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HER Number:MDV11879
Name:St Anne's Chapel, Braunton Burrows


Possible site of medieval St Anne's Chapel at the southern end of Braunton Burrows, one of 5 lady chapels associated with St. Brannock's Church.


Grid Reference:SS 463 331
Map Sheet:SS43SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBraunton
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRAUNTON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthworks and structural remains of World War II military training features for D-Day Landings on Braunton Burrows

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS43SE/24
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS43SE 9
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CHAPEL (Early Medieval to XVII - 1066 AD to 1700 AD (Between))

Full description

Owen, T. R., Untitled Source, 24-5 (Monograph). SDV340894.

Older chapel at the far end of Braunton Burrows, situated at some distance from the present chapel dedicated to St. Anne at Saunton . The sands and the hands of men have totally removed all signs of this remote and romantically sited building.

Ordnance Survey, 1804-1805, Drawing 31 SW (Illustration). SDV339704.

Ordnance Survey drawing of 1804-5 shows site of chapel.

Lysons, D. + Lysons, S., 1822, Magna Britannica, 60 (Monograph). SDV323771.

Unknown, 1840, Braunton (Cartographic). SDV339703.

Braunton Tithe Map of circa 1840 shows site of St. Anne's Chapel as a building outline. Sited at SS46373315.

Chanter, J. F., 1934, The Church of St. Brannock, Braunton (Pamphlet). SDV341340.

St. Anne's Chapel is described in the Note Book of P. R. Webber Esquire, as "situated by the sand burrough by the great Road which leadeth from Santon to the water-side at Appledore; the walls of the east end are standing, and some of the old people remember timber on the walls; its dimensions were 14 feet 6 inches long and 12 feet wide; there were many houses adjoining to this chapel". There are now no traces of this building. A portion was standing not many years ago, half buried in sand; since then the remnant of the chapel has been taken away to build a linhay in a neighbouring field.

Slee, A. H., 1941, Braunton and its Manors, 198 (Article in Serial). SDV83677.

St. Anne's Chapel in the Burrows near the lighthouse. One of five lady chapels associated with Braunton Church.

Royal Air Force, 1945, RAF/106G/LA/102, NMR RAF/106G/LA/102 5014-5015 17-JAN-1945 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349060.

No trace of a chapel is visible in this location, but two large flat areas, probably military platforms, are visible within 15 metres to the west.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953 - 1963, SS43SE 9 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV339701.

Possible site of medieval St Anne's Chapel.
1. Area centred on SS45703363. Site of St.Ann's Chapel on Devon 12NW.
2. In the sands near the sea-side are the ruins of the Chapel of St. Anne (Lysons).
3. St Ann's Chapel. In Ruins (Donne's Map of Devon, 1765).
4. (SS46433285) "The site was occupied during the war but I remember some stonework here and the late Mr Wainwright, who was a local antiquarian, told me that he remembered the piscina being removed".
5. The site pointed out is sand sparsely covered with grass. There is no trace of a building and probing to a depth of 3 feet revealed no stonework. The site does not agree with 1, nor with the description of the area in 2.
6. At (SS)46503307 there is a formless heap of building masonry, while in the wall of a nearby cowshed there is a carved stone which is reputed to be part of the former chapel.

Donn, B., 1965, A Map of the County of Devon, 1765 (Reprint) (Monograph). SDV336413.

Coulter, J., 1993, Untitled Source, 26-28 (Monograph). SDV78000.

Often described as "the chapel in the sands" it stood near the southern end of the sand dunes known as Braunton Burrows. In the 16th century it is alleged there was a village nearby, however by the 17th century it appears it was already in danger of being "swallowed" by the sands.It is also said that the chapel served the needs of mariners, and that it carried a beacon light, although no actual record has been found. In more recent times there was a lighthouse nearby. The chapel is said to have been pulled down in the early 19th century and the stone used to build a linhay or cowshed nearby, which was photographed by a local historian. Although in a ruinous state and somewhat overgrown, the remains of the linhay still exist, displaying 2 lancet windows. The font in the entrance of St. Anne's Chapel at Saunton is said to have come from the old chapel.

