St Leonard’s Sheepstor


Welcome to our church

We are a small congregation in a beautiful church offering a place of repose and refection to all who visit. Services are held every Sunday and we have festival services at key points in the year which attract significant followings – over 150 for our candlelit carol services. Regular concerts are held in the church run by the Friends of St Leonard’s.

St Leonard’s is a typical small Dartmoor church built in the C15th mostly from local granite. Its tower is high in relation to the size of the church giving a presence to the church tucked under the shelter of the Tor, at the heart of the village of Sheepstor. Sheepstor itself is small, only about 45 people, but in the C15th was relatively prosperous with Tin being mined nearby and the wool trade to Flanders delivery a good income to local farmers.

The church has undergone at least two major reordering and restoration schemes, one in the 1770s, where major work was undertaken to the roof, and again in the 1860s, when it was fully repaired and the interior was remodelled in line with the fashions of the time, including the removal of the mediaeval Rood Screen and Box Pews. In 1914 a new Rood Screen by Henry Reed of Exeter, modelled on fragments of the original, was erected. In the 1920s and 30s pine pews were replaced with oak, with Bench ends carved by the Pinwell sisters of Plymouth.

The church contains a 15th Century octagonal font and two 17th century memorials in memory of the Elford family, who were the gentry for the parish. There is a carving over the south door of wheat growing out of a skull: a symbol of life out of death.

The churchyard contains a number of 18th century slate gravestones, and a large Aberdeen granite sarcophagus of James Brooke First Rajah of Sarawak who bought the Burrator estate in 1858, together with tombs of the other Rajahs. The church is Grade I listed.

Recent restoration work has replaced the tower roof and rainwater goods and rehung the 6 church bells. We plan to repoint the outside of the church and develop the old Lady Chapel as an exhibition area for visitors, supporting the Mission we try to develop for visitors to this lovely part of Dartmoor We keep the church open in daylight hours and there is an audio welcome installation to tell the history of the church and its context.

Please check the Service Information tab for current month’s rota.

See also below:

Church History. Sheepstor Bench Ends. Sheepstor and Sarawak

For further information just click any of the items below and use the arrow key on the top left of your browser to return to this page.

Forthcoming Sheepstor events can be found on the Calendar (click on View All Events)

Churchwardens and other officers

WDMC Annual Report 2022

Church Tower Newsletters: News 1  News 2  News 3  News 4  News 5

Click Here for a resume of those of this parish who lost their lives in WW1

Church History

Sheepstor Bench Ends

Sheepstor and Sarawak

Sheepstor Welfare Charity  History & Information

Every Window tells a Story – click here to read ours

Find us on SatNav by putting in our postal code: – PL20 6PF