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Parish Church of St John the Baptist

A Grade I Listed Building in Paignton, Torbay

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Latitude: 50.4368 / 50°26'12"N

Longitude: -3.5695 / 3°34'10"W

OS Eastings: 288634

OS Northings: 60836

OS Grid: SX886608

Mapcode National: GBR QT.RSN8

Mapcode Global: FRA 37DW.Z1Z

Entry Name: Parish Church of St John the Baptist

Listing Date: 13 March 1951

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1195097

English Heritage Legacy ID: 383779

Location: Torbay, TQ3

County: Torbay

Electoral Ward/Division: Roundham-with-Hyde

Built-Up Area: Paignton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Paignton St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 14/01/2013


(South side)
Parish Church of St John the Baptist


Parish church. C12 origins; C13 alterations; C14 porch;
thorough alterations of the early C15 including tower;
restoration of 1864 to the designs of Ewan Christian;
1912-1914 vestries to the designs of WD Caroe.
MATERIALS: Local red breccia and red sandstone rubble,
vestries snecked; Beerstone and C19 Bathstone dressings; slate
PLAN: One of Devon's larger medieval parish churches. Nave,
chancel, W tower, N and S 4-bay aisles, N and S transepts, S
transeptal chapels between aisle and transepts containing the
Lady Chapel to the N and the Kirkham chantry to the S; vestry
on S side of chancel. Of the C12 church some chancel masonry
survives as does the W door, re-set in the C15 W tower.
Chancel includes C13 windows; evidence that arcades are C13 in
origin, heightened in the C15.
EXTERIOR: Chancel with setback buttresses has massive 5-light
transomed traceried E window with hoodmould and carved label
stops, masonry C19 but part of arch apears to be medieval.
North side of chancel includes some local grey limestone
rubble. Two 3-light Perpendicular style traceried N windows
with a 3-centred moulded doorway with ballflower ornament and
probably C17 two-panel plank and stud door.
N transept has an embattled parapet and set-back buttresses.
3-light Perpendicular style traceried E window with hoodmould
and label stops.
N side of transept almost entirely filled with massive pair of
windows with common mullion between but individual depressed
segmental-arched heads. Each window 3-light and transomed with
quatrefoils in the head. Octagonal embattled rood loft stair
turret in angle between transept and aisle.
Set-back buttresses to N transeptal chapel which has
crow-stepped gable, 4-light Perpendicular style traceried E
and W windows and probably C20 5-light N window.
4-bay buttressed N aisle with embattled parapet with medieval
beerstone NW pinnacle with crocketed finial. 4-light
Perpendicular style traceried windows, one with Y tracery,
hoodmoulds and carved label stops. Red sandstone triple hollow
chamfered doorway in 2nd bay from the W with probably C16 door
of overlapping vertical panels, repaired at the bottom, with
variety of latches and dog door. Beerstone ogival holy water
stoup, adjacent to doorway. Above the door a short 4-light
window with a hoodmould with carved label stops. The W window
of the aisle is cut in awkwardly behind the junction with the
tower. Similar S aisle, also with awkwardly-positioned W
Tall 3-stage W tower with internal NW stair turret and
embattled parapet with pinnacles. W face has re-sited C12
doorway with alternating red and white stones and detached
shafts with scalloped capitals. The round-headed arch has 3
orders of moulding, chevron, saltire crosses and a bead; C19
Unusual 4-light Perpendicular traceried W window with
brattished horizontal stone bars in the head tracery. W, N and
S faces have 3-light square-headed cusped belfry windows. N
and S faces have 2-light traceried early C15 windows to 2nd
Embattled S porch with diagonal buttresses and C19 moulded red
sandstone doorway and quadripartite rib vault springing from
corbels decorated with carved feathers. Central carved boss
very decayed but appears to depict the Ascension. Chamfered
inner doorway with hoodmould and probably C16 door of
