Mortehoe (1859)

Mortehoe – North Devon Journal – 14th July 1859

The native beaches of this delightful spot are attracting numerous and daily visitors from Ilfracombe and the places adjacent. The matchless scenery of the locality and the invigorating breezes of the Atlantic would render Mortehoe a favourite watering-place for annuitants and invalids to whom economy is a consideration, were the means of ready access afforded by direct communication with the principal towns of North Devon, and few convenient and unostentatious lodging-houses erected or apartments fitted up the farm houses of the parish. A little spirited speculation in this way would be largely patronized and rendered remunerative to the speculators, who would, doubtless, realize a good return for the money invested. Many of the slopes abutting on the sea are peculiarly adapted as sites for detached residences, commanding views of the bold coast, the far-famed Woolacombe Sands, Baggy-leap, the Promontory of Hercules, Lundy Island, & together with the beautiful bay, studded with ships of all nations—now resembling a glassy lake and anon lashed into fury the western gales. Indeed this is pre-eminently spot in which nature may be viewed in all her charms—the wonder is that she has not more admirers.

Mortehoe Church.—This ancient structure has undergone a thorough ” restoration ” and is now one of the neatest rural parish churches to be found within a hundred miles. The old flooring has been removed and the ground covered with concrete—the aisles have been newly flagged—the seats renovated —the old, chancel, and elaborate carving preserved—the nave newly roofed, the rafters and other woodwork stained and varnished—the windows filled with coloured glass (to which Lady Bruce Chichester and Mrs. Knight have liberally contributed). The church being well nigh completed, it was deemed desirable to add to the other attractions of the place that of sweet sounds; and a powerful harmonium having been procured from London, Sunday last was appointed for the formal ” opening.” On the occasion large congregation assembled: the entrance of the rector was greeted a voluntary (Miss Ness presiding at the harmonium); the service then proceeded —the Rev. J. D. Ness, the incumbent, read prayers and preached a scriptural sermon from Exod. xviii. 19: Hearken unto my voice, I give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee.” The reverend gentleman, assuming the place of Jethro, applied his text to his hearers, considering . The vocal performances of the choir were not worthy of the instrumental leading of the young lady at the harmonium, though some of the voices may be capable of cultivation..

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