Listed building grade 2*
Church of St Sabinus
51°10’21.7″N 4°12’08.1″W (enter these in your smartphone navigator)
Woolacombe Church is a slow burning joy situated in its lively North Devon seaside resort.
It was designed by the famous Arts and Crafts architect W D Caröe, fresh off his triumph of St David’s Church in Exeter, and it is a goodly design.
Using local red stone, it homages the local vernacular so well, having aspects of an agricultural building or a manor house; yet, the Arts & Crafts is there too, and it is just unique. Beautifully so.
There are enchanting little details too, like the undercroft door or the south tower.
Inside it has a beautiful sea-green roof and huge space, leading to a fine chancel screen and sanctuary. The arcades are real good and chunky.
The altar back is delicious, a marvellous mid 20th century painting of the Annunciation.
One glorious treasure of this church is its collection of 20th century stained glass, from a stunning WWI memorial window by Kempe, to beauties by Nicholson Studios, Wippells of Exeter, Dom Charles Norris and more. So worth a visit alone.
Very much a church of its time, futuristic in its day and good enough to last a thousand years.
- Nave and chancel both with narrow aisles
- Flat-roofed to north
- Asymmetrical placed transeptal squat tower
- Saddleback roof
- Gabled to south side.
- Single-storey with rooms in undercroft at west end
- North aisle completed 1965
- By Caröe
- Squared sandstone rubble
- Stone dressings
- Delabole slate roofs
- Two-light bell-opening to sides
- Three-light bell-opening to south front
- Doorway to east side
- Buttresses with weatherings flank window openings
- Most of which have gentle ogee-arched lights
- North and south walls have three four-light windows
- Two single light windows at west end of south side
- That to left is stair light to basement steps
- In angle of west end of south aisle
- And western extension of nave with separate hipped slate roof
- That to right above projecting porch
- Gabled slate roof with single light window to front
- Blocked side door
- West window of three lights
- Stepped with relieving arch
- Two single-light windows to north side
- Pointed arched doorway to east
- Cavetto-moulded surround
- Pyramid stops
- Framed and ledged inner door
- Ogee-style arch to doorway
- South side
- Two-light window
- Two quatrefoil windows
- Light window to right
- Additional three-light window to north side at east end
- Above clerestory gabled window of four lights
- Cusped heads
- Planted timber framing
- Five-light east window
- Carved stone panel inset above
- Elaborate wooden chancel screen
- Ogee-headed to centre
- Carved coving and rood.
- Octagonal font 1916
- Fleuron ornamentation
- Pulpit 1914
- Wide nave with narrow aisles
- Four-centred arched arcades
- Piers of square section
- Hollow chamfers
- Pyramid stops
- Four bays to each side
- West end bay is blind to north side
- Additional short bay at west end of south side
- Fine roof structure to chancel and nave
- Waggon roof to chancel
- Carved corbel bosses at east end
- Elaborate chancel/nave truss
- Ten other arch-braced trusses to nave
- Moulded soffits
- Each intermediate truss with corbelled wall-posts
- Three bay arcades
- Oak posts of square section stained green
- Supporting segmental arches
- Sedilia with quatrefoil windows
- Two seats
- Piscina to left
- Scalloped base
- Tower door at east end of aisle
- Square-headed with dropped keystones
- A wonderful collection of 20th century stained glass by, amongst others
- Nicholson Studios
- Kempe Studios
- Dom Chalres Norris
- Wippells of Exeter
Plaque on buttress below and to right of four-light basement window recording foundation stone laid in 1910 by Lady Chichester.
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