Listed building grade 1
Usually closed. Keys in nearby house/s.
Church of St Peter
50°52’28.4″N 4°02’12.0″W (enter these in your smartphone navigator)
Sitting prettily beside a little lane in the midst of Devon’s glorious countryside, Downland church is a charm and a half.
It is very much about the light here, both inside and out, though the medieval windows and stonework certainly bring a bucket or two to the party as well.
There’s a simple Norman doorway that really does not prepare us for the major surprise of oak pillars and arches carved like stone. Why? No clear answer, it is one of only two churches in Devon to have them, and is the best.
There is a stunning 16th century chair back in the chancel, carved with a fantastical scene involving a dragon, monkey, snail and eagle. Just awesome. And a lovely piece of medieval glass showing St Luke’s ox.
There are also some very nice 16th century bench ends telling various stories, a medieval door in the tower, an old battered font…
But always there is the light in this beauty and sitting here for a time and half watching it caress the beautiful interior is an afternoon well spent.
- North aisle
- South porch
- West tower
- Some Norman fabric in nave and south doorway
- C15 tower
- Early C16 north aisle and possibly south porch
- Partially restored in 1876
- Rubble walls
- Rendered to south side of nave and east end
- Slate roof
- 3 stage
- Crocketted pinnacles
- 2-light granite belfry openings
- Slits for stairs on north side
- 4-centred granite west doorway
- Roll and hollow moulding
- Arched hoodmould
- 3-light Perpendicular granite west window
- One mullion renewed
- South side C14 style partly restored window
- Traceried square head
- East window 3-light Early English style
- Probably a restoration
- C20 priest’s doorway to south side of chancel
- Plain gabled south porch
- Round-headed doorway
- Arch-braced roof
- May be early
- Narrow roundheaded Norman south doorway
- The west end a circa C16 late 2-light stone mullion window
- North wall 2 early C16 3-light segmental headed granite mullion windows
- Similar window at east end
- The internal walls plastered
- Remarkable for its oak 3-bay arcade
- Only one other exists in Devon (Nymet Rowland)
- Partly restored 4-centred chamfered arches and Persner A-type piers
- That at the west end is circular and of stone
- No chancel arch
- Tower arch is plain and pointed
- Very small roughly octagonal late medieval font
- On C20 base
- C19 or early C20 pulpit
- Various slate memorials survive
- Mainly from the 1st half of the C17
- To members of the Stafford family
- C16 carved bench ends
- Survive fairly complete to the nave and aisle
- Except at the rear
- Designs include the motifs of the Stafford and Kellaway families.
- Old wagon roofs
- Moulded ribs
- Carved bosses
- Partly restored.
- Chancel roof is plastered
Source: Beatrix Cresswell: Churches in the Deanery of Torrington; White’s Directory 1878
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