The patron saint of this church is St Denis, the French saint. No one knows how or when this came about because the medieval dedication has not been unequivocally established, but Denis looks possible from 1613 and he has certainly been regarded as the patron saint since 1739. In 1878 the parish feast was held on the last Sunday in October, which is now known as the Revel Sunday.
On entering the church (thought to be of Norman origin) by the South Porch the arch into the Nave rests on Norman Imposts with four, four centred arches of granite. There is a small North transept, which was removed in 1850 due to dilapidation and the arch filled in, the North wall was largely rebuilt.
The West Tower is of three stages, and is finished with battlements and stump pinnacles; it was rebuilt in 1792, is approximately 40 feet high and contains three medieval bells two of which have legends on them in Old English characters, and the other is quite plain. They were last re-hung and the tower restored in 1952. Up until his death in 1999 aged 88 years, a previous Churchwarden chimed all three bells, one in each hand the third with his foot. Sadly the bell frame now needs restoring again and the bells cannot be rung.
A quote from Church records circa 1888 '...a further sum of £95 has been paid or promised towards the restoration of the Church which is in a deplorable condition, and quite unfit for Divine service...'.
And another quote from the Cornish & Devon Post May 24 1902 - 'Thirty years ago Otterham Church was known as one of the most dilapidated in the Country. All the windows were lying on the ground and stories are told of the sexton who had a weakness for poaching and who, while he dug a grave, locked his greyhound in the building tied to the pulpit. Cattle are said to have resorted on hot summer days to the shelter of the aisles and the old sexton had also seen people open their umbrellas during a service to keep off the wind and rain. The Church is now in a very different state of repair, Today efforts continue to raise funds for still further improvement.
Sadly this church was rebuilt in Victorian times and very little remains of the original structure apart from the lovely columns that hold up the roof, and the three fonts, two of which have been reclaimed by the church over the years.(Sadly damaged).
Otterham however does offer an oasis of calm in a busy world, and is a lovely place to sit and enjoy the presence of God.
The two large chairs and small cupboard at the back of church are rumoured to be made up of the original screen that was removed in Victorian times, and the roof has a Green Man where the Nave joins the Chancel. Part of the original screen is also on display above the War Memorial on the North wall.
There is some lovely old memorials in the church, the best though being in the tower where the mason had lots of fun by adding smiling faces to all the loops and curls in the fancy lettering.
Recently the bells at Otterham have been restored and augmented from three medieval bells to six in total. The tower is now in much demand by ringers for its fine set of bells, and the ease of ringing.
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