Church of St Martin, Exminster
Description: Church of St Martin
Date Listed: 30 June 1961
English Heritage Building ID: 85452
OS Grid Reference: SX9455787708
OS Grid Coordinates: 294557, 87708
Latitude/Longitude: 50.6795, -3.4938
Location: Church Stile, Exminster, Devon EX6 8DF
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EXMINSTER CHURCH STILE, Exminster
SX 98 NW
4/35 Church of St. Martin
Parish church. Late C14 and late C15, restoration of 1841-2 including rebuilding of
south porch, further restoration of 1856. West tower brecchia ashlar; south aisle
brecchia and freestone rubble, west wall rebuilt in coursed stone; nave and north-
east vestry brecchia brought to course; porch snecked stone; slate roofs.
Plan of west tower, nave, chancel, 5-bay south aisle (1 bay to the chancel), south
porch and north east vestry. Perpendicular, the aisle probably late C15 (qv
Dunchideock). South chancel chapel refurbished as the Peamore aisle in 1631, chancel
restored 1841-2, Peamore aisle restored 1856.
The chancel has a coped gable with kneelers and a 3-light early C19 window with a
hoodmould. The north wall of the nave has 3 3-light Perpendicular windows, all
varying in design. The eastern-most is C19 with a hoodmould, the centre window has
no cusping in the head tracery and may be C16, the westernmost is more steeply arched
with cusped tracery. The south aisle has a 3-light. Perpendicular west window with
a hoodmould, the western-most window on the south side is also a 3-light
Perpendicular window but of a different design. The 2 eastern windows are C19
1 erpendicular with hoodmoulds, probably of the 1850s, the westernmost window
preserves the remains of medieval label stops. The south porch has a C19 double
chamfered outer doorway, the inner arch dying into the aisle. The interior has stone
benches and a C19 ceiled wagon roof with slender moulded ribs and flat floral bosses.
The double chamfered inner doorway is medieval, the inner order with bar cushion
stops. The handsome battlemented 3-stage west tower (no pinnacles) has a
battlemented polygonal north east stair turret rising above the height of the tower,
diagonal buttresses to the west and a single buttress to the south east. The
Beerstone west doorway is arched and moulded below a 3-light C14 Perpendicular west
window; 2-light traceried belfry openings on all 4 faces, the south and north faces
have I-light cinquefoil-headed openings at bellringers' stage. North east-vestry and
organ chamber with 2 gables to the north. The vestry has an octagonal brattishe
chimney shaft and a 2-light circa 1870s Decorated window and chamfered Tudor arched
doorway in the north wall. The organ chamber has a re-used medieval Perpendicular
Interior: Plastered walls (except for tower), no chancel arch, chamfered tower arch
dying into the walls. Ceiled wagon roofs with moulded ribs and carved bosses to the
nave and south aisle, chancel roof an open wagon. 5-bay arcade, 1 bay to the chancel
with octagonal brecchia monolith piers, moulded capitals and double-chamfered rounded
arches, very similar to Dunchideock; the double chamfered rounded arch, found in
other local churches may be a date Perpendicular regional feature. A I0-bay rood
screen extends across nave and aisle, it has been thoroughly restored in the early
C20 with the coning and most of the frieze replaced. Medieval rood loft stairs and
doorway survive. The ceiling of the Peamore aisle (now the Lady Chapel) is
remarkable, with a ceiled wagon with moulded plaster ribs and large figures in relief
in panels embellished with angels and stars. Named figures of the 12 apostles and 4
evangelists are depicted and, in the spandrels of the east window, scenes of the
Nativity, Christ carrying the cross and the Resurrection, with the globe, sun and
moon above the window arch.
The chancel has a good stone reredos with gabled frames to the commandment boards
dating from the 1841 restoration. On the north wall a Beerstone monument, erected in
1608, to Otho Petre, died 1607: a chest with kneeling figures divided by Corinthian
columns with achievements above and a long punning Latin verse on the name of Petre.
A tall squint into the Peamore aisle has an arched head. The nave has a good late
C17/early C18 timber drum pulpit on a wineglass stem, fielded panels to each side
with acanthus borders and foliage carving., The octagonal font has deeply-cut tracery
on the bowl and a stem with tracery decoration. Early C20 benches and bench ends by
the Herbert Read firm with various decoration. On the north wall of the nave a wall
monument commemorating Philipa Cooke, died 1690: an oval inscription tablet and
cartouche flanked by Corinthian columns and crowned by a swan-necked pediment with an
achievement, ancient colour survives. In the Peamore aisle an unusual design for a
wall monument, commemorating Grace Tothill, died 1623: the conventional arrangement
of Corinthian columns flanking an inscription tablet with a good verse is elaborated
at the base with a small figure in relief resting on one elbow. Of numerous early
C19 wall tablets the memorial to Philip Stowey, died 1804, signed by J. Kendal is
notable: a grey obelisk with an urn and inscription. The east window, memorial date
of 1876 is probably by Beer and Driffield. Late Morris and Co. window (memorial date
1923) in north side. 2 fragmentary medieval stained glass figures in the vestry.
The Perpendicular work is conventional and the details much restored; the plasterwork
of the Peamore aisle is remarkable; some good monuments.
Listing NGR: SX9455887707
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.