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17th-century thatched Baptist meeting house

Discover Loughwood, one of the earliest surviving Baptist churches in the country. Founded in secret during a time of great persecution towards non-conformists, this beautiful chapel is set into the hillside and looks out over the rolling east Devon countryside with views of the Axe Valley.

Step through the front door to travel back in time and explore this place of worship which has remained virtually unchanged since the 18th century.

The chapel is used twice a year by the local Kilmington Baptist Church and is available for prayer and burials.

Please note:

The main door to the meeting house turns the other way. No toilets are available at this site.

A tour of the meeting house

Pews and pulpit

Musicans performed during Sunday services © Mike Townsend

Take a look at the simple but cheerful pine pews and pulpit. The rest rooms and the stables are a reminder of how far Baptists were willing to travel to worship in safety. The baptismal pool is positioned beneath the floor, central to the pulpit.

Musicians gallery

Listen to great classical music from local musicians © National Trust

Above the rest rooms is the gallery where musicians would have played during services. You can still see the music rests used by musicians playing stringed instruments and a hole cut in the book-rest to accommodate a bass violin.

Much loved

It is very rare for a body to be interned in a Baptist Church © Mike Townsend

Loughwood is almost completely unique in holding the body of one of its pastors inside the chapel. You can see the wall tablet memorial (an indoors gravestone) to the much loved Reverend Isaac Hann on the church wall.

Hidden away

Loughwood was originally surrounded by woodland to keep it hidden © Mike Townsend

The history of Loughwood is a story of secrecy and persecution. The first known record of the chapel is in 1653 when a Baptist parish from nearby Kilmington sought an isolated place to worship.

One of our long-term volunteers installing a new gate

One of our long-term volunteers installing a new gate

Caring for Loughwood

The East Devon Ranger Team manage this peaceful, tucked away place.

Based in Branscombe on the coast, they care for several other old buildings as well as countryside. Find out more and how you can get involved.