Next Perspectives, 2001, Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref:, Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref: SS4633 22-MAY-2001 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349376.

A large, irregularly shaped pond is visible to the north-east.

Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J., 2007, The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report, No. 1020 (Report - Assessment). SDV339712.

Possible site of st anne's chapel. Building on 1804-5 os map & outline on TM. Possibly on ancient route crossing estuary from appledore. Lysons refers to village. Stone apparently used in nearby linhay. Alternative NGR is SS46323310. Chapel on 1675 map.

Passmore, A. J., 2009, Braunton Burrows Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme. Archaeological Survey 2009, 2 (Report - Survey). SDV344652.

Has been described as a Lady chapel associated with St. Brannoc's church, but this seems unlikely, and the chapel may have been associated with an ancient routeway running from Saunton southwards across to Burrows to a crossoing point over the estuary somewhere in the vicinity of the former Bideford Bar lighthouse.
Visited 2009. Nothing was visible in this area. The area is under grass and some scrub, and at SS4635333137 (immediately south of recorded location) is a modern scrape/pond, measuring approx. 10 metres east-west by 20 metres north-south.

Passmore, A. + Knight, S., 2009, Farm Environment Plan (FEP), Updated Spreadsheet of Archaeological Sites (Un-published). SDV344664.

Hegarty, C. + Knight, S., 2011 - 2012, North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV349018.

No trace of a chapel was visible on available aerial photographs. At least two phases of invasive works with the potential to impact on any buried remains were observed; earthworks to create Second World War platforms to the west and scrapes for habitat recreation to the north-east.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV323771Monograph: Lysons, D. + Lysons, S.. 1822. Magna Britannica. Magna Britannica: A Concise Topographical Account of The Several Counties o. 6: Devonshire. Unknown. 60.
SDV336413Monograph: Donn, B.. 1965. A Map of the County of Devon, 1765 (Reprint). A Map of the County of Devon, 1765 (Reprint). Hardback Volume.
SDV339701Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953 - 1963. SS43SE 9. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV339703Cartographic: Unknown. 1840. Braunton. Tithe Map and Apportionment. Map (Paper).
SDV339704Illustration: Ordnance Survey. 1804-1805. Drawing 31 SW. Ordnance Survey. Unknown.
SDV339712Report - Assessment: Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J.. 2007. The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.22 (rev.1). A4 Stapled + Digital. No. 1020.
SDV340894Monograph: Owen, T. R.. St. Brannock's Church Braunton. Paperback Volume. 24-5.
SDV341340Pamphlet: Chanter, J. F.. 1934. The Church of St. Brannock, Braunton. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV344652Report - Survey: Passmore, A. J.. 2009. Braunton Burrows Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme. Archaeological Survey 2009. Exeter Archaeology Report. 09.113. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV344664Un-published: Passmore, A. + Knight, S.. 2009. Farm Environment Plan (FEP), Updated Spreadsheet of Archaeological Sites. Exeter Archaeology Report. Digital.
SDV349018Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S.. 2011 - 2012. North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. ACD383/2/1. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV349060Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1945. RAF/106G/LA/102. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/LA/102 5014-5015 17-JAN-1945.
SDV349376Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 2001. Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref:. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref: SS4633 22-MAY-2001.
SDV78000Monograph: Coulter, J.. 1993. The Ancient Chapels of North Devon. Unknown. 26-28.
SDV83677Article in Serial: Slee, A. H.. 1941. Braunton and its Manors. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 73. Hardback Volume. 198.

Associated Monuments

MDV11880Related to: Medieval Village near the Chapel of St Anne, Braunton Burrows (Monument)
MDV41805Related to: St Anne's Chapel, Braunton (Building)
MDV31799Related to: Track Along the eastern Edge of Braunton Burrows (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4737 - Stewardship Scheme Archaeological Survey, Braunton Burrows
  • EDV6132 - North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty NMP Project

Date Last Edited:Jul 7 2017 12:33PM