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Chapel of St. Elen, Croyde

   Lundy, Isle of Avalon         Places

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St. Elen's Chapel, Croyde.

 

In full view of Lundy, this chapel marks a significant lunar alignment from the island

"There are only three known dedications to St. Helen in Devon, all in North Devon, close to the sea, and all within sight of each other: 

the chapel on Lundy

the parish church of Abbotsham

and the ancient chapel (now ruined) on the high ground just West of Croyde village.

The St. Elen's Triangle

Abbotsham church was originally sited on the summit of the bold ridge that runs South of Westward Ho, about 1 m. N. of its present site, to which it was removed at an unknown date. 

Lundy is in full view from the old site. 

The church was dedicated, not to St. Helen or Helena the Empress (whose day was i8 August), but to St. Elen, whose day was 25 August. 

So said the Tavistock Calendar, and as Tavistock Abbey possessed Abbotsham from the tenth century we may regard this as a sound source.

 One is led to suspect at once that this St. Elen is St. Endelient, as on Lundy

Of the chapel at Croyde, which again is sited so as to have Lundy in view, we know nothing except that it was dedicated to St. Helen

But in view of the other two dedications, and its significant site above a good beach for landing, we can hardly doubt that it is the third of the small group of chapels founded by St. Endelient in the 6th century. On these now despoiled beaches of Westward Ho and Croyde, we stand linked with the early saints who landed upon them."  -  Hoskins 

'Croyde. St. Helen's Chapel. SS445 392. 'The discovery in the 1950's of an Ogham stone on the site of the ancient chapel of St. Helen at Croyde, suggests the possibility of a much earlier Celtic foundation, since Ogham was a form of writing originating in 4th century Ireland. Dedications to St. Helen are fairly uncommon, and there are only two others in Devon; Abbotsham old church and Lundy....no record of the foundation date of St. Helen's....14th c. building, according to 1951 survey...11m. * 4.9m....'Ichabod' on arch above window (bricked up doorway) from Old Testament story of the capture of the Ark by the Philistines, when the daughter in law of *** ELI *** named her son Ichabob because, as she said...'The glory has departed from Israel......'  from 'The Ancient Chapels of North Devon.'

'The discovery of gravestones in the grounds of nearby Chapel Cottage could indicate the possible existence of an ancient burial ground associated with the chapel and one is left with a distinct feeling that more work is needed to determine the true significance of this very intriguing site.'   from 'The Ancient Chapels of North Devon.'

 

related pages

St. Elen's Triangle
 
St Elen's chapel, Abbotsham
 
early christian inscribed grave stones

 

 

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