St Loye (Eloy in French or Eligius in Latin) lived in 6-7th century in what is now France. He is the patron saint of goldsmiths, other metal workers, horses, farriers and vets, and most importantly miners! St Loye’s is the only known chapel dedicated to him in Devon or Cornwall.
The first documentary evidence for the chapel is in 1387. According to Historic England’s scheduling of the site, it was built in 1377. It could even be 13th century, as the southeast wall contains three lancet windows, a style which belongs to this earlier period. Or these windows could simply be unfashionable hangovers of an earlier tradition in a small domestic chapel.
Changes include widening of the window in the southwest wall in the late 15th century. Records show that half the building had become a dwelling by 1607. By 1785 it had become a stable. Site visits in the mid 20th century found it to be in very poor condition, surrounded by allotments with variously a garden shed, compost heap and potato patch inside! Now the chapel is a stable picturesque ruin consisting of most of three walls, set back from suburban roads within a pleasant garden.
The building is mostly Heavitree Stone from the nearby quarries. The walls also contain volcanic trap, sandstone and slate, and the lancet windows have Beer Stone frames. It is a perfect spot to see the different local stones next to each other, and learn how to identify them.
- Devon & Dartmoor Historic Environment Record – http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MDV16822&resourceID=104
- Historic England Scheduled Monument – https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1003868
- Historic England Listed Building – https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1223320
- Historic England Pastscape – https://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=448365
- Archaeological Data Service record of excavation – http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/exeter_95_2015/index.cfm
- Nicholas Orme (2014) “The Churches of Medieval Exeter”
- Exeter Memories – http://www.exetermemories.co.uk/em/_churches/st-loyes-chapel.php