The Chapel

Lettaford, North Bovey, Devon

Overview

In this tiny granite chapel two of you can cook, eat and sleep all its one big room, tucked beside a stream in a hamlet on the edge of Dartmoor.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Bed in Living RoomBed in Living Room
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • Waitrose DeliveryWaitrose Delivery

Beds 1 Twin

Sleeps
2
4 nights
£392 equivalent to £49.00 per person, per night

A building typical of rural Nonconformity

The Chapel is tucked away at the edge of the green beside a small stream in which Landmarkers have been known to bathe as well as paddle. The self-contained and resourceful life of an upland people goes on around you as it always has, while the rising moors around are there to be explored or simply admired, depending on your tastes.

This diminutive former chapel reflects a later phase in Lettaford’s history, when Nonconformity took hold in such remote places in the South West during the 19th century. The Chapel is a plain granite building typical of such rural Nonconformity. It closed in 1978 and with little chance of survival on its own its loss would have been a pity for Lettaford, so Landmark took it on. It is now a romantic hideaway where two of you can cook, eat, sleep and be warm by the stove, all in one big room.

An ancient hamlet sheltering in the lee of Dartmoor

Lettaford bears testament to an ancient way of life on the edge of Dartmoor. Sited in a hollow for shelter, its buildings are grouped around a green, some still in active farming use. The public road that takes you there breaks up into tracks up onto the moor. Since before 1300, farmers have grazed their cattle on the rough upland pasture and cultivated crops in the tiny fields lower down. The land yielded a surprisingly good living over the centuries, and their way of life and careful economy was expressed in the longhouses they built to live in at one end, and shelter their cattle at the other.

‘Lovely walks – heard cuckoos, saw tiny new-born foals and a beautiful array of wild flowers.’

From the logbook

Floor Plan

Map & local info

The Chapel sits on the edge of the green of the tiny hamlet of Lettaford.

A trip to Dartmoor Prison Museum is an eye-opening experience as you learn about "life inside" through 200 years of history, up until the present day. 

The ancient Buckland Abbey, one hour away in the car, is now part house, part museum, where you can explore its treasures and follow the way-marked trails through the surrounding orchards, meadows and woodlands. Buckfast Abbey, around 30 minutes' drive, is open two days a week. If your stay coincides, find time to visit this peaceful monastery. 

Visit Castle Drogo, "The last castle to be built in England", in the nearby pretty village of Drewsteignton  to see the ongoing conservation projects. Wander through the beautiful, Lutyens-designed garden and along the winding paths leading down into the ancient Teign Gorge.

Climb aboard the steam trains with heritage rolling stock at South Devon Railway in Buckfastleigh and explore in style.

Experience the rainforest atmosphere with beautiful, tropical butterflies and see the playful otters at Buckfast Butterfly Farm

The beautiful Ugbrooke House & Gardens, set in a tranquil Devon valley landscaped by Capability Brown, is only a 30-minute drive away. You can gain free entry with with a National Art Pass, which enables its members to enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions. The pass is presented by one of Landmark's partners, the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, which has been supporting museums and galleries for over 110 years by helping them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy. Income raised through the National Art Pass goes straight back into their charitable programme. Find more about it here on the National Art Pass website. 

For more information on things to see and do during your stay at The Chapel, take a look at our Pinterest page.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

See all our Landmarks at Lettaford

The Chapel
Lettaford, North Bovey, Devon
Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    From a narrow lane / track.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Newton Abbot – 15 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes – there is one parking space on the track adjacent to the property. There are approx 5 steps up from the parking area to the entrance.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters and a wood burning stove.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Unfortunately, there is no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of logs, however details of local sources will be provided with your order confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a shower over the bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    There are no internal stairs.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There are open grounds. There are footpaths which run through the hamlet. Please note the unfenced watercourses.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

First services held here in 1860

Bible Christian services were first held in Lettaford in 1860, when it seems that permission was given to use the day school for Sunday prayer meetings. For about two years before this a small number of people had been meeting in cottages in hamlets nearby, but with a more regular meeting place the membership quickly rose to about twenty.

The move must partly have been due to the influence of the schoolmistress, Mrs Susan Walling, and it may also have been due to her that a new building was erected to serve as both schoolroom and chapel. The work was actually ordered by a Miss Pynseat, however, who may have become the Mrs Splatt who is later referred to as the owner of the building. The record of the work exists in a book of “Tenders and Estimates for the building of Chapels and church extensions". The entry is undated, but presumed from its place in the chronological order to be for 1866:

"I hereby agree to build the walls of Schoolroom with Granite stone 20 inches thick and of the dimensions shown in plan, and to cover the roof with best Coryton Countess slate 20 by 10. To lath the Battering of Back and South end and the Ceiling with Good stout laths. The plastering of same and remaining part of Wall to be three Coat Work. The External face of Walls to be pointed. To provide Granite Cills for Windows and Door and find all Material and Carriage for the sum of fifty eight Pounds ten shillings."

This almost certainly refers to the existing building, which would thus have opened in 1867 or 1868. This ties in with the list of active members of the congregation; the number had sunk to only six in 1866, but rose to seventeen in 1867 and twenty three in 1868. It was not a wealthy community, consisting almost entirely of small farmers and farm labourers. Out of these the group of preachers would have been selected, who took it in turns to lead services in all the twelve chapels making up the Chagford Circuit.

In 1872 a change occurred in Lettaford. On September 5th a resolution was noted in the Chagford Circuit Book:

"That as we learn with deep regret that sister Susan Walling and her daughter are about to be removed from Lettaford we hereby desire to express our high appreciation of assistance they have rendered us in entertaining the preachers, conducting prayer and class meetings, in supporting the cause of God financially and in carrying out the discipline of the society generally and we earnestly pray that their valuable lives may long be spared and that the choicest of Heaven's blessings may rest upon them and that ultimately they may gain their full and permanent reward in the home of the sanctified where change and disappointment may never come.

