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HER Number:MDV17296
Name:Saxon Minster at Crediton


Possible site of a Saxon minster, which may have shared a similar footprint to Holy Cross parish church.


Grid Reference:SS 836 002
Map Sheet:SS80SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishCrediton
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCREDITON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 35557
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS80SW/4/8
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS80SW19

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MINSTER (Saxon - 701 AD to 1065 AD (Between))

Full description

Montague, L. A. D., 1940 - 1941, Notes on Old Crediton, 31 (Article in Serial). SDV337762.

Site of the Saxon Minster of St Mary thought to be under parts of the east end of the Lady Chapel of the Church of the Holy Cross in Crediton. So identified by Leland in the 16th century.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 378 (Monograph). SDV17562.

King Aethelheard gave 'Oridie' to the Bishop of Sherborne for the purpose of establishing a monastery.

Knowles, D. + Hadcock, R. N., 1971, Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, 424, 471 (Monograph). SDV323253.

Saxon Monastery in Crediton. Richly endowed monastery founded in AD739. Later (AD909), a Bishop's see was established here.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978, SS80SW19 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV339009.

Unknown, 1983, Crediton Minster (Un-published). SDV359078.

Weddell, P. J., 1986, The Saxon Minster Collegiate Church and Bishop's Palace at Crediton (Report - Survey). SDV53415.

The origin of the ecclesiastical settlement at Crediton dates from AD739. Crediton is also recorded as the birthplace of St. Boniface in circa AD675 or 680. The See of Crediton was created in AD909 when Devon and Cornwall were separated from the Diocese of Sherborne; Crediton being the logical place as it was already the centre of a large episcopal estate. It remained a Cathedral Church for less that 150 years for in 1050 the See was moved to Exeter. Crediton became a Collegiate Church which existed until the dissolution.
The location of the Saxon church has never been definitely established but it seems likely that it lay adjacent to or under part of the present church, although Newcombes Meadow has also been suggested. If the former, it is speculated that it may have lain within an enclosure now defined by East Street, Bowden Hill, Mill Street, Belle Parade, Blagdon and the vicinity of North Street. East Street and Bowden Hill are shown with suggestive curving courses on a map of 1598. With a stream flowing through the middle the resulting oval enclosure would have been similar to Kingsteignton, also a late Saxon settlement. The churchyard is likely to contain remains of the Saxon Minster and other Saxon buildings.

Devon Religious Houses Survey, 1986-7, Devon Religious Houses Survey. Crediton (Archive - Survey). SDV358570.

Borthwick, A., 1999, Land off Mill Street, Crediton: The archaeological and historical implications of development, 3-4 (Report - Assessment). SDV323116.

Gent, T. H., 2007, Review of the Archaeological Evidence for the Location of the Saxon Minster at Crediton (Report - Assessment). SDV339904.

An Anglo-Saxon monastery was probably established near the later parish church in the 8th century. It was the seat of the Bishop of Devon and Cornwall between 909 and 1050 AD and in the Medieval period Crediton Church was served by a college of priests. A review of the archaeological evidence for the location of the Saxon minster at Crediton was undertaken in 2007 to compliment the interpretation of a geophysical survey. The survey investigated an area of approximately 2.8 hectares centred on the parish church. No physical evidence for the minster was identified.

GSB Prospection, 2007, The Search for Saxon Crediton, 1 (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV344212.

Results of the geophysical survey in 2007 suggested that the Saxon cathedral shared a similar footprint to Holy Cross parish church in Crediton. Anomalies within the south aisle and in St Nicholas's Chapel correlated well with Norman sections of the church walls which may overlie the Saxon remains.

National Monuments Record, 2010, 35557, SS80SW9 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV338977.

A richly endowed Saxon monastery, possibly dedicated to St. Gregory, was founded in 739 by a grant from King Aethelheard to Forethere, Bishop of Sherborne, in which see Crediton then lay. With the division of that see in 909 it became the cathedral church of the new see of Crediton and remained so until the see was removed to Exeter in 1050. The church then became collegiate and continued until its dissolution in 1548.
No pre-Conquest remains are now visible in the fabric of the present church and the exact location of the Saxon monastery, its cathedral and the collegiate church are unknown.
Suggested sites for the cathedral and the collegiate buildings have been made.

National Monuments Record, 2013, 35566 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV350846.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 378.
SDV323116Report - Assessment: Borthwick, A.. 1999. Land off Mill Street, Crediton: The archaeological and historical implications of development. Alison Borthwick & Associates. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3-4.
SDV323253Monograph: Knowles, D. + Hadcock, R. N.. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales. Unknown + Digital (part). 424, 471.
SDV337762Article in Serial: Montague, L. A. D.. 1940 - 1941. Notes on Old Crediton. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 21. Unknown. 31.
SDV338977National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 35557. National Monuments Record Index. Website. SS80SW9.
SDV339009Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978. SS80SW19. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV339904Report - Assessment: Gent, T. H.. 2007. Review of the Archaeological Evidence for the Location of the Saxon Minster at Crediton. Exeter Archaeology Report. 07.69. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344212Report - Geophysical Survey: GSB Prospection. 2007. The Search for Saxon Crediton. GSB Prospection Report. 2007/38. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1.
SDV350846National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2013. 35566. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV358570Archive - Survey: Devon Religious Houses Survey. 1986-7. Devon Religious Houses Survey. Crediton. Devon Religious Houses Survey. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV359078Un-published: Unknown. 1983. Crediton Minster. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV53415Report - Survey: Weddell, P. J.. 1986. The Saxon Minster Collegiate Church and Bishop's Palace at Crediton. Devon Religious Houses Survey. 6. A4 Stapled + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV12612Related to: Bishop's Palace in Crediton (Building)
MDV17295Related to: Collegiate Church in Crediton (Monument)
MDV60864Related to: Former Vicarage Garden (Monument)
MDV619Related to: Holy Cross Parish Church, Crediton (Building)
MDV54300Related to: Possible Site of Saxon Church in Crediton (Monument)
MDV13969Related to: St Gregory's Cathedral, Crediton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4348 - Assessment of a Survey Searching for the Saxon Minster in Crediton
  • EDV4587 - Geophysical Survey around Holy Cross Parish Church, Crediton

Date Last Edited:Aug 28 2015 10:33AM