Rubbing Shoulders With Your Ancestors in the Churches of Devon
I take great pleasure in visiting churches, regardless of any religious inclination I may or may not have. They are a bit like people in that they come in all shapes and sizes, all ages, and they have experienced a lot of different comings and goings in their lifetime. The churches in Devon are great in number, from the grandeur of Exeter Cathedral, to the tranquillity of Torbryan Church, and they all have their own unique characters. Most of these charismatic buildings were built five or six hundred years ago, and occasionally earlier. But why visit one of these special places? Well, apart from the fine architecture, graveyards and stained glass windows, it is the one place where you can guarantee you are rubbing shoulders with history, since most churches have changed little over the years. I have walked into churches with people who are retracing their family's footsteps, and I can see the look of emotion as they set foot on the very same floor that their ancestor walked on all those years before. In fact, churches are one of the key places for people who are on a genealogical search, as society generally centred around these fine buildings. Researching a family tree will always involve records of christenings, marriages and deaths, occasions that nearly always involved the local church. So, if you happen to be in Devon, take time to pay homage to the great array of churches by visiting one or two. Pick a couple at random, and you might just get that bug to visit more.
By Alex Graeme