St. Luke's Church
St Luke's Church is the premier venue for events of the Simonsbath Festival. The church has recently been renovated to create a welcoming and attractive performing space which is ideal for concerts and other events. With its excellent acoustics, St Luke's has already become a popular venue for professional and amateur concerts.
Work originally began on building St Luke's in 1855, and the church was consecrated the following year.
The first incumbent Rev William Thornton is described as "a vigorous personality - both physically and intellectually". He enjoyed country pursuits, was an excellent horseman and fisherman, and both walked and rode prodigious distances.
Although William loved the area, the isolation of Simonsbath was not easy for his wife and young family. When one of his children fell ill he rode his horse to South Molton in under one hour with a broken stirrup. After the especially severe winter of 1860/61 when Simonsbath was cut off and food nearly ran out, the Thornton family moved to a village just outside Exeter "so as to be nearer to a town and a doctor".
Today St Luke's is still a working church with regular fortnightly morning services, to which everyone is welcome. Details of services can be found in either the parish magazine or on the church gate. The present incumbent Rector David Weir, who can be found at the Rectory in Exford, would be happy to provide any further information.
The Simonsbath Festival is grateful to the Rector and the Parochial Church Council for the use of their lovely church.
Parking and Facilities
There are only a few parking spaces at the church itself and we prefer to reserve these for visitors with limited mobility. There is some roadside parking (at owner's risk) but the best option is to use the Exmoor National Park's Ashcombe car park which also has toilets. The church is accessible to wheelchair users and has its own modern toilet facilities: for further details of disability access please contact Marian Lloyd.