St Anne’s Orthodox Church is easily missed, set back from Blackboy roundabout behind a brick gateway and small garden. But the chapel and several of the surrounding almshouses are lovely examples of Heavitree Stone buildings.
Little is known about the history of the site. A chapel of St Anne was known to Bishop Grandisson in the 14th century, and there were passing references in the 15th century.
The present building is said to have been newly constructed in 1418. The dating is consistent with its materials, which are mostly coursed Permian breccia, that is layers of Heavitree Stone running horizontally. It has dressings of volcanic stone, for example around the southwest window that you see as you walk up to the chapel, and a slate roof.
The almshouses at the back of the site are built of Heavitree Stone and date from 1558. The chapel was fortified during the Civil War. By the 19th century, its western end had been converted into almshouses. The whole site was restored in 1907, when the chapel was returned to its original length and the almshouses on the right were rebuilt in red brick.
After St James’ Church was destroyed in the Blitz, until its rebuilding in 1956, its congregation used St Anne’s. Now, after a period of disuse, the chapel is used as an Orthodox Church.
- Exeter City Historic Environment Record – http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=1816754&resourceID=1054
- Historic England Listed Building, St Anne’s – https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1380202
- Historic England Listed Building, Almshouses – https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1267540
- Historic England Pastscape – https://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=448430
- Exeter Memories – http://www.exetermemories.co.uk/em/_churches/stannes.php
- Visit St Anne’s Church – http://www.orthodoxdevon.org/
- Nicholas Orme (2014) “The Churches of Medieval Exeter”