The Church of St Michael & All Angels, Mount Dinham, was designed by the eminent Victorian architect Major Rohde-Hawkins in the early French style, with a full cruciform plan and narrow passage aisles, allowing an uninterrupted view of the altar. The nave, transepts and chancel are exceptionally high, at 65 feet, and the crossing tower and spire rises 230 feet, dominating the western parts of the city.
The design and layout of the church interior is linked to the placing of specific activities within the Mass and other services.
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Open Consecration Plan
Learn about Major Rohde Hawkins, Architect of St Michael & All Angels Church
The West Front, with its processional doors flanked by marble columns and the Rose window and cross above, gives a foretaste of the heritage and liturgy to be found within our beautiful High Anglican, Victorian Gothic church. The roundel of the Archangels above the doors was carved by the distinguished Victorian sculptor Thomas Nicholls.
Holy Water Stoop
You may dip your fingers here to bless yourself or your friends with Holy Water.
A person is baptised with water into full membership of Christ’s body, the Church, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our large stone font, by the French sculptor Jacquet, is richly carved with the symbols of the 4 Evangelists and stands on an early French style column.
Angel Carvings above West Doors
The setting of the font is enhanced by the richly carved western screen with a roundel showing St. Michael overcoming the Devil. Throughout the church the decorative carving is of the highest quality, including naturalistic foliage sprays inhabited by real and mythical beasts carved by Hurley of Taunton.
A church is a group of people seeking to follow Jesus; fellowship and refreshment are important as well as prayer and worship. We offer tea, coffee, wine and biscuits after Mass and other events in church.
The gallery covers the narthex (entrance vestibule); it is used for the singing of Christmas Carols, Good Friday Tenebrae and Ascension Day Matins.
The stained glass of the beautiful Rose window is by Ward and Hughes of Soho, London, and features the Alpha and Omega letters signifying Christ as the beginning and end of all things.
North Aisle Windows
These windows depict “Faith, Hope & Charity” in memory of 3 sisters, Mary, Blanche & Edith, and “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” in memory of a late Victorian Curate.
St Michael Shrine
A small statue of St Michael defeating the Devil stands in the North Aisle. This was carved by a Bavarian artist in the 1860s and formerly stood on the alms box at the West end until this was stolen in the 1920s.
Brass Plaque to St Wilfrid's
The Community of St Wilfrid’s, a Church of England Order of nuns, was founded in 1866. Based in Bartholomew Street, they visited and nursed the sick and elderly, set up soup kitchens for the unemployed, established an orphanage and gave practical help to disadvantaged families. The plaques commemorate the link between St Michael’s and the now closed Convent. Their legacy is St Wilfrid’s School on St David’s Hill.
The church’s single bell, tuned to E, may be rung before services, during Mass at the Sanctus and Consecration, and during the Angelus.
The church was designed by Major Rohde-Hawkins in the early French style, with a full cruciform plan and narrow passage aisles, allowing an uninterrupted view of the altar. At 65 feet (20 metre), the nave, transepts and chancel are exceptionally high (as befits our style of worship).
The crossing tower and spire, rising 230 feet, form a major landmark of the western parts of the city of Exeter. Peregrine falcons have nested here since 1998.
St Clement Chapel
Originally seated with pews, this small chapel preserves the Dedication of a medieval chapel which stood in Pennyroyal Fields, near St David’s Station at the river crossing over the Exe, until the Reformation. The St Clement Chapel has been restored to use and now houses a Victorian Rood.
An excellent Yamaha grand piano, recently generously given to the church, is available for recitals, concerts and practice.
St Clement Altar
This is the second High Altar of the church given in 1919 when the original was moved to the Lady Chapel.
The dress of priests and deacons for Mass is “best clothes” of about AD 400, used for continuity and tradition. This set of gold vestments, chasuble, dalmatic and tunicle, is used for major Feasts of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Statue of St Michael
This statue was carved by a Cornish artist at St Ives and given to the Church after World War II; it depicts the saint without wings and is often mistaken for the young David.
The brass lectern for Bible readings is based on medieval examples and shows an eagle bearing the Word of God over the orb of the World.
