Bampfylde Road, Torquay, Devon, UK.

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PCC. of All Saints Torre, Torquay

Parish Priest -
Fr.David Davies
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Her beloved Ashfield
Agatha Christie was born on born on September l5th. 1890 in a house called Ashfield in Torre Parish about a twenty- minute walk from All Saints' Church. She was the youngest of three children with an older sister called Madge and a brother, Monty, who was ten years her senior. Her father was American, her mother was English and they were called Frederick and Clara.
When Agatha was born her father donated a sum of money to All Saints' Church to mark her birth and she became a founder member and this church will always be associated with her. On October 2Oth 1890, when she was two months old, she was baptised in this church in the same font that we use today. She received the names Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller. . . Mary after her grandmother, Clarissa after her mother and Agatha which was suggested for her by a friend on the way to the church. Agatha as a child
Throughout life this church and her Christian faith remained an important priority and this all started at All Saints. Her father took her to church every Sunday and always sat in the front row. Every week ten minutes into the sermon he would ask, "Do you want to leave now?" To which she always replied decisively, "No"
She spent her childhood at Ashfield, the house she adored and had a very strong influence on her life. Her mother decided that she did not wish to send her youngest child to school before she was eight but Agatha decided otherwise and taught herself to read before she was five.
At the end of the century there was a riding stable about a hundred metres from the Church and Agatha was in the habit of walking down there in her riding habit in order to go exploring the country lanes on horseback. Her father was President of the Cricket Club near Ashfield and from the age often she would take her place in the shade of the big oak tree . .which is still order to help keep the score. Unfortunately her father died when she was only eleven.
Agatha in the dispensary
As a teenager she went to help the local pharmacist whose shop is only five minutes walk from Torre church. This shop remained intact until the end of 1998 when it was closed down. It was here in this pharmacy that the young Agatha acquired all her knowledge of poisons, which has figured so largely in her work. She gained her certificate to practice as a pharmacist and she worked at the hospital in Torre throughout both World Wars
The Church helped her career as a writer in an amusing way. If she were writing about bishops, priests or complex ecclesiastical business she would telephone the Vicar of Torre to seek advice. She could quite often be seen walking with her mother to tea at the vicarage and her mother, who was a woman of imposing stature, would usually be wearing a long black dress, a hat with a large brim and a carrying a silver topped ebony walking stick. Agatha lived in Torquay until 1938, but as she herself said in her autobiography, 'I dream a great deal and always about Ashfield.' This distinguished lady died in 1976 at the age of eighty eight having written 78 novels, 19 plays, a collection of poems and 6 romantic novels under the name of Mary Westmacott
Link to picture of Agatha Christie's grave