Listed building grade 2*
Church of St John the Baptist and the Seven Maccabees
50°49’53.3″N 4°15’49.2″W (enter these in your smartphone navigator)
The only parish church dedicated to the Seven Maccabees in the country, and a very unusual church for Devon as well.
Most of the church seems to come from the 1300s if not earlier, the tower has Norman origins, and originally it was cruciform in shape, with a north and south transept.
The addition of the north aisle in the early 1500s incorporated the north transept.
Inside it is a modest and calm, with some early benchends both carved and uncarved. For my money, the uncarved ones are the most evocative.
There is some ace Jacobean woodwork too, well worth a delight or two.
The victorian work grows on one. The screen is just right for the age of the church, Early English style, and the eagle on the lectern is just pure fun.
Good stained glass East Window too.
Very much its own church here, in atmosphere as well as dedication. Well worth seeking out amongst the backroads of West Devon.
- North aisle
- South transept
- South Porch
- West tower
- Norman origins
- Originally cruciform
- Remodelled in C14
- West tower is of an early form
- With the south porch may also date from the early C14
- Probably circa 1315 when dedicated by Bishop Stapledon
- Probable C16 addition of a north aisle
- The church has escaped extensive C19 restoration
- Stone rubble walls
- Gable-ended asbestos slate roof
- Very low narrow unbuttressed
- Pyramidal roof
- Almost enveloped to north and south by extensions to the nave and aisle
- No west doorway
- C15 2-light west window
- 4-centred heads and hoodmould
- C15 2-light trefoiled-head window on its east side
- Probably restored C15 style 2-light window to south
- Tall lancet with 4-centred head on north wall
- East window is circa 1300, 3-light with trefoiled heads
- 2 more lancet lights on south wall of chancel
- That to the east has a square head and has probably been altered
- The north aisle does not extend as far as the west end
- It has a 3-light straight-headed granite mullion window in its west wall and 2 on its north face. Granite north doorway
- Very depressed 4-centred head and roll and fillet mouldings
- Recessed spandrels and hoodmould.
- 2-light mullion window at east end of aisle
- Coping stones and pointed arch chamfered doorway
- Very small C19 lean-to vestry
- Against end of aisle with single chamfered light and shallow arched doorway
- Porch roof has been restored
- C14 south doorway
- Chamfered with 2- centred arch
- Internal walls have C20 plaster
- Apart from transept and west wall where the stonework is exposed.
- No chancel arch
- chancel floor consists of medieval Barnstaple tiles
- Windows to nave and chancel have pointed chamfered rear arches
- The altar and lectern probably incorporate parts of the carved rood screen
- Replaced by a late C19 or early C20 one
- Pulpit incorporates C17 carving to panels which appear to have been reused
- Square C13 font with moulding around the bottom
- Standing on renewed central stem
- 4 outer pillars on original square moulded base
- Over the nave, chancel and transept the roofs has been renewed in late C19 or early C20
- With arch-braced form
- Over the north aisle is an older arch-braced roof probably C16
- 3 bay north arcade
- Two westward arches are Perpendicular with Pevsner A-type piers
- Moulded capitals and 4-centred arches.
The easternmost arch is C14
- Moulded capitals and 4-centred arches.
- Was the former north transept arch
- Very pointed with different moulding
- Semi-hexagonal respond to the east against the wall
- Pointed rubble arch with hagioscope.
- Tall 4-centred dressed stone tower arch
- Plain apart from one at the rear which has a carved end
- In the transept one bench has worn carved end
- With a panelled and richly carved front with arcading and Renaissance designs
- Apparently this was known as the Dursland pew
Although this is a fairly simple church its importance lies in its early date and relatively unaltered state.
Undoubtedly preserves Norman fabric
Dedication date of 1315 suggests it was extensively remodelled then
Consecrated with 3 altars in 1315
Puzzling feature at the west end however is the way the narrow tower has a small addition to north and south both of which are closed towards the nave
Almost resembling a dwarfed west transept
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