The chancel is decorated with a wealth of Christian symbolism in tiles, stained glass, carving and painted ceiling. The painted ceiling depicts angels holding the symbols of the Passion, and the East wall shows the Apostles and Old Testament Prophets.
The 20-strong SATB choir provides fine music for the liturgy, singing masses, motets and plainsong from 6 centuries. Choir practice takes place weekly on Tuesdays from 7.00-8.30pm.
Organ music is an integral part of the western tradition of Christian worship. After 45 years of electronic provision, a large, historic 3-manual pipe organ (from the former St Jude's Church, Birmingham, via Clayesmore School, Dorset) has been restored and installed in St Michael’s thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and many generous donors.
A room for vesting and preparation of incense, cruets etc.
Statue of William Gibbs
This monument by H. Armstead, R.A. is an outstanding life size effigy of William Gibbs of Tyntesfield given to St Michael’s by his wife Matilda Blanche. Armstead is famous for the carvings around the base of the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, London.
The present High Altar, altar cross and candlesticks were carved in the 1960s by Herbert Read Ltd of Exeter. The sedilia retain some early stencilled decoration.
The stained glass of the east window is by Ward and Hughes of Soho; an unusual composition featuring encounters with angels from the Old and New Testaments. It is flanked by Old Testament Patriarchs and Prophets.
Where choir robes are stored and the Choir assembles before sung services.
The Lady Chapel in the South Transept is used for occasional said services.
It was formed as a war memorial in 1919 and houses the original High Altar.
Lady Chapel Altar
The Lady Chapel, formed as a war memorial within the south transept in 1919, houses the original High Altar. On Holy Thursday it is transformed into a beautiful Altar of Repose for the Blessed Sacrament, until the Liturgy of the pre-Sanctified on Good Friday.
Statue of BVM and Child
This statue is the focus of our devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus; the Angelus (Hail Mary, full of grace) is prayed here.
Votive candles are lit to indicate a prayer or commemoration.
Banner of Our Lady
The banners of Our Lady and St Michael may be carried in procession on suitable Holydays.
The pulpit is by Sir Arthur William Blomfield, carved from English oak by Harry Hems of Longbrook Street, Exeter.
South Aisle Windows
These five, fine lancet windows depict King David, the Annunciation (Angel Gabriel and Mary), the Nativity (birth of Jesus), the Adoration of the Magi, and St Francis of Assisi.
Shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham
This devotional statue was given by former curate, Fr John Hughes, after a successful choir tour to Norfolk in Summer 2007. Rev Dr John Hughes was Dean of Chapel at Jesus College Cambridge until his tragic early death in June 2014.
Entrance to spire
The church’s single bell, tuned to E, may be tolled from the ringing chamber above the Crossing at the base of the Spire. There are more than 90 steps to climb.
Peregrine Nest Box
A trefoil window on the south face of the spire gives access to a large nesting box which has been used by a breeding pair of Peregrine Falcons since 2008. A video camera was installed in 2013 and streamed live to the internet during April-June 2014 thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Devon Birds. Live streaming on this website will resume in March 2015.
A quiet garden of shrubs and a herbaceous border is found at the East end of the Church.
Stations of the Cross
Like many Anglo-Catholic churches, St Michael’s has a set of 14 painted carvings depicting biblical and legendary events on Christ’s painful journey from Pilate’s palace to his Crucifixion at Calvary. They were made by an artist in Oberammergau, Bavaria, and given to the church in the 1920s.
The mosaic and mastic reredos, with the 12 Apostles, was part of the original design by Hawkins, but was elaborated with mosaics featuring Christ in Glory and the 4 Evangelists and added in c.1900 by W.D. Caröe.
Mount Dinham from the South
From the South, the neo-Gothic splendour of St Michael's church and spire stand above the Victorian cottages and faux Georgian crescent on Mount Dinham, with the tower of St David's church, rebuilt in 1900, in the background.
From the North-West
Exeter tea merchant and philanthropist, John Dinham, developed the site from 1861 with schools for boys and girls, and 42 almshouse cottages for the elderly. Following his death in 1864, his friends built St Michael's Church to complete his vision of charitable community service to the glory of God.