St. Leonard's Church

St Leonard of Noblac
St Leonard of Noblac
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St Leonard’s has been our Parish Church for some 900 years, perhaps more. 
The Building:  The current building is built upon the site of an earlier church.  The oldest parts are the Chancel with its Norman windows on the North side, and the font.  The tower and archades of the North and South aisles were built in the 14th Century, the chapel in the North aisle being dedicated to St. Katherine.
The arches of Polyphant stone are 15th Century; the small faces on the capital behind the pulpit may be those of the builders.  At one time there used to be a screen and Rood loft but now only the leading stairs remain.
The Nave windows, Chancel and side aisle roofs are 15th Century; the Nave roof being formerly thatched was restored in 1893.  A local craftsman from Ashwater carved the Altar and Pulpit.
There are six bells in the tower which are still rung on occasion. 
The Chalice and Paten used in the Communion Service have been here since 1575; the church register began in 1612.
Christopher Osmond whose fine monument is on the North wall was an Exeter lawyer who had an estate in Clawton.
The Royal Arms on the tower wall were put up when Charles II was restored to the throne in 1662.
Our Patron Saint:  St Leonard of Noblac is our patron saint, whom we celebrate on 6th November.  But who is he?

Leonard was of Frankish nobility and part of the court of the pagan King Clovis l.  The Queen suggested to Leonard that he invoke the help of God to repel an invading army. He did, and the tide of the battle turned, and Clovis was victorious. Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, used this miracle to convert the King, Leonard, and 1000 followers to Christianity.


Leonard began a life of austerity, sanctification and preaching.  His desire to know God grew until he decided to enter the monastery at Orleans.  His brother, Lifiard, followed his example and left the Kings Court, and built a monastery at Meun, and lived there.  But Leonard wanted further seclusion. He withdrew into the forest of Limousin, converting many on the way, and living on herbs, wild fruits and spring water.  He built himself an oratory, leaving it only for journeys to churches. Others begged to live with him, and a monastery was formed.


Leonard had a great compassion for prisoners, obtaining release for, and converting many.

He died circa 559 of natural causes, after which many churches were dedicated to him in France,  England, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Bohemia, Poland and other countries; and pilgrims flocked to his tomb.

The building:  There is an interesting Norman window in the Chancel. Also of note are the Barrel roofs in the side aisles, and in the Sanctuary, the ancient Piscina and unusual Victorian Wall decorations. The Polyphant Font came from the earlier church, and local children have been baptised here for 1000 years. The Tower has a peal of Six Bells and on its wall in the ringing chamber is a Royal Coat of Arms from 1662. There are various other family plaques adorning the nave walls.
Our mission:  We at St. Leonard’s seek to know and worship God, experience Jesus and by the enabling of the Holy Spirit minister to each other, the wider community and the world. 
Services:  We normally have a Methodist-style service at 11a.m. on the second Sunday in each month and either Holy Communion or Morning Service at 11a.m. on the fourth Sunday.  Services are ad hoc and published in the Clarion (see download on Home page). 
Vicar - Rev Stephen Skinner
Churchwarden – Irene Ellis – 01409 271371
Treasurer - Paul Grafton - 01409 271456
Safeguarding: If you have a concern about the safety of someone or the actions of someone working with children or vulnerable adults, please speak to someone:

·         Parish Safeguarding Representative:  Paul Grafton Tel:  01409 271456  Email:

·         Alternatively you can contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team - for contact details please go to                      

If you are a young person and you feel unhappy about something happening to you, you can call Childline on 0800 11 11.

Friends of St. Leonard’s


We have a loyal group of FoSL’s (Friends of St. Leonard’s) made up of regular church members, those that would be considered more occasional attenders, and some that just have an interest in the on-going upkeep of the church fabric. They arrange between 6 and 8 social gatherings a year. These not only raise much needed funds for the church but also bring the villagers together and hopefully show that Christians can have fun as well. It of course also increases our influence on the village beyond that of a Sunday morning congregation.  We have recently installed a much needed church heating system.
Our events are shown on the village events calendar (see 'Events' page).

Church Services

St Leonard's Church Services

We try to arrange two services per month.  Please see the Clarion for details.

Buckhorn Methodist Chapel

As a group, we have been welcomed into Clawton Church over the year. Every 2nd  Sunday  in the month we are able to have our Methodist or local preachers, which Lorna Bowden  has arranged. Our superintendent Minister, Rev Simon Leigh, and Christine Forster  have visited . Occasionally we will have a Cafe Church which is less formal  & this is something new & we are trying it as an experiment at the moment. The next  one  will be on 9th Jan 2022.  We would like to thank our Anglican friends for the warm welcome they have given us & we pray that we can all  continue to work together 

Many thanks, Rosemary

Contact: Rosemary Colwill on 01409 253770