Listed building grade 2
51°11’14.7″N 3°54’20.2″W (enter these in your smartphone navigator)
A marvellous Victorian church designed in 1878 by CW Oliver of Barnstaple, Parracombe Christ Church suffers from being younger sibling to the famous and much older Parracombe St Petrock’s. Most folk come to see the older church, but this one, built to replace it, is so worth a visit as well. Why not do both?
The exterior is on the whimsical side of Neo-Gothic, especially the tower with its little fake lookouts, and all the better for it. Alongside this is its position, on a steep hillside overlooking a delightful valley.
Inside it is a beauty of pale colours and off white limestone. The colouring alone is worth a visit.
Then there is the architecture; it is very good. Very. Understated but elegant, with a lot of appealing little touches, like the altar back, the pulpit and the columns and capitals. There is nothing that shouts out ‘Fantastic’ but when seen all together it is so extremely engaging.
Then there is the stained glass, and a better small collection you will be hard pressed to find in the area. Windows by WF Dixon and AL & CE Moore of London are not only in tip top condition but fascinating examples of Victorian work.
The church is in grand condition too, and has an enchanting atmosphere. Go have look for yourself?
- West tower
- North aisle
- South porch
- On a new site
- By CW Oliver of Barnstaple
- 2013 conservation repair work
- By Jonathan Rhind Architects
- Snecked stone rubble
- Ashlar dressings
- Slate roof with crested ridge tiles
- Apex crosses to the gable ends
- 3 stages.
- Set-back buttresses and embattled parapet
- corner pinnacles
- Octagonal bases of alternating gabled round-arched and straight-headed niches
- Reducing to elongated cone capping terminating in fleur-de-lys finials.
- Large pointed-arched bell-openings of 2 distinct lights
- Louvres on each face except north.
- Clock faces in segmental arched surrounds
- South and west side.
- West window of 3 cusped headed lights
- Quatrefoil traceried head.
- Short gabled stair turret on north side
- Stepped triple lancet window to gable
- Two lancets to lower stage
- 2 Decorated-style windows of 2 lights each
- Single light window south side
- Continuous ashlar sill band stepped up below the chancel window.
- Pointed-arched east window of 3
- Cusped headed lights
- Decorated-style tracery
- Corbelled hoodmould and ashlar band at the springing level
- Triple gable-ended transepts
- Pointed-arched 2 light windows
- Plate tracery
- Ashlar band at the springing level
- Gabled slate roof with crested ridge tiles.
- Moulded surround to 2-centred arched doorway
- Engaged columns supporting inner arch.
- Wrought iron lamp bracket to head of arch.
- 2-light lancet to each side wall of porch
- Segmental pointed inner arches.
- Collar rafter roof.
- Ogee-chamfered surround terminating in broach steps
- To pointed-arched inner doorway.
- Plank door with fleur-de-lys strap-hinges
- Patterned tiled floor to nave
- C19 nave and chancel furniture.
- Semi-circular drum stone pulpit
- Fronted with 7 deep trefoil-headed blind niches.
- Octagonal bowl to font
- Blind tracery of 2 pointed arched panels to each facet
- On cylindical stem with 4 engaged colonnettes.
- North arcade of 3 bays
- Piers of semi-circular half-shafts with moulded capitals.
- Segmental pointed tower arch
- Pointed chancel arch with engaged colonettes
- Moulded arch-braced roof to chancel and nave
- Heavy moulded purlin
- Stepped pointed-arched blind traceried panels above the collar to the east gable end truss.
- Collar rafter roofs to north aisle
- Short shaped timber wall posts
- Corbels to the valleys
- Stone carving by Hems of Exeter
- Including reredos of triple arches springing from short marble colonettes
- Device repeated in dividing the shoulder-headed recesses of the double sedilia
- Cusped-headed piscina on north wall.
- Maw tiles to chancel
- East window by WF Dixon, in memory of Elizabeth Pyke.
- Chancel south window to Richard Middleton (d. 1872).
- Nave, south side, eastern window to Rev. Leakey, rector 1870 – 1881 and responsible for restoration
- By AL & CE Moore of London
- Opposite, to north aisle to Rev. William Thompson and wife
- By AL & CE Moore of London
A splendid late-Victorian church, light and somewhat whimsical, well worth an hour or two of your time. Even if nothing else, the stained glass is worth a good amount of time.
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