Church of St Michael, Clyst Honiton
Description: Church of St Michael
Date Listed: 30 June 1961
English Heritage Building ID: 352342
OS Grid Reference: SX9894293525
OS Grid Coordinates: 298942, 93525
Latitude/Longitude: 50.7325, -3.4333
Location: 1 Churchside, Clyst Honiton, Devon EX5 2NB
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SX 99 SE CLYST HONITON CLYST HONITON
2/21 Church of St Michael
- (formerly listed as Church of St
30.6.61 Michael and All Angels)
Parish church. C12 font, the basic fabric appears to be C15 or earlier and some C15
detail remains in north aisle but the whole church was thoroughly restored with a
new south chapel and south porch in 1875. Built of local, mostly mudstone, rubble
walling, medieval fabric has red conglomerate ashlar quoins and plinth and C19
extensions have rusticated volcanic ashlar quoins and Hamstone plinth; medieval
Beerstone or volcanic ashlar detail and C19 Hamstone ashlar detail; slate roofs with
some crested ridge tiles.
The nave, chancel and west tower appear to be C15 or earlier but were much rebuilt
and nearly all the detail was replaced in 1875. Unusually the chancel is taller
than the nave. The north aisle however retains some C15 detail. With the 1875
restoration new south porch and south chapel added, the latter parallel to the nave.
Perpendicular style throughout.
Broad and relatively low tower of 3 stages with low set-back buttresses and
embattled parapet. A semicircular stair turret with tiny slit windows and its own
embattled parapet a little above the level of the main parapet projects from the
north side. It is surmounted by a C19 wrought iron weather cock. The belfry has
arch-headed 2-light Perpendicular-style windows, one each on 3 sides and 2 on the
south side. A flat-arched doorway on the west side has a moulded surround with C17-
style stops and contains C19 double plank doors with studded coverstrips and ornate
strap hinges and ferramenta. Like most of the C19 windows it has a moulded hood
with projecting square labels, apparently intended for carving in situ but was never
executed. A relieving arch above follows a 2-centred arch, probably for the earlier
C15 west doorway. The window above is a C19 4-light window with Perpendicular
tracery and the dripcourse carried over as a hood. Above that a C19 painted iron
clock face in a moulded Hamstone frame. On the south side of the tower is a small
2-light Perpendicular-style window in the lower stage and a C15 volcanic stone
trefoil-headed lancet with hoodmould to the ringing loft.
The south side of the nave has a broad C19 4-light Perpendicular window. To right
of it projects the added porch with gabled end and Hamstone coping surmounted by a
fleuree cross. The outer arch has an ovolo-moulded surround and contains softwood
double plank doors with ornate strap hinges. The south chapel projects a little
further forward and has steep gabled ends with coping and apex crosses. There is a
narrow Hamstone priests door on the south side, and a 3-light window on the south
side and another on the east end. The chancel has similar C19 gable coping and apex
cross and flanking corner buttresses. There is another 3-light Perpendicular window
on the south side and a tall 3-light window on the east end. On the north side of
the chancel is a small window made into a squint by the junction of the north aisle.
It is 2 lights, of Beerstone and simple Early Decorated style. It may be original
and rediscovered during the C19 restoration but appears very well-preserved if so.
The north aisle is C15 with C19 coping and apex crosses. The east end has an
original Beerstone 3-light Perpendicular window with moulded hood. The north side
has 3 C19 Hamstone 2-light Perpendicular windows tending towards right (west) end.
Interior: porch has a C19 roof and contemporary flagged and tiled floor. The south
doorway may be C15; a volcanic ashlar 2-centred arch with chamfered surround and
hoodmould. It contains a C19 door.
The interior of the church itself is largely the result of the 1875 restoration.
All the roofs date from that time. The nave and chancel lie under a continuous 6-bay
roof comprising heavy arch-braced trusses springing from large timber corbels. The
corbels in the chancel are at a slightly higher level. The purlins are moulded and
the ceiling is pine-planked as a barrel vault. There is a similar 2-bay roof in the
south chapel and 4-bay roof to the north aisle. Tall C15 tower arch with round-
headed double arch ring which dies into the responds although an impost shows inside
the tower on the north side. Inside the tower the ringing floor is C19 but the
stair doorway is original C15; built of red conglomerate stone and volcanic stone it
has a 2-centred head and contains an ancient plank door hung on strap hinges. C15
Beerstone arcade to the north aisle. It is 4 bays with one overlapping the chancel.
The piers are moulded (Pevsner's Type B) with plain caps to the shafts only. The
C19 Beerstone 2-bay arcade to the south chapel has low moulded piers with moulded
caps. All the windows have C19 Beerstone rear inner arches and reveals. The floor
is made up of patterns of polychrome tiles and flagstones. The granite flag under
the lectern is a fragment of an illegible C17 gravestone.
The chancel has a Beerstone reredos carved in Gothic style, and comprising a central
3-bay blind arcade with cusped ogee arches, crockets and finials, and in which the
centre panel is plain as a background for the altar cross and flanked by painted
portraits of St Gabriel and St Michael and flanked again by painted commandment
boards. The oak altar is Victorian but appears to incorporate C17 heavy turned
balusters, possibly from the former altar rails. The present altar rail is oak on
oak standards, Victorian Gothic stalls, low chancel screen, pulpit and tower screen.
Victorian eagle lectern and plain pine benches. Contemporary brass chandelier in
C12 late Norman granite font. The square bowl is supported on a central column and
4 smaller shafts on the corners with moulded caps and bases. It sits on a Victorian
plinth. The edges of the bowl cant forward slightly towards the top and the
ornament varies each side including simple chevrons, scallops and stylised foliage;
some may be secondary. It has a C19 lid.
Monuments: the oldest and finest monuments have been reset together in the north
aisle. Good Beerstone table tomb in memory of John Elquier (d.1575). The niche has
a low segmental arch over with a broad ovolo-moulded surround enriched with egg and
dart and with carved foliate spandrels, crenelated head, flanking fluted Ionic
pilasters surmounted by flaming vases and the shelf supported on shaped consoles.
The inside of the niche has facetted panels and in the centre of the back is a
carved heraldic achievement. The shelf is inscribed 'Here lieth John Paul Elquier
who ended this liffe the third of Maye 1575' to which has been added 'and his wiffe
Jenfr' (sic). Above this is a good but undated C17 marble plaque in memory of
Edward Yarde with a rhyming elegy: it is set in an architectural frame with flanking
pilasters enriched with carved symbols such as a skull, book, scythe, hourglass,
etc., with ribbons and flanked by cherubs on their sides as wings, an open pediment
above containing an heraldic achievement and flanked by skulls with wings and
hourglasses, and below the shelf heraldic achievements flank a bas relief carving of
a shrouded corpse and the apron below contains a cherub. Immediately to left of
these a carved slate plaque in memory of John Short (d. 1657) with a frame of
stylised interlaced foliage which contains the same heraldic achievement four times.
The rest of the monuments are C19. The north aisle has the white marble memorial to
Harriet Collyns (d.1868), with a Gothic-style frame; a shaped white marble plaque on
black ground in memory of Abraham Smith (d.1821) and those of his family who died
1812-79; a Gothic-style brass plaque in memory of Frederick le Mesurier (d.1868) and
family; a white marble sarcophagus-shaped plaque in memory of John Franklin (d.1831)
and family; and in the south chapel a white marble plaque with moulded cornice in
memory of Barbara Force (d.1832) and husband William (d.1838). There are also some
loose fragments from demolished C17 monuments; a marble plaque in memory of Hugh
Vaughan (d.1631) in the north aisle and in the south chapel an heraldic achievement
and 2 carved putti.
Victorian stained glass in the chancel and early C20 stained glass in nave and
Although much of the basic fabric appears to be medieval the church is essentially
the result of a thorough and consistent restoration of 1875, an attractive and
coherent scheme. Only the font, the aisle arcade and one of the north aisle windows
are pre-1875 detail.
Listing NGR: SX9894293525
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.