Explore Braunton - The Most Biodiverse Parish in England

St Hannahs

Legend has it that a settlement once existed at the south end of Braunton Burrows, which went by the name of St Hannahs. It had a chapel, which was dedicated to St Anne and until 1860 the ruins of the chapel could apparently be seen, standing about a foot high where they emerged from the sand.

Chapel Green

The area, known as Chapel Green, included a group of cottages that surrounded the chapel and despite much speculation, evidence of life has been found there in the form of 12th century pottery.

After the village’s decline, local people were said to have removed the limestone they found there to make repairs to their own cottages and in 1860 a Mr Tucker, who was at that time the ‘warrener’ on the Burrows, was said to have removed the remaining stones from the ruined chapel and used them to build a linhay for himself on the marshes.

St Annes

Aerial view showing high ridgeThe only surviving piece of St Annes is perhaps a font, which was said to have been found on the Burrows. It stands on the entrance steps to another small chapel known also, appropriately, as St Annes – which is located on the north side of the Saunton Road, near Saunton.

The Chapel in the Sands

The ancient chapel was known as the ‘Chapel in the Sands’ and measured a mere 14 feet 6 inches by 12 feet.

The location of it is clearly marked on both Donn’s 1765 map and an 1809 Ordnance Survey map but today is very much a mystery. The shifting sands do nothing to help the situation although numerous attempts have been made to find it.

Uncle Billy

Braunton lighthouseA character once familiar in the area was William Acland (known locally as Uncle Billy). He was reputed to have known the spot and to have regularly taken people to it. Billy should have known the Burrows well as he was the Christie Estate’s rabbit catcher.

Some theories suggest that the chapel stood near the old lighthouse and the boarding point for the ancient ferry crossing point to Appledore. However no definite evidence has been found and the search continues.

explore braunton, the most biodiverse parish in england - a north devon aonb project