Listed building grade 1
50°40’50.0″N 4°15’00.3″W (enter these in your smartphone navigator)
A lovely, much underrated church set on the south face of a hill near, but not too near, the main A30 through Devon. A very pleasant stop off if you are travelling through.
The exterior is beautiful stone, with granite surrounds and a rocking, full granite, medieval porch entrance. There are a fair amount of original windows too, well worth a look.
Inside, the medieval benchends are a delight, ranging from Christian Symbols to Renaissance creatures. There are not many of them, but quality over quantity always wins out.
There is a fine medieval roodscreen, a bit hammered by time (or maybe the local scrumpy?) with some very unusual little carvings of an angel and birds on the front.
In the chapel is an armless and legless effigy on an old chest tomb, great survivors both.
The font is a monster, Norman, granite, a massive lad not for budging.
The pulpit (1901) is an impressive riff on traditional Devon carving by a local artisan and hits the spot for me.
On the nave roof are some roofbosses from the 1960s depicting the parishioners’ world, from a tractor to a space rocket, and a fair amount of animals. They are wonderful, and I have not seen their like elsewhere.
In the chancel there is a unique altar back (reredos), really very much a one off and well worth a look. I am charmed, but whatever your thoughts it is certainly unusual.
The pastel tiles though are a total joy, geometrically laid, such fun…
And the light streaming through the windows into this ancient space really makes the interior buzz in any weather.
- South chancel chapel with 2-bay arcade to the chancel
- North transept
- South aisle,
- West tower
- South west porch
- Bottom stage of the tower probably C12,
- Parts of the nave and chancel C13
- North transept possibly C14
- South chancel chapel may be late C13 or C14
- Late C15/early C16 south aisle and south porch
- Restoration of 1871
- Granite & Freestone dressings
- Slate roofs
DEVELOPMENT OF THE STRUCTURE
- Complex development
- Base of the tower appears to be C12
- But tower is not aligned with the C13 chancel arch
- Church may have been rebuilt and re-aligned in the C13 with a C12 west tower and C13 nave and chancel
- Masonry of the north transept differs from the nave masonry
- May be a C14 addition
- South chancel chapel certainly precedes the south aisle
- May have been a C14 chantry
- C15 or early C16 the 2-bay arcade between the chancel and south chancel chapel was built
- Probably contemporary with the south aisle
- Increased the width of the nave which was re-roofed
- The upper stages of the west tower probably also date from the Perpendicular period.
- Church entirely re-roofed in 1966
CHANCEL AND SOUTH CHAPEL
- East wall of the south chancel chapel is flush with the chancel east wall with a single C19 buttress between with set-offs.
- East gables are coped with kneelers
- Gables appear to have been rebuilt
- Plinth suggests that the entire east wall may have been reconstructed.
- C19 Perpendicular chancel east window of 4 lights
- Y tracery, king mullion, hoodmould and label stops.
- No windows to the north wall of the chancel.
- South chancel chapel east window is C19 freestone Perpendicular
- 3-light with hoodmould and label stops.
- South window of the chapel is a circa late C15/early C16
- 3-light square-headed cusped window with a hoodmould
- The transept north window is probably late C14 Perpendicular
- hoodmould and label stops
- Constructed of masonry of small dimensions.
- North wall: the ground appears to have been cut away at the base
- Leaving a blocked chamfered arched doorway in the centre considerably raised off ground level.
- On either side of the doorway a circa late C13 triple lancet with chamfered light
- Westernmost appears to be original, the mullions of the easternmost have been renewed
- 3 easternmost windows of the aisle are probably early C16
- Wide 4-light uncusped granite windows with panel tracery,
- Hoodmoulds and carved label stops
- Original external saddle bars and stanchions are intact
- West window of the south aisle is a 3-light granite Perpendicular window
- Lightly cusped with a hoodmould and label stops
- 2 stage unbuttressed battlemented
- Square corner crocketted pinnacles
- A projecting rectangular north east stair turret rises above the tower battlementing
- Battlemented with square corner crocketted pinnacles
- The west face has a simple hollow-chamfered arched west door
- With hoodmould below relieving arch
- Round-headed chamfered west window above the door is probably C12 below a relieving arch
- Belfry openings on all 4 faces are 2-light uncusped openings with square-heads
- The south face has a chamfered round-headed 1-light opening at bellringers’ stage
- Filled with a slate pierced with slits
- Stone rubble faced with granite ashlar on the south side
- Coped gable
- Shallow-moulded arched outer doorway
- Square-headed hoodmould
- Label stops with carved spandrels
- Interior has slate-topped benches and a Perpendicular waggon roof
- Carved ribs, bosses and wallplates
- Inner door moulded with a Tudor arch and carved spandrels
- Circa C16 door with studs and strap hinges
- Unplastered walls, east end walls plastered
- Roofs are late C20 ceiled wagons with ribs and carved bosses
- Unmoulded tower arch springs from chamfered imposts
- Interesting late C19 timber reredos
- Good tiling
- Depressed moulded granite arch to the south chancel chapel
- Said to have been the Upcott (qv) chapel
- Original Perpendicular carved wallplate
- Whitewashed stone effigy of around 1500 (Pevsner) lies on a tomb chest
- Knight in armour, head and torso only
- The torso is hollowed out
- The tomb chest is probably earlier and not connected to the effigy
- Frieze of nodding ogee canopies
- Mourners in ecclesiastical dress beneath
- The arch is not part of the original design of the tomb
- 3 bays
- Easternmost arch abutting the centre of the south chancel arch and apparently acting as a keystone.
- The piers of the arcade have 4 hollows and 4 shafts
- Moulded capitals to the shafts only
- The piers have moulded bases
- Arches are shallow-moulded
- 2-bay arcade between the chancel and south chancel chapel is similar but not identical
- 6-bay chancel screen said to be 1529
- No coving
- 2 orders of carving from the load-bearing beam have been tacked on to the top
- Frieze of quatrefoils at the base of the wainscot
- Painted brown and green, probably in the late C18/early C19
- Screen across the arch into the south chancel chapel has wider openings with almost segmental heads
- Several complete early C16 benches survive
- Rectangular carved ends
- Renaissance arabesques or Instruments of the Passion
- Original footings survive in part as do the moulded back rails.
- The remaining benches in the nave are C19 with panelled ends
- Some C16 bench ends incorporated into the choir stalls
- Good C13 octagonal font
- Palmettes carved on 4 faces
- Other faces are plain or cut with a vertical hollow probably when the font was fixed to wall
- Bowl stands on an octagonal base
- 5 sided 1901 timber drum pulpit
- Carved by John Northcott of Ashwater
- Deep cornice
- Carved sides
- Moulded granite base
COAT OF ARMS
- Royal Arms of 1822 painted by Richard Reddicliffe
- North wall of the nave
- Late C19 in the south aisle
- Probably by Lavers, Barraud and Westlake
- Late C19 in the south aisle
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