th C panel ends stuck on. 

For a more detailed history please visit the Historic England page.


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