overlapping planks with strap hinges.
Kirkham chantry has crow-stepped gable , set-back buttresses
and 4-light Perpendicular traceried W window; renewed 5-light
S window with moulded capitals to the mullion. S transept
matches the N.
The vestry has a coped parapet and, flanked by buttresses, a
quirky moulded doorway with depressed shoulders, flat
ball-flower carving and a statue niche over. One, 2, 3 and
5-light stone mullioned windows. Carved inscription records
that the vestry was erected by Adam Mortimor Singer (q.v.
Oldway Mansion) to the memory of his wife.
INTERIOR: Arcades with octagonal piers, double-chamfered
arches and moulded capitals. Moulded chancel arch springing
from octagonal responds with moulded capitals. Nave roof a C19
open wagon; chancel a C19 boarded wagon with moulded ribs,
carved bosses and C19 painted panels; flat, panelled aisle
roofs with moulded ribs and carved bosses; double-chamfered
tower arch, tower roof with 6-panel timber ceiling. Chancel
includes Early English 2-light window in S wall, concealed
externally by vestry.
FITTINGS include the Chapin reredos, given in 1927. Eight
stone statue niches with taller 2-tier niches to left and
right. Fine sedilia, reconstructed in 1870 using some old
fragments with 4 crocketed gables and cusped ogee arches:
bright C20 painting. Moulded arches into organ chamber and
Lady Chapel on N side. Organ presented 1889 by Paris Singer
(qv Oldway Mansion), organ case by M Mowbray.
Lady Chapel has a painted panelled ceiling and a very
elaborate 1907 E window/reredos ensemble, the window with
panelled reveals incorporating statue niches and a 3-bay
reredos with figure groups carved in relief. North transept
with altar and reredos by Ninian Comper. 1906 rood screen in a
traditional Perpendicular local style, doorway with carved
figures on the Kenton/ N.Bovey model, by Herbert Read of
Exeter; medieval doorways to rood loft stair turret. Fine C15
stone wineglass-stem pulpit, similar to Harberton, with
knobbly foliage carving and nodding ogee statue niches. Partly
re-coloured, traces of medieval paint survive. Red sandstone
Norman font with a circular bowl with palmette ornament.
Spectacular late C15 chantry chapel, the best in Devon outside
Exeter Cathedral, identified by Prince as being the chantry of
the Kirkham family of Blagdon (qv Blagdon Manor). A deep stone
screen with 2 Tudor arches contains tomb chests between a
central doorway, the whole crowned with masses of pinnacles
and carved angels. Recumbent effigies of a lady and knight on
the chests, the arches and those of the central doorway with
miniature fan-vaulting. Figures damaged, but the minor figures
decorating the chest and the iconographic scenes are of a high
quality and retain some traces of medieval colour. The
iconography is very elaborate and discussed in detail in an
article by Rushforth. Inside the chapel a C17 tomb chest to
Sir William and Lady Kirkham with 2 kneeling figures facing
one another under flat arches.
Other monuments include a fine gisant in a cusped tomb recess
in the S aisle and a foliated cross, re-sited under a moulded
tomb recess with carved spandrels in the N aisle. Various wall
tablets, including a slate monument with white marble pediment
to Thomas Hunt of Yalberton and tablets to the Belfield family
of Primley House (qv).
Good collection of C19 and early C20 stained glass including W
window of N aisle, signed Heaton, Butler and Bayne and other
windows by Hardman and Clayton and Bell.
Cope chest at W end of S aisle, made up of fragments of old
wood some probably Flemish, with blind tracery.
Vestry contains arcade of columns and fine domestic piscina,
re-sited here in the early C20, which originated in Kirkham
House but was mistakenly thought to have ecclesiastical
(The Buildings of England: Cherry B: Devon: London: 1952-1989:
838-9; Transactions of the Devonshire Association, reprint:
Rushforth GM: The Kirkham Monument in Paignton Church, Devon:

Listing NGR: SX8863760836

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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