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News from St Mary's Totnes Heritage Trust

Play and music at St Mary’s Churchyard, Totnes:

There was plenty of laughter at St Mary’s Church, Totnes when St Mary’s Totnes Heritage Trust played host to the Dartington Playgoers who ended their sell out late summer tour of Alan Ayckbourn’s hilariously entertaining Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations with three polished performances in the churchyard. Friday evening’s performance was preceded by an hour of great ambient jazz music courtesy of Peter Shearn and Bev Knowlden of Ambient Jazz Landscapes. Members of the audience brought chairs and picnics to relax with families and friends in the beautiful churchyard and enjoy the music and the play.

On Saturday there was an afternoon and an evening performance of the play with tickets selling right up to the start of both shows. Ben Loverock starred as Ernie and gave an impressive performance as a boy with an incredible imagination – so much so that he can conjure up all sort of surprises. The 30 minute play was a trip through Ernie’s illusions and he took the audience to a boxing booth, a library with a corpse, a treacherous mountain and even conjured up a military band – well, sort of!

The Playgoers had previously performed in the Broadhempston Community Orchard as well as playing three performances in the Dartington Private Gardens, all of which had been fantastically well supported. What a success! Times may have changed over the last few months but where there’s a will there’s a way, and the Dartington Playgoers’ tour certainly proved they’d found a great way to bring yet another great event to their supporters.

St Mary’s Totnes Heritage Trust has commissioned an enormous, spectacular, heritage map of Totnes which is now installed in the North Aisle of St Mary’s Church together with a fascinating heritage exhibition.
The map, drawn by local artist Anna Ventura, is more than just a map of the physical town. It is also a snapshot of Totnes in 2019, with stories and
characters that local residents will recognise. 

Claudia Schmid has created a border for the map, with some of her unique and beautiful creatures as if they were on a journey to Totnes themselves,
illustrating the behind-the-scenes story common to every ancient place. 

Matt Harvey, the celebrated Totnes poet, has written a poem for the map. The poem celebrates Totnes 2019 and the fabulous church in which it will lie for many years to come.

This is the place 


Totnes, Transition Town astride the Dart,

we’re twinned with Vire, and Narnia. And Sirius.


A confluence of head and hand and heart

that draws the questing and the curious.


Up from the Plains, through East Gate Arch, the climb

Is steeped in story, layered over time.


The present and the past run parallel:

rood screen, gargoyle, photovoltaic cell,


our shops organic, homegrown, fairly traded

busker-beguiled and seagull-serenaded.


And if you’re lost, don’t worry, help is near.

Ask anyone, they’ll tell you: YOU ARE HERE

A Totnes Poem
By Matt Harvey


News from St Mary's Totnes Heritage Trust

Last August the Trust made an application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for substantial funding for Phase 1 of the restoration and reordering works to the St Mary's Church. Unfortunately the Trust was not successful in its funding application bid but was encouraged by NLHF to resubmit after addressing some aspects of the application. The Trust was in the process of preparing an amended application when it was informed by NLHF in March that due to the Covid 19 pandemic its funding programme was suspended until later in the year.

The Trust is waiting to hear from NLHF as to when the funding programme is restored so that it can proceed with its application.

So as not to stand still the Trust has created a smaller project which involves urgent repairs to the external structure of St Mary's Church and it has recently submitted a total of 19 funding applications to various grant giving organisations and the Trust awaits the outcome of its bids.

If you would like to make a donation to project involving the urgent repairs to the external structure of the Church details can be found on the website. The objects of the Trust extends to heritage engagement within the town and recently it took the lead in putting together a funding application to Historic England for a community engagement project involving over twelve local charitable organisations.

The Great Totnes Map Competition

At a well attended gathering at St Mary's Church the prizes were awarded to the winners of the Totnes map competition by the Mayor of Totnes, Cllr Jacqi Hodgson, and Cllr Georgina Allen. A big thank you to all the entrants for the wonderful maps you created.

Also a big thank you to Georgina Allen and her team for organising this wonderful competition on behalf of the St Mary's Totnes Heritage Trust.

To find out more please follow this link:

What does St Mary’s

mean to you?

What’s Your Story?

Share your memories of our beautiful church at the heart of the town and become part of this exciting heritage project.

The Trust is launching an exciting and ambitious project to create a giant audio visual timeline made up of your memories of St Mary’s Church. If you have a special memory, of a wedding or a festival, of music, Christmas, Easter, the children’s corner, of enjoying a social occasion, or simply of a quiet moment you remember in this beautiful building, then let us know.

We want to collect memories across all the generations, from young and old, and let us know too if you have stories about your ancestors. Let us know if you have any photographs that might be of interest. We
may be in touch to ask for more information unless you state otherwise. If you don’t want to write your memory yourself, then please get in touch and we will be very happy to help. Join in this great project. Send your memories to Lynne Birch, Secretary to St Mary’s Totnes Heritage Trust, at

See these PDF documents for more news and updates on the project.

An Invitation:
Why not become a member and be part of this exciting historic initiative? Membership is free, no strings attached, and you will receive regular updates, invitations to events and to the annual general meetings.


Telephone Lynne Birch, Hon Secretary on 07814 002651 or use the contact email link:

Send us your name, address and telephone number/s along with your email address and we’ll add your details to our membership list.

Sea Change Festival 2019


Services at St Mary's Church Totnes

Sunday Services 

- 8.00am Eucharist​​

- 11.15am Sung Eucharist

- 6.30pm 1st Sunday Sung Compline

- 6.30pm 3rd Sunday Sung Evensong

Weekday Services 

- 7.45am Tuesday and Thursday: early morning prayers

- 10.30am Midweek Eucharist: Every Wednesday

The Church is open all day for prayer from 8.45am to 5pm (4pm in the winter months) and the Side Chapels are reserved for prayer and contemplation.


Tel: 01803 840259


Registered Charity Number: 1182256


St. Mary’s Totnes Heritage Trust,

The Rectory,