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Description: Church of St Mary the Virgin
Date Listed: 19 July 1950
English Heritage Building ID: 376491
OS Grid Reference: SS7206249436
OS Grid Coordinates: 272062, 149436
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2297, -3.8337
Explore more of the area around Lynton and Lynmouth, Devon at Explore Britain.
LYNTON AND LYNMOUTH
SS7149 CHURCH HILL, Lynton
858-1/4/12 (North side)
19/07/50 Church of St Mary the Virgin
Anglican parish church. C13 tower, remains of 1741 rebuilding
in S aisle, main reconstruction 1891-1905 by Sedding and
Wilson. Rubble with ashlar dressings, including some Ham
stone; slate roofs.
PLAN: 5-bay nave, extended to the W, with wide N and S aisles,
chancel with chapel to N and organ chamber to S, plus vestry,
S porch, SW tower, N porch; although the late C19 rebuilding
is broadly medieval in form, there is much good Art Nouveau
detailing, including some combined with neo-Norman features.
EXTERIOR: W front has the N aisle gable set back from the
lower N porch, and nave brought forward to a wide gable over a
large 7-light Perpendicular window with moulded drip, all in
To the right is the 2-stage plain rubble square tower with
crenellated parapet and mid string, with C19 W door in C14
moulded arch and drip to worn head stops under a 2-light C19
Perpendicular window. Above the string is a further 2-light
window, and a clock face has the parapet string raised over
its head. On the S front the tower has a small blocked light
above the mid string, and a clock face as to the W. The E of
the tower has a small light to the ringing chamber, and the N
front a 2-light opening at parapet level.
Immediately attached to the tower, in the same plane, is the
rendered wall of the S aisle, with a 2-light window in Ham
stone, and a projecting gabled porch with a wide, flat
4-centred arch to a chamfer and broad wave mould, stopped at
half-height of the jambs to a single broad chamfer; sundial
with incised sun motif. A pair of plank doors is faced with
gates with scrolled top-rail and mullioned open panel above
double panels; these gates are in detail similar to those to
the S and W in the churchyard wall (qqv). Above the doorway is
an image corbel.
To right are four 2-light windows, and a flush square panel
inscribed: 'The walls of this church were rebuilt in ye year
of 1741: John Knight, Richard Vellacott, Church Wardens'. Far
right a projecting gabled vestry in slate-stone, with plank
door to shaped head, facing W. S wall of vestry has a small
lancet and a 2-light plate tracery plus quatrefoil.
The 3-gabled E end has some unusual detail combining
neo-Norman with Art Nouveau, principally in Ham stone. The
first gable has 1- above 2- above 3-light with billet and
chevron enrichment; the central gable has a complex 1- above
1:2:1- above 2:3:2-light neo-Norman arched series of windows
with a raised inscription to the arches, and to the lowest
cill: 'O Ye Servants of The Lord, Praise Him and magnify Him
for ever'. Above is a cross incised in the upper part of the
gable, and a terminal stone cross. The right-hand gable has a
triple stepped lancet with single or paired shafts with
annulets. At this end of the church are 2 Art Nouveau
The N side has 8 buttresses to 2 offsets and plinth. Bay one
has 2 lancets, and the next a single lancet to block stops,
and a door. Bays 3-7 have 4-light windows with cusps to square
or circular stops. The lower gabled porch, with diagonal
buttress to the right, has a pointed doorway with casement and
wave mould, and a drip course to heavy unworked square stops,
under a crenellated parapet with a range of blank panels, and
terminal cross, with a central Madonna with defaced face, on a
bracket. The E side has a stone bench within, and an arched
recess. The inner pair of doors has a wave mould arch and a
pair of framed plank doors. On the E wall is a foundation
stone, laid by the Archdeacon of Barnstaple, 1891.
INTERIOR: barrel roofs, with celure over chancel, Ham stone
arcades on octagonal piers to moulded caps and double-chamfer
flush arches, painted plaster walls, stone floor to
processional ways, but wood block under seating areas. The
windows to N and S aisles generally have plain glass, but with
varied leading having Art Nouveau figures, glazed in pale
tints. The second window from the W, N aisle is dedicated to
the 4 sons of Sir George Newnes. The chancel has coloured
glass 'placed at the conclusion of the Great War'; the centre
light is signed: A L Moore Del et Pinxt London.
The N (Lady Chapel) lancets have marble inner shafts, and
stained glass, including one by Christopher Whall, of 1907.
This chapel, with 2 openings to the chancel, has 3 sedilia and
a piscina/aumbry with fine carved doors.
FITTINGS: are unusually fine, and are said to have been carved
mainly by local craftsmen. Seating is in chairs, the octagonal
stone font is in part C12, but with recarving, and with
Jacobean carved cover. The octagonal oak carved pulpit has a
Latin inscription in memory of Newell and Anne Connop, 1899.
This has fine carved panels including Mother and Child, the
Lamb, children with a crab,a ram and a donkey, under a
basket-weave frieze. 2 square candlesticks, approx 0.15m
square and 1.5m high, are in Art Nouveau style. In the chancel
are fine carved stalls and altar rail, with a stone chancel
rail; the altar, on 3 steps, is plain. The Lady Chapel altar
has a polished brass front with plant and Tree of Life
embellishment based on timber panels.
MONUMENTS and panels include Royal Arms of William III, 1833,
painted, on square board beneath the W window; a simple slate
tablet on a N aisle pier, to the victims of the 1952 floods;
in the W bay of the nave to Hughe Wichehalse 'Christide Eve',
1653; unusual and significant surviving example of painted
wooden memorial, with carving by Phelps of Porlock, to Thomas
Grose, December 1734; a square stone with coat of arms, 2
stags' heads and RP; a headstone (mounted on the wall) to John
Brown, 1736; a white marble oval tablet to William Lock (et
al) 1773, signed J Beal, Barum (Barnstaple); John Ward Holman,
1936, good marble and alabaster, a 'notable benefactor and 60
Although mainly a rebuilding, the church has considerable
interest provided firstly by the eclectic and sometimes
eccentric detailing, but secondly from the rich assembly of
fittings, which are described by one authority as ' ... one of
the best collections of their date in Devon' (Cherry).
(The Buildings of England: Cherry B & Pevsner N: Devon:
London: 1989-: 554; Allen NV: Churches and Chapels of Exmoor:
Dulverton: 1974-: 62).
Listing NGR: SS7206249436
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.