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St Mary Magdalene

There has been a church on this site since before the Norman Conquest.  Exford, like Porlock, Culbone and others became a site when Christianity came to us from Wales or Ireland, and not from the Roman mission, which converted Saxon England.

The Parish Church of St Mary MagdaleneThe church is dedicated to St. Salvyn, a Celtic saint, whose portrait, with those of St. George and St. Francis is delineated in stained glass in the window on the east of the main door.  The dedication to St Mary. Magdalene is of a much later date, though the reason is somewhat obscure.

Masses and other offices were said by monks from Neath Abbey, Glamorganshire, during the reign of King John (1167-!216).  The 4th William de Moione gave his manors of Exefordham and Cubihiete (now Chibbet) to the Abbey on condition that a monk should be maintained at Exford church to pray for the said William and his heirs for ever. The Exford manor is still called Monkham.

In a lonely combe to the North of the church, entirely hidden from sight, is a ruined house, with a very ancient round-headed oak doorway called Prestcott. According to local tradition, it was the residence of the priests serving this church.

Apart from the tower and arcades, there is very little remaining early work of the church.  It has been rebuilt more than once. The present building appears to be the third or fourth church on this site.

Do look at the gravestone of Amos Cann near the churchyard gate; a well known Exmoor figure, who was caught in the intense cold of the 1891 winter and froze to death when walking home from Porlock to Exford. It was three weeks before he was found.