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Description: Church of St David
Date Listed: 9 February 1961
English Heritage Building ID: 100927
OS Grid Reference: SX8185557151
OS Grid Coordinates: 281855, 57151
Latitude/Longitude: 50.4023, -3.6638
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SX85Nll Church of St David
Parish Church. C12 font. C13 or C14 west tower; remainder rebuilt in Cl5;
restored in 1845, 1865 and 1886. Local stone rubble with red sandstone
dressings and C19 Bathstone windows. Slate roof over nave and chancel; lead
flats over the aisles.
Plan and Development: All that remains of the Norman church is the C12 font
and fragment of a Norman mask reused on the inside of the porch. The C13 or
C14 west tower is the earliest part of the church. The rest of the church was
entirely rebuilt in the C15 when a new nave was built with an integral
chancel, 4-bay north and south aisles and a 2-storey porch. In 1845 the
church was restored and the vestry on the north side of the chancel was
probably added at this time. In 1865 chancel improvements were made by Thomas
Lidstone of Dartmouth who may have built the large vestry on the south side
of the chancel unless it was part of the restoration of 1886 when the church
was reseated. The reroofing was probably part of the 1886 restoration and
probably also the Perpendicular style refenestration.
Exterior: Tall unbuttressed west tower in 4 diminishing stages, the top stage
has an embattled parapet and small single - light bell openings what arched
heads and slate louvres. The third stage has a similar but flat-headed
louvred opening on the north side only and the second stage has similar
opening on the east side partly concealed by the nave roof and another small
granite framed opening on the west side and a C15 window above in volcanic
stone of 3-lights with cusped Perpendicular tracery. The large polygonal
stair turret on the north east corner of the tower rises to the third stage
only and has a crude conical stone roof and square-headed window slits. A
large clock face on the south side of the third stage has Roman numerals and
blocks a window light.
The 4-bay north and south aisles are the same with tall sandstone parapets
with moulded battlements and thin buttresses with set-offs around which the
plinth continues. The north aisle has a polygonal stair turret towards the
east end with battlements, moulded string and a quatrefoil light. All the
aisle windows are C19 Perpendicular style 4-light windows except for the east
and west end windows which are of 3 lights and the window over the blocked
north doorway also 3 lights but with a higher sill level.
The chancel has a similar 3-light south window but-the north window is
blocked. The large late C19 5-light east window has Perpendicular style
tracery and a crenellated transom. On the north side of the chancel a circa
mid C19 small low vestry with buttresses south set-offs and a brick 2-centred
arch doorway in the gable end. On the south side of the chancel in the angle
with the south aisle a larger later C19 vestry with battlements like the
aisles and a Tudor style doorway and 3-light window. On the north side of the
lower in the angle with the north aisle a C19 lean-to sexton's outshut.
The 2-storey south porch is one bay from the west end of the south aisle; it
has a similar embattled parapet but higher than that of the aisle. The floor
to the porch chambers has been removed but the polygonal stair turret in the
east angle remains and has battlements and a quatrefoil light. The chamfered
rounded arch porch doorway has pyramid stops. The chamfered 2-centred arch
winger doorway also has pyramid stops; the door is late C19.
Interior: Except for the inside of the tower the interior walls are all
plastered. The hallow-chamfered Beerstone rear-arches are exposed.
The Beerstone 4-bay north and south aisles have Pevsner type B piers with 4
shafts and wave mouldings between, moulded bases and carved capitals only over
the shafts, so that the wave moulding continues into the 2-centred arches; all
the shaft capitals are carved with foliage except for the west piers which
have bell-shaped capitals; the inner shafts on the east piers hive been
replaced with polished Devon marble shafts. The doorway to the porch chamber
has a chamfered 2-centred arch and pyramid stops; the rood stair doorway in
the north aisle has a double cyma moulding; both doors are late C19.
The tall tower arch has a crude unmoulded 2-centred arch without imposts and
the doorway to the tower stair turret is on the nave side of the arch; it has
a simple 2-centred arch; the doorway from the stair turret to the ringing
chamber has a chamfered 2-centred arch with pyramid stops.
The floors of the church were tiled in the late C19.
The continuous waggon roof over the nave and chancel appears to be a late C19
replacement; it has moulded ribs and carved boises. The flat aisle roofs are
The small Cl5 piscina on the south side of the chancel has a cusped ogee arch.
There is also a Cl5 cusped ogee piscina in the east end wall of the north
chancel chapel, probably the chantry of Thomas Coterell.
Furnishings: Late C19 benches have carved ends. The chair stalls are circa
1900. Early C20 altar rail and the traceried panelling in the sanctuary
incorporates a carved wooden double sedilia on the north side with elaborate
canopies and carved angels on the arms and a richly carved wooden reredos with
a canopy over a crucifixion figures of the Apostles and pinnacles above. A
circa early C20 altar table on marble base.
The rood screen although mentioned in a report in 1848 was not mentioned by
Davidson. Milles (1755-70) mentions an old rood loft with arms of the Yard
family.There are now only parclose screens which are early C20 by Herbert
Richly carved octagonal pipit of 1909 in C15 style with nodding ogee canopies
over figures of the Apostles and the carved oak eagle lantern is also of 1909
are both by Herbert Read.
According to Cresswell there were Royal Arms over the tower arch which was
once crossed by a gallery - neither survive.
Fine C12 sandstone font with a large round bowl with a carved frieze of
palmettos, cable and roll mouldings above and a moulded sandstone stem and
Monuments: The oldest memorial is a small brass next to the south doorway to
Wylliam Sumaster died 1589, with inscription and 2 brass shields above reset
upside-down. A wall monument on north wall of chancel with Corinthian
columns, to Susanna Marshall died 1709. Another wall monument on south side
of chancel with white marble female figure an an urn in relief,unsigned, to
Jane Pownall died 1770. At the east end of the south aisle a wall monument
to Henry Blockhaller of Sharpham died 1684, with Corinthian columns and arms
above. A wall monument to John Kellandof Painsford, died 1679 and his wife
Susanna died 1648, situated in the north aisle a large cartouche in marble
with an epitaph by John Weston of Exeter and date 1692; the top is missing.
Above the tower arch an C18 wall monument with a broken pediment.
Stained Glass: East window by Beer of Exeter. The east window on the south
side of the south aisle has patterned glass. Bells: One of the peal of 5
bells which were removed in 1975 has been rehung; it was cast in 1790 at
Whitechapel and inscribed:- Thomas Mears, late Lester, Pack and Chapman -
Source: B.F. Cresswell, Notes on Devon churches, Deanery of Totnes (1904
Listing NGR: SX8185557150
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.