Salem

Salem - short for 'Jerusalem' - Chapel in East Budleigh dates from 1719.

It is a square 18th-century roadside chapel just outside the village of East Budleigh, built for a Presbyterian congregation, later an Independent worshiping community. It is built of cob - that is rammed earth - and stone and is square in plan and has an attractive interior with a gallery and many old pews and fittings.

 

Getting there

The nearest rail stations are Exmouth (5 miles) or Exeter (12 miles).

An hourly Stagecoach Devon bus service no. 157 from Exmouth bus station to Sidmouth stops by the chapel.

Two cars can park immediately by the chapel gate and there is a lay-by for 15 cars on the B3178 just east of the chapel but please be careful as you walk back and cross the road.

You can download a short guide to Salem Chapel here.

In the Area

Sir Walter Raleigh was born in the parish of East Budleigh in 1552 and the village with its two pubs and handsome old All Saints Church is an attractive base from which to explore the Jurassic Coast World Heritage SiteBicton Park Botanic Gardens are just outside the village and A La Ronde, a remarkable 18th circular house owned by the National Trust is a short drive away, near Exmouth.

Vicarage Road (at the junction with B3178)
East Budleigh
nr Exmouth
EX9 7EF
United Kingdom

Visits by prior arrangement with our volunteer keyholders: (01395) 741 033 or (01395) 446 189.

Salem  - short for 'Jerusalem' -  Chapel dates from 1719. It was originally a Presbyterian chapel but later housed an Independent congregational meeting for many generations. In the 1980s it was briefly owned by the Assembly of God.

The building is square with a four-hipped roof. The walls are largely of stone and cob, now rendered. There is a datestone "Salem chapel, built 1719" and a window cill inscribed "enlarged 1836" when the seating capacity was augmented.

Inside, the gallery across the front end dates from 1719. Two others were added in 1836 and are supported on slender cast-iron columns with moulded caps. The roof structure is of special interest: the vaulted ceiling rises from a single central post - a structurally daring solution that means the square chapel is open and light-filled. Originally of timber, the central post was replaced in the nineteenth century by a cast iron one. This in turn has now given way to a stronger modern steel column as cast iron is fragile, especially in fire. When the cast-iron post was removed a purse containing coins and other items was found in its footings.

You can download a short guide to Salem Chapel here.

Historic Chapels Trust rescued Salem from dereliction in the nick of time.

After its last congregation disbanded they sold the building to a private owner, who neglected the chapel. A campaign to save the building was spearheaded by village resident Kathy Moyle. The chapel was in a state of imminent collapse and nearly lost forever due to rampant rot in the roof structure. Historic Chapels Trust raised £700,000 in grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, foundations and other supporters. Major structural repairs and restoration was completed in 2006.

Now structurally sound and with limited modern facilities in the adjacent school room, the building has a new life as a community building. The Friends of Salem group is active in helping to manage the chapel and meeting room. You may also be married here with a service in the Independent Christian tradition.

HCT's custodianship of this building is informed by a Conservation Statement which can be downloaded here.

The chapel is available for hire for weddings and events. It has a WC and small kitchen in an outbuilding, where there is also a meeting room for up to 10 people.

Contact us for details and availability by using the form opposite.