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Our History

Temple Church in Budleigh Salterton has a distinguished history as its establishment resulted in there being a Methodist Church in the town before there was an Anglican one!

James Lackington, a self-educated cobbler, set up in business as a second-hand bookseller in London in the 1790s, with a loan of five pounds from John Wesley, founder of Methodism.  In 1807 Lackington moved to Budleigh Salterton and bought a house in Fore Street with land behind it.  The first church (left - extracted from our Dorsal) was built on this site in 1812 for a cost of £2,000.

This was Lackington's third Temple Church.  His other Temple Churches were at Alverstone and Taunton.  He also built his own house in front of the Church in what is nowadays the Church car park.  James died in November 1815 his house was then used as the Manse for the Church Ministers. Lackington’s original Temple Church continued in use until it was demolished in 1904.

The Stone Laying for the building we still use today was on 6th April, 1904 and the building cost £7,000 to complete. The first service was held here on 22nd January 1905.

The School Hall, to the right of the Church was built in 1884 and the houses that stood in front of that were demolished in 1927 to create our lawn, thanks to a legacy from Thomas Cain.


During the Second World War, when St. Peters Church was bombed, its congregation worshipped here, from the 3rd May 29th November 1942.  When their own church was repaired, they left the Cross and Communion Frontal as a token of their appreciation.  These remain to this day as a symbol of the Christian unity in this town.

The fine Pulpit is in memory of Robert Henry, son of Rev and Mrs D H Carr, who was just 18 when
he was tragically killed in a cliff accident at Budleigh Salterton.  The original Organ (left) was dedicated on 25th June 1905 and is still in place, but nowadays we now use an electric organ, which was purchased as part of Eva Dorothy Birdseye's bequest in 1988.  Today is usually played by Keith Burgess.

In 2012 we celebrated our 200th anniversary of our mission on this site with a program of events and you can see some of those who attended the bi-centenary weekend in the photograph below: