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Description: Church of St Leonard
Date Listed: 9 February 1961
English Heritage Building ID: 101239
OS Grid Reference: SX7773353204
OS Grid Coordinates: 277733, 53204
Latitude/Longitude: 50.3660, -3.7205
There is also a scheduled monument, Churchyard Cross, 5m South of the Porch of St Leonard's Church, at the same location as this building or very close to it. This may be related in some way or possibly a different name for the same structure.
Explore more of the area around Halwell and Moreleigh, Devon at Explore Britain.
9/327 Church of St Leonard
Parish church. Circa late C15 with some late C13 or early C14 reused
material; restored and reroofed in 1896.
Dressed local slate rubble. The windows are mainly volcanic stone. Slate
roofs with gabled ends, the north aisle shorter than the nave and chancel
which are under one roof.
Plan and development: Although Halwell was one of the four burghs of Devon
in the C10 it was surplanted by Totnes within a century and the returns of
1288 did not mention a church at Halwell. The church described in 1536
must be the existing late C15 building. It comprises a nave, chancel,
north aisle of 5 bays, west tower and north porch. The rood screen was
removed in 1810. In the late C19 a small vestry was added on the north
side of the chancel in the angle with the north aisle. In 1897 the church
was restored when the whole building was reroofed. This appears to have
involved the rebuilding of the south wall of the nave, reusing the C15
windows. The south porch is also C19 and has a reset medieval out
doorframe similar to that of the west doorway of the tower. These
doorframes and the west window of the tower which has intersecting tracery
must date from circa late C13 or C14. Therefore a church may have been
built here soon after the 1288 returns or these features may be reused
from another church such as Harberton church (qv) to which Halwell was
attached before it became an independant ecclesiastical parish at the
beginning of the C19.
Exterior: Around the whole church including the west tower there is a
dressed slate plinth which is not visible at the east end where it may be
buried under the higher ground level. The south wall of the nave seems to
have been rebuilt in C19 and the 4 large C15 4-ligh perpendicular windows
are reset; they have panel tracery, 2-centred almost round arches with
hood moulds, the easternmost (chancel) window seems to be a C16
replacement with round-headed lights in contrast to the ogee lights of
the other windows. Between the windows buttresses with set-offs. A
priest's doorway on the south side into the chancel with a moulded 4-
centred arch and label. the south doorway has a chamfered 2-centred arch
and one pyramid stop in Beerstone and an old studded oak plank door. The
gabled south porch is late C19 but the moulded (double ogee) 2-centred arch
doorway with cushion stops in red sandstone is medieval; reset in the
gable above is an C18 oval shaped slate sundial.
The Perpendicular style 3-light east window is probably a C19 replacement.
On the east end of the chancel there are diagonal buttresses with set-
The north aisle is shorter than the nave and chancel, it has buttresses
with set offs which are diagonally set on the corners and which alternate
with 5 C15 3-light Perpendicular windows similar to those on the south
side of the nave; between the 2 easternmost windows a 3-sided rood stair
turret with moulded granite battlements. The east and west end windows of
the north aisle are similar to the north windows. The north window of the
chancel has a moulded depressed 2-centred arch and 1 mullion which is a
later insertion. In the angle of the chancel and north aisle a small
C19 vestry with a straight-headed window with 3 cusped lights.
Tall 3 stage west tower with string courses of the stages set-back
buttresses with set offs and moulded coping to the battlements. Straight
headed belfry windows with 2 cusped lights and hoodmoulds on 3 sides of
the tower; on the south side similar 1-light belfry windows on either side
of the 5-sided stair turret which has very small window slits and rises
above the main tower with small battlements. There is a small 3-light
window on the east side lighting the second stage. The 3-light west
window lighting the bell-ringers' stage has intersecting tracery and the
west doorway below has a 2-centred arch with double ogee mouldings and
cushion stops similar to the reset porch doorway but in granite.
Interior: The floors are mainly slate. The walls are entirely plastered.
The north wall may have early plaster. The hollow chamfered stone rear-
arches are exposed. The nave, chancel and aisle roofs were replaced in
1897; they are collar rafter structures with moulded transverse ribs, the
roof over the east end of the chancel has longitudinal rubs as well and
carved bosses at the intersections and shields on the wall plates.
The 5-bay north arcade has almost round 2-centred moulded arches and
monolithic granite piers of Pevsner A-type with moulded capitals and
bases. Plain unmoulded tall 2-centred tower arch with chamfered imposts.
Inside the tower the stair turret doorway has a double ogee moulded 2-
centred arch. Chamfered 3-centred arch doorway to rood stair turret.
The north eastern window tracery has graffiti date of 1756.
Furnishings: The box pews and choir stalls are circa mid C19, but reuse
fielded panelling from earlier powers of late C18 or early C19. The
tower screen is late C19. The square wooden pulpit is late C19 and has
cusped panels. Early C20 carved oak altar and freestone reredos with
cusped ogees and C20 altar rail. The plain octagonal granite font is C20
or late C19; the wooden ogee-domed front cover is c18. The organ is late
C19 and has painted pipes and a keyboard from the USA. The hatchment on
the north wall of the aisle appears to be C20.
The 4 bell of 1553 were recast as 6 bells in 1763 by Pennington; the 4th
bell was recast again in 1823 by Hambling of Blackawton.
Monuments: Slate mural tablet in chancel to John Elford of Longstone who
was a decendant of Thomas Elford, Sheriff of Cornwall 1301. A mural
monument to John Edmonds of Ashprington died 1754 and his wife Elizabeth
died 1764, an oval slate cartouche without a surround and with an angel
head below the inscription and crudely carved head above, situated on
the north wall of the aisle. The other monuments on the north wall are
C19 classical marble plaques. On the south wall of the nave a marble
plaque to Nicholas Friend died 1741. There is a ledger stone between the
nave and chancel dated 1625.
Reference: B F Cresswell, Notes on Devon Churches, Deanery of Totnes.
Listing NGR: SX7773153200
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.