There has been a church in Kingsteignton since Saxon times. The present building was consecrated in 1318 and enlarged in the early 15th century, followed by the construction of the tower. Substantial rebuilding took place in the mid 19th century. The surviving medieval fabric includes the west tower and the arcades. The Fairwater, a mill leat of possible medieval origin, runs though the churchyard.

Outside the church, on a buttress to the left of the porch is a nicely carved I W 1776, the letters separated by a small saltire cross. The crossed letter I, as seen here, often represents a J and these are probably someone’s initials, but we don’t know what the date commemorates. To the right of the south doorway are curious pencil drawings of leaves.

Inside, graffiti on the piers includes the letters I P and a saltire cross, which still contain remnants of limewash – a reminder that the bare stone appearance we are familiar with in churches today was not the norm in the past.

The graffiti on the edge of the font is not very legible, but includes possible V’s and other marks. Graffiti on fonts is not uncommon and is likely to be apotropaic (protective). It is not known if the letters M ?H (unusually long crossbar) inside the font are someone’s initials or have another meaning.

On the tower roof are three foot or shoe outlines from an earlier casting of the lead, that fortunately were saved when the roof was re-leaded in 1973. The names have been made using letter stamps, which would not have been available to most people, and the foot outlines scored with a knife or other sharp tool. The outlines are dated 1825 and it is possible that they represent the church warden at that time, and her children, or the lead workers’ family.

Kingsteignton, St Michael