Building » Exmouth – Holy Ghost

Exmouth – Holy Ghost

Raddenstile Lane, Exmouth, Devon

A substantial church by Scoles & Raymond, who built widely in the Diocese of Plymouth. The interior has considerable dignity.

Mass was celebrated in Exmouth from 1887 at several different places. In 1891 the Catholic congregation acquired an iron church in Windsor Square. In 1912 Lord Clinton offered the site for the church of the Holy Ghost. The principal benefactor was Mrs Maria Hamilton Thomas, who is commemorated by a plaque in the church. A second church in Exmouth, St Anne’s, Withycombe was opened in 1967 but closed in 2008. It is commemorated in the St Anne’s cloister, added to the northwest corner of Holy Ghost church in 2008, which now forms an approach to the church and incorporates some of the fittings from St Anne’s and was designed by Williams Surveyors.


The church is in the Early English Gothic style favoured by Scoles & Raymond. The main west front and the north side wall are faced with squared and coursed local rock-faced stone, the south wall is faced with red brick. The window surrounds throughout the church are of Bath stone. The roofs are covered with red pantiles. The plan comprises a nave and sanctuary under one roof, with a north aisle and an octagonal northwest tower. It seems probable that a south aisle was intended but never built. The gabled west front has a central doorway with moulded arch enclosing a carved stone Annunciation in the tympanum and a double order of shafts. Above is a triplet of tall trefoiled lancet windows with jamb shafts. The narrow west front of the north aisle is also gabled and has two small trefoiled windows at ground floor level with two taller trefoiled lancets and a cinquefoil in plate tracery above. The tower is of three stages, the two lower plain apart from small stair windows, the bell stage with a single light on each face and the whole topped by a copper-covered spirelet. The side walls also have paired lancet windows in plate tracery.

The interior is tall, with plain plastered walls and a north arcade of five bays of pointed chamfered arches carried on octagonal stone columns with moulded capitals and bases. Both nave and north aisle have five-sided boarded timber ceilings and timber western galleries. The space beneath the galleries has been enclosed with a glazed partition to form an entrance lobby. The tall shafted chancel arch leads to a small sanctuary with a triple lancet in the east wall. The lower sections of the sanctuary wall are panelled, the panelling now painted. The church was reordered in 2007 and a new stone altar and ambo installed, designed by Jay Battle, who also restored the reredos. The original high altar, with its reredos with statues of saints under canopies, was retained in situ. There is a powerful set of Stations of the Cross in the nave and aisle.

Heritage Details

Architect: Scoles & Raymond

Original Date: 1915

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed