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East Budleigh

The Birthplace of Sir Walter Raleigh

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Salem Chapel

Salem Chapel is a dissenters' chapel that lies on the edge of East Budleigh village. It is owned by the Historic Chapels Trust and they restored the building and fabric in 2006 at a cost of £700,000. The Chapel was built on land given by John Pounccor and the Lord of the Manor donated the stone. It was built in 1719 of Beer stone and cob with a hipped slate roof and the interior has a vaulted plaster ceiling supported by a central column originally made of wood, but replaced recently by steel.  The roof is unique with a concave ceiling on the inside, forming a recessed well on the outside with a hidden trap door to an attic.

 A man standing in this well could not be seen,but had a clear view for miles around, making it an ideal lookout to see any customs men approaching. The attic was used by smugglers and this is where they used to hid their gin, cognac, tea, lace and silks. Regrettably today it is no longer used for this purpose, only rare bats are to be found in the attic where special provision has been made for them during the restoration. Although the chapel has no proven links with Salem, Massachusetts, Roger Conant the founder of the American Salem was born in East Budleigh in 1592, and emigrated there in 1623. It is reasonable to think that some of his ancestors may have worshipped and been buried at the Salem Chapel.Like any historic building Salem Chapel lives happily with its ghosts!

Under the guidance of Cathy Moyle, a number of events are held each year in order to raise funds for the maintenance of the Chapel. This show of thirty three Christmas trees all lit up and decorated, is a splendid example of her work. Cathy is ably supported by a number of helpers and visitors travel from miles around to see their work. I am sure that the ghosts do not mind.