That this meeting desires to express its most cordial and hearty thanks to Mrs Splatt for her great kindness and liberality in allowing us the free use of the schoolroom at Lettaford in which to preach the Gospel. We believe many souls have derived much good therefrom, some of whom we trust are now joining their songs of praise with that of the redeemed in glory.

We learn with deep regret that Mrs Walling who has rendered us good service there is shortly about to remove but notwithstanding her removal and the consequent closure of the school we shall be very pleased with the kind permission of Mrs Splatt to continue public services as heretofore and we trust many precious souls may yet find a birthplace there and may Heaven's blessing be hers through life, after which may Heaven be her eternal home".

At some date, probably not long after this, the ownership of the Schoolroom passed to the Bible Christian Church, so that it became a fully fledged chapel, vested in trustees drawn from the congregation. The late Mr Wallace Perryman of Yeo Farm, Chagford, who played the harmonium in Lettaford Chapel from 1914 until the 1960s, and whose father had been a preacher on the Chagford Circuit, remembered in a newspaper interview given in 1960 that at this time, or perhaps when services were first held in the school, the Bible Christians encountered strong opposition from a local landowner who even went to the lengths of padlocking the door on Sundays to keep them out. A law suit followed in which the landowner tried to prove that the building stood on his own land, so that he had the right of control. The Bible Christians won the case however, by establishing that the chapel was in fact on common land.

Mr Perryman remembered a period when cattle drovers who used the old Way through the hamlet fixed a chain across the door of the chapel to prevent their animals from straying inside.

The Rev. L.H. Court in "The History of the Bible Christian Methodist Church in the Chagford Circuit" in 1904 states that the congregation at Lettaford never properly revived after Mrs Walling's departure and that numbers began to decline from then on. The agricultural depression of the late 19th century, causing the gradual depopulation of the area, would have contributed to this trend.

For the twenty years from 1897, when he was made a trustee, the chapel was cared for by a Mr William Chammings. In winter he would light the open fire to warm the chapel before meetings, and the oil lamps by which the building was lit. He would have overseen the installation in 1913 of a harmonium given by Hittesleigh Methodist Chapel.

During Mr Chammings's trusteeship, in 1907, the Bible Christians joined with the Free Methodists and the New Connexion to form the United Methodist Church. This foreshadowed their final unification in 1932 with the Wesleyans and the Primitive Methodists to become the Methodist Church of Great Britain.

In 1917 a new group of trustees was installed. In the 1920s there must have been a rise in the congregation and in the number of children locally, for in 1922 a schoolroom was added "at the rear of the chapel", with a doorway leading through in the corner of the south wall. It was made of galvanised iron lined with wood and was lit by oil lamps like the chapel. On the other end or "front" of the chapel a garage was added, also made out of galvanised iron.

At some time after this, although possibly not until after the War, the old entrance in the east, or side, wall was blocked up and a new entrance pierced through the chimney breast in the north end, reached through the garage. At the same time the pulpit was moved from the north to the south end.

This, with the installation of a new organ for Mr Perryman, and gas-lighting in 1943, followed by electricity in 1962, completes the account of alterations to the building in its time as a place of worship, since by the latter date the congregation numbered only four, and they found it difficult even to maintain the building. Mr Roger Thorne, who has made a study of the history of the Methodist Church in Devon, preached at Lettaford on three occasions and remembers the warmth of their welcome however.

By 1977 the number of active members in the whole of the Chagford Circuit had dwindled so low that it was decided to amalgamate it with its neighbours. Lettaford was incorporated into the Exeter Circuit, and soon afterwards the decision was made to close the chapel altogether. The Landmark Trust, having already restored the long-house, Sanders, in Lettaford, were keen to preserve the chapel, feeling that it was an integral part of the character of the place, and so it was conveyed to them in 1981. 

To read more about the history of the Chapel please click here.

Restoration

The interior retains its original single open space

The Old Chapel has been converted to provide accommodation with as little alteration as possible. For this reason the interior has been retained as a single open space. The two galvanised iron additions were removed, however, and in place of the schoolroom on the south end an extension has been built to provide a bathroom, with walls of the same rubble masonry as the main building, with Delabole slate of a similar colour to that on the main roof.

A new doorway had to be made to lead into this. A small window was formed in the west wall of the chapel to light the kitchen area.

The doorway leading into the garage was blocked, reinstating the chimney. A new fireplace with a granite surround was then inserted.

The floor level of the chapel has been raised to enable those inside to see out, and to help air to circulate underneath to prevent damp. This meant raising the entrance doorway as well and building the steps up to it. The original door itself has been retained.

The west wall was given a new coat of render and made damp-proof on the inside as well. The roof was overhauled, but the existing slates were retained where possible, made up with randoms from the Delabole quarry where necessary. Slates from the same source have been hung on the south gable. New plumbing and electrical systems had to be put in, the wires of the latter entering the building underground. The joists of the ceiling, and some of the floor, had to be renewed, and a new coat of plaster applied to the former. The walls were patched where the existing plaster was decayed, and then limewashed.

All the new woodwork is softwood; floorboards and skirting board, the cupboard beside the fireplace and the low partition behind which the kitchen is concealed. Care has been taken in the furnishing to keep the interior as uncluttered as possible in order to preserve the plain and simple feel of the building.

The architect for the conversion was Mr Paul Pearn of Pearn and Procter, who has restored a number of buildings in the West Country for the Landmark Trust. The building was carried out by Messrs Penbekon Contractors (Devon) Ltd, of Devonport, Plymouth.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.