Prior to 1838 the nearest church to Countess Wear was St. Margaret’s Church in Topsham.  In 1837 a Chapel of Ease, under the parent church of St. Margaret’s, was erected in Countess Wear Road at a site donated by two brothers, both priests.  The cost of the building work was £800.  At this time there was no churchyard, but in 1847 the northern part of the churchyard was obtained.  The Chapel of Ease was only available for public worship, not for marriages or funerals, which continued to take place at St. Margaret’s.

There were originally three rows of pews in the Chapel, each of which had doors – some of them with locks!  The pulpit, surmounted by a sounding board, was an elevated structure with 12 steps leading up to it.  The original organ and the choir were housed at the west end of the Chapel, but the choristers were not robed until a chancel was added in 1894, at a cost of £1,068 15s. 5d.  The chancel was consecrated in 1895, and celebrations were held at the Mills.

St. Luke’s became a parish church in 1844 and Countess Wear became a separate ecclesiastical parish.  The consecration was followed by much merriment!

A pine wood-block floor and new carved oak pews were introduced in 1910 at an estimated cost of £650; and in 1901 a new Bible was presented to the Church by the children of the Sunday School, who had saved up their small change to purchase it at a cost of £6 18s. 6d.


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