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Description: Church of St Peter
Date Listed: 9 February 1961
English Heritage Building ID: 100979
OS Grid Reference: SX8294855547
OS Grid Coordinates: 282948, 55547
Latitude/Longitude: 50.3881, -3.6479
Explore more of the area around Cornworthy, Devon at Explore Britain.
6/68 Church of St Peter
Parish church. C15, (font is C12) circa early C17 south porch, refitted in
late C18 and circa 1835; and other work of later C19.
Slate rubble with slate dressings, the hoodmoulds are of granite and the
west doorway of the tower is red sandstone. Slate roof; the nave, chancel
and north and south aisles have been reroofed under a single span with a
gabled east end with slate coping and simple Latin cross at the apex.
Plan: Nave and chancel in one, west tower, 5-bay north and south aisles,
porch at the west end of the south side of the south aisle; vestry formed
in the east end of the north aisle which continues up to the east end of
All that remains of the early church is the C12 font. The existing church
is C15. The aisles might have been built at different periods in the C15
and the south porch is probably an early C17 addition. According to the
Exeter Faculty Books the Church was entirely refitted in 1788 (Hoskins) but
the box pews and window tracery appear to be C19 and Cresswell suggests
that there was a restoration in circa 1835 when the box pews gallery and
windows were more likely to have been installed. White's Directory of 1878
states that "the church was recently cleaned and beautified throughout at a
cost of upwards of £400", but it seems to have largely escaped Victorian
Exterior: Moulded slate wall plates and chamfered slate plinth moulding.
The north aisle has a 6-bay north elevation, the left hand (east) bay is
blind, the others have 2-centred arch windows with granite hoodmoulds,
their tracery replaced with slender wooden intersecting tracery of circa
1835; buttresses with weathered set-offs between the windows, the end
buttresses are diagonal. The south elevation of the south aisle is similar
except that bay-5 towards the east end has a large polygonal rood stair
turret and bay-l has a gable-ended porch, its circa early C17 round arch
dressed slate doorway with a broad ovolo moulding is on the west die. The
inner doorway has a moulded granite round arch with quatrefoils and
mouchettes in the spandrels and convex stops, the hoodmould is missing but
there is a corbel above for an image. The round-head flush-panel door is
early C19. The east end window of the south aisle was blocked in circa
1611 when the Harris monument was built in a projection on the south wall
of the chancel in the angle with the south aisle.
The east end window of the chancel has a wide 4-centred arch window, its
granite hoodmould has quatrefoils in the stops; the early C19 replacement
tracery has been replaced again in the C20 with wooden intersecting
tracery. The east end has diagonal buttresses on the corners and another
buttress between the chancel and north aisle, all with weathered set-offs.
Tall 3-stage west tower with set-back buttresses with set-offs and an
embattled parapet with moulded coping; below the parapet a moulded cornice;
the stages also have weathered string courses. The string courses and
cornice continue around the polygonal stair turret at the centre of the
south side; the turret rises above the tower and has an embattled parapet
and window slits. The belfry has a single-light lancet to the left (east)
of the stair turret, but the other sides have 2-light bell-openings with
straight hoodmoulds, 3-centred arch lights and slate louvres. The middle
stage has a clock face on the west side. The bottom stage has a chamfered
2-centred arch red sandstone west doorway with pyramid stops; the door is
C20, and a 3-light 2-centred arch window above, its slender intersecting
tracery is a C19 replacement.
Interior: The porch entered from the west side has a ceiled circa early
C17 wagon roof with moulded ribs; around the inside of the porch a slate
bench, the walls are limewashed.
The internal wall of the church are plastered and the exposed Beerstone
rear-arches are hollow chamfered. The floors are quarry tiled and concrete
paved. The nave, chancel and aisle roofs are ceiled but may have early
roof structures concealed.
The 5 -bay north and south arcades have granite (except for the responds
which are Beerstone) monolith A-type piers, moulded Beerstone 4 centred
arches and moulded Beerstone capitals, some with foliage carving on the
south side and flowers on the north side. The 2 western most arches on the
south side and the easternmost arches and their capitals are of granite.
The piers have been mutilated to take the rood screen and pulpit. The tall
tower arch has an unmoulded 2-centred arch with chamfered imports. There
is a chamfered 2-centred arch piscina in the south wall of the chancel
south chapel and unmoulded hagioscopes at the east ends of the arcades in
C15 rood screen the full width of the church, the canopy is missing but it
is otherwise largely intact and has some remains of colour including some
foliage decorations in the traceried wainscot. The wainscots of the
parclose screens are concealed or replaced by early to mid C19 panelling.
Good early C18 octagonal pulpit from Ashprington church with fielded panels
and pilasters on the corners; the stem has been rebuilt, but the fine
sounding board, original to the church, has a carved cornice, ogee dome
with a gilded trumpeting angel finial. The pulpit has a brass candelabra
and there is a fine C18 brass candelabra in the nave.
Circa 1835 panelled box pews in the nave and aisles; at the west end of the
pews there are 4 large round corner ports with fluted pinnacles which
probably formerly supported the gallery which has been removed. Dado
panelling on the aisle walls is continued in the recess under the windows
Good C12 red sandstone font has a short circular stem with a moulded base
and hemispherical bowl carved with a frieze of palmettos and a narrower
frieze above of saltire crosses. The altar is late C20 and there is no
Stained Glass: Mid C19 coloured glass in the margins of the north and
south windows and mid C19 patterned stained glass in the west window. The
east window has clear glass.
Monuments: large early C17 monument to Sir Thomas Harris in recess on
south side of chancel dated 1611, beerstone, the chest has large brackets
with 2 kneeling figures, above the chest 2 recumbent effigies in
contemporary costume and Corinthian columns supporting an entablature with
a strapwork frieze, modillion cornice and a pediment with volutes and
pilaster flanking a cartouche with an inscription. Slate monument to the
right to Lucy Sperway, died 1687 and another to Frances Newton, died 1744.
On the south wall of the chancel a slate and marble monument to Thomas
Trist died 1742 and a Gothic monument to John F P Phillips died 1865. At
the east end of the north aisle a monument to Rickman died 1685?, a wreath
around the inscription, pilasters and a round pediment with arcs and a
skull below. In the chancel south chapel a large marble wall monument to
John Seale, died 1777, with fluted Corinthian columns and was above, signed
by W. Pinder of London. On the north wall of the north aisle an alabaster
First World War memorial.
Bells: The Church Good Commissioners reported 3 bells in the tower. The
six existing bells were cast in 1781 by John Christopher Pennington. The
interior of the tower was not inspected, but it is said to contain a late
C18 clock (Church Guide).
Listing NGR: SX8294855546
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.