Listed building grade 1
50°46’42.3″N 3°13’48.1″W (enter these in your smartphone navigator)
A major East Devon church this, renowned for the quality of its eighteenth century interior and the other goodies inside.
Outside it is a traditional village church of Devon, which means to say it has won God’s lottery and is delicious, especially the west (tower) door which is as about a domestic front door as I have seen on a church.
The tangle of stairs and entrances round the corner is a fine testament to the changes that have gone on in this church over the centuries.
Inside is an ocean of brown box pews, absolutely beautiful and unchanged since the 1700s. Lovely old oak and deep sight lines.
The chancel is a darling too, very simple, very plain, very, very nice with some grand floor tiles and a good ceilure.
At the other end of the nave is a west gallery that seems almost floating over the pews owing to the used of thin cast iron supports instead of thick wood. It works well.
Under the west gallery is a fascinating memorial to John Ousely; a large painted board of King David and a couple of angels with some quotations from some psalms.
The monuments here are no slouch either; a high-quality late 16th century one in the south Chapel and nearby a black and white marble late 17th century confection, very florid.
Some outstanding Flemish stained glass of the 16th or 17th centuries, and some very good Victorian glass as well.
All in all, an outstanding church.
- South aisle
- North porch
- West tower,
- West gallery
- Possibly C14 origins,
- South aisle added by Sir Humphrey Beaumont (d.1572)
- Repaired by the Beaumont family in the 1660s (Hussey)
- C18 refurbishment, including box pews and a west gallery
- Chancel restored in the 1860s
- 1860s restoration under the direction of the Reverend R. Kirwan (Whites Devon (1878)
- Flint rubble
- Tower rendered
- Slate roofs
- 3-stage battlemented
- Large 2 stage projecting stair turret on the south side
- Original entrance to the turret has been cut off by the gallery steps
- Flight of external steps leads through an archway cut in the tower masonry into the bellringers’ chamber
- The west door has a moulded frame
- Very domestic early C19 Gothic west door
- Half-glazed with arched glazing bars
- 3-light untraceried west window
- 2-light louvred belfry openings on west, east and north faces
- Clock on north face with a semi-circular hoodmould
- Buttressed nave with diagonal corner buttresses;
- Untraceried windows (the mullions presumably C18) with different arches flank the north porch
- Diagonal buttresses with set-offs
- 3-light C19 Perpendicular traceried east window
- Double-chamfered frame to the priest’s door on the north side with a C19 rounded arch
- Very renewed 2-light pointed window with uncusped Y tracery
- Diagonal buttresses, 2 massive buttresses with set-offs to the west
- East end of the aisle projecting beyond the chancel
- C17 decorated lead gutter and rainwater head at the east end
- Rainwater head with the Beaumont arms
- Probably dating from the late C17 repairs to the aisle
- Baluster pinnacle on the gable probably co-eval.
- Wide Perpendicular west window, very late style.
- 3-light and traceried easternmost window
- 2 2-light C19 Perpendicular traceried windows
- Westernmost window also untraceried.
- Flight of external steps, complete with C18 iron railings up to the gallery entrance
- 2-leaf C18 panelled door below a 2-light untraceried, presumably C18 window
- Moulded outer doorway with a hoodmould
- Inner doorway, possibly C14, deeply-moulded
- Stone-topped benches and a plastered roof
- A row of probably C18 hat pegs survives
- Plastered walls
- Moulded stone chancel arch
- Double-chamfered tower arch.
- Ceiled wagon roofs with carved bosses and moulded ribs
- The nave is filled with probable late C18 box pews with fielded panels.
- West gallery supported on an iron post and to left and right with a frontal of fielded panels
- C19 or early C20 timber drum pulpit with blind traceried panels and a heavily-carved cornice
- C15 octagonal font with quatrefoils carved on the bowl
- There is a distinct contrast between the archaeologically ‘correct’ chancel and the unrestored nave
- Royal Arms over the door in a nowy-headed frame
- Good C19 floor tiles
- C19 ceiled wagon chancel roof
- Painted ribs and bosses and a C19 ceilure
- Communion rail with painted standards decorated with leaves
- Circa 1860s poppyhead choir stalls
- Slightly different design of stall in the south chapel
- 4-bay arcade
- foliage-carved capitals
- shallow moulded arches
- Corner shafts to the piers
- One bay to the chancel
- Chancel bay is deeper with a panelled soffit to the north arch
- Probable C18 black and white paving
- Filled with monuments of the squires of Combe
- South chancel aisle, north side
- Large black, grey and white marble tomb chest with marble steps
- Set in a round headed recess with a ribbed soffit and a rusticated arch
- Back of the arch has a white marble pediment on massive consoles with armorial bearings in the pediment.
- 2 massive white marble urns on the tomb chest, decorated with wreaths and bands of oak leaves with gilded flames
- Commemorating Thomas Putt, died 1686, the squire who had carried out extensive improvements at Combe (q.v.),
- Attributed to William Kidwell (Esdaile) and William Stanton (Hussey), Hussey suggests that the urns could be by Edward Pearce.
- Large black, grey and white marble tomb chest with marble steps
- Against the east wall
- Monument to Henry Beaumont of Combe, died 1591, erected by his wife
- Alabaster, Purbeck and black marble with composite columns dividing the main tier into 2 recesses
- Beaumont and his wife kneel at prayer desks
- Armorial bearings above, a long verse and armorial bearings below
- On the south wall
- Late C17 wall tablet in a moulded frame commemorating John Fiennes Esq., died 1671, with a Latin verse
- White marble wall tablet,
- Signed ‘Westminster Marble Company, Earl St, South West London’
- Commemorating members of the Putt family, earliest date 1825, latest 1857
- Greek Revival style white marble wall monument to Reymundo Putt, died 1812.
- In the chancel
- Wall monument to Joane Beaumont, died 1667.
- The inscription tablet is surrounded by mantling and framed by Corinthian columns with a skeleton, angel and armorial bearings above
- The inscription includes a verse
- Original colour survives on the monument
- On the north wall a monument to the Reverend Thomas Putt, died 1844, in a crested stone frame
- South wall of the aisle
- Late C19 monument
- Late C18 monument
- On the west wall below gallery
- Painted board commemorating John Ousley, died 1744
- David harping, flanked by cherubs
- 5 massive Putt family hatchments hang in the south aisle
- Dating from the C17, C18 and C19 centuries
- Described in detail by W.H. Wilkin, ‘The Putt Hatchments at Gittisham’, Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries, vol. 19 (1936-37), p. 300-303
- East window probably designed by Heaton, Butler and Bayne, memorial date of 1854
- The north window in the chancel contains C16 and C17 Flemish fragments
- Roundels with early C19 coloured glass and late C19 borders.
- The east window of the aisle contains C17 and C20 armorial bearings
- The south aisle has 2 C19 windows (1870s, memorial dates)
- Commemorating members of the Marker family
An exceptionally interesting church retaining a largely C18 character in the nave and with a number of good monuments.
Unusual in the Diocese in retaining a nave and nave fittings which predate the Gothic Revival and give the interior the slightly haphazard quality of an unrestored church
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