Listed building grade 2
50°42’40.0″N 4°18’00.8″W (enter these in your smartphone navigator)
This is a simple and peaceful early Victorian church hidden away in lush West Devon. The scenery alone will make a trip a joy.
A worthwhile visit not just because it is so charming, but also it is an early example of rural change. The Rev Cann, who built this, organised a free school for all the local children, and brought a reinvigorated Christianity to the parish.
The church itself? Check out the chancel area, installed in the early twentieth century, with some marvellous stained glass and a wooden altar that so reflects its time. A beautiful bit of coherent design.
The Norman font as well, the porch door, the benches…all these are little joys…
The interior space works for me too, white and light, with its clear lancet windows, such a marvel to sit in and breathe…
The exterior is built from goodly coloured local stone, and is just so well proportioned. The bellcote, the windows, lovely touches those and that is before we love the well-kept churchyard.
The whole thing is a seeming homage to the very original church, likely a Celtic or Saxon chapel for travellers, and we being travellers…well, it is made for you and I.
- South porch
- West bell turret
- Built 1851 to replace an earlier church
- Early C20 internal alterations to the chancel
- Stone rubble
- Freestone dressings
- Rusticated quoins
- Slate roof
- Coped, gabled
- Rises from the ground at the west end in a buttress-like feature with set-offs
- A pair of lancets
- 5 lancets to the north
- 4 to the south
- Triple lancet east window
- Single lancets to the north and south
- Gabled, coped
- Chamfered 2-centred arched outer and inner doorways
- Stepped up and refurbished in the early C20
- Simple chamfered chancel arch
- C20 timber altar and reredos
- Plastered walls
- Timber pulpit
- Pierced trefoil-headed panels
- Complete set of 1851 benches
- Bench ends rectangular with recessed panels
- Scissor-braced trusses
- Plank door with large false strap hinges
- C12 probably
- Simple bowl on a stem
- Recut cable moulding
- Good 1920s windows in the chancel
- Crucifixion scene in the East Window
- St Brigid and St George in the Lancet windows
- All by George Cooper Abbs
The church rebuilding was partly financed by the Reverend P Cann for whom the Rectory was built in 1845 (Whites). Although in the county of Devon Virginstowe Church is in the Diocese of Truro.
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