Old Vicarages

The story of how the first Vicarage came to be built, following the death in 1814 of Richard Hothersall Hallett, who had been both squire and Vicar, has already been explained.  It was to be the residence of all his successors, until the last Vicar appointed solely to serve the needs of the parish, Revd. Hugh Griffiths M.A.  He came here in 1946, having previously been in charge of three small churches in North Cornwall, including that at St. Enedoc, made famous in the writings of the poet John Betjeman.  By the time of his arrival at Axmouth, the parsonage building was badly in need of modernisation, and over the ensuing years, a few improvements were made.  His retirement in 1970 came about when pastoral resources were already becoming more scarce, and it seemed unlikely that any new incumbent would be prepared to reside in the still relatively primitive surroundings of the Vicarage, without the spending of considerable sums on renovations.  This factor, together with the need for general financial restraint, caused the Diocesan authorities to suspend the presentation process, and to decide that, when any new appointment was made, the benefice would be a shared one.  Arrangements were made by which the Vicarage would be sold: the decision caused much sadness in the village, but was not to be changed, and the first private occupants were living there by 1972.

Most rural parishes have undergone a similar experience in recent years, and The Old Vicarage, The Old Rectory, or some similar name is now an address to be found in very many villages.  Axmouth has some claim to distinction, however, in that it possesses not one Old Vicarage, but two.  This came about through an odd twist of recent church history.  After the retirement of Revd. Griffiths, his successor at Axmouth, the Revd. John Mapson, later became Vicar of Axmouth with Musbury, and lived in Musbury Rectory.  In 1977, he resigned, and was replaced by Revd. Brian Gerry.  By this time, a decision had been taken to sell Musbury Rectory also, and to build a new Vicarage at Axmouth on Church land, very close to the Old Vicarage.  This was duly accomplished, and the Revd. Gerry moved in there, but he, in turn, resigned at the end of 1985, at which time Musbury petitioned for a dissolution of the union with Axmouth.  As a result, Musbury joined the Colyton Team Ministry, and Axmouth came under the care of the Revd. F. S. Worth, who was already accommodated in Uplyme Rectory.  Axmouth Vicarage again became redundant, and the auctioneers received another commission.   The new Old Vicarage was soon also privately occupied.

The present day Rector is vicar of both Axmouth and Uplyme churches and is accommodated in the Uplyme Rectory.