Church Of St Michael And All Angels

20 Aug 1999
Church Of St Michael And All Angels, Awliscombe, East Devon, Devon, EX14 3PJ
Photograph (Digital)
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This information is taken from the statutory List as it was in 2001 and may not be up to date.


5/14 Church of St Michael and All Angels -


Parish church. Largely late C15/early C16, apparently a single programme of upgrading and enlargening an earlier building; described by Hoskins as "mostly rebuilt in 1846"; reseating and restoration by Robert Medley Fulford in 1886-7 D.R.0.

Mostly local flint with Beerstone dressings; slate roof.

Plan: Nave, chancel, west tower, 5-bay north arcade (one bay to the chancel), south transept, south porch adjoining transept, organ chamber and vestry adjoining the chancel on the south side. Unusually grand, matching, late Perpendicular details (panelled soffits to internal arches, a stone chancel screen) indicate a major refashioning of the church in the late C15/early C16, probably associated with a chantry to Thomas Chard, "probably titular bishop of Salubria" (Hoskins), who was born at Tracey (q.v.) in the same parish. The rather awkward abutment of one of the arcade piers against the chancel suggests that the chancel is earlier. The vestry/organ chamber is 1886-7.

Exteior: Chancel with diagonal coped buttresses, ashlar-faced; 4-light transomed Perpendicular east window, 2-light transomed south window, concealed externally by the embattled 2-bay vestry and organ chamber (the organ chambr to the west has a lean-to roof) with a diagonal south-east buttress and 2 eclectic late C19 traceried windows flanking a co-eval 2-centred moulded doorframe. The embattled porch, adjoining south transept, is unusual both for its elaboration and for having doorways in both the south and west sides. It has a diagonal south west buttress in the angles with set-offs with a shallow statue niche with a canopy and buttresses in the angles with the nave and transept. Shallow statue niches survive over both doorways, the west niche has lost its canopy work and all 3 statue niches have moulded bases of Renaissance character. Both the south and west doorways are moulded with an order of fleurons, matching the internal arch into the south transept. The steps to the west doorway no longer exist. Inside, the porch has a shallow stone rib vault, the ribs carried on corner shafts, with a central roundel and carved bosses. A cornice on the east wall is decorated with fleurons and there are stone-topped benches. To the west of the porch a 2-light probably C15 nave window below 2 re-set C12 or C13 corbles: the masonry is disturbed here, possibly indicating a raising of the nave. The north aisle has set-back buttresses at the west end a diagonal north-east buttress with 2 crude late buttresses on the north side (one concrete). Large 4-light Perpendicular east window, 3-light Perpendicular west window above an embattled C19 store or boiler room. 5 irregularly-spaced 3-light Perpendicular north windows and a probably C16 north door, the frame moulded with an almost flat arch and a hoodmould, the studded plank door probably also C16. The south transept, probably the Chard chantry, has wide buttresses with set-offs to the south face and a very large, grand 5-light south window, entirely renewed in the C19 in Bathstone on the exterior but with medieval masonry on the inner face. Medieval hollow-chamfered Beerstone jambs survive, decorated with fleurons, the hoodmould has disappeared but C19 carved label stops remain. The window is transomed, with tracery below the transom as well as above it, with a second transom in the centre light. It has something of the grandeur of Colyton west window, but on a smaller scale. The right (east) return of the transept has a C16 square-headed volcanic window with trefoil-headed lights.

Embattled 3-stage west tower with moulded strings, gargoyles below the battlements and an unsually large, rectangular, projecting south-east stair turret of diminishing stages, the turret embattled and rising above the height of the tower proper. The turret has slit windows and a 2-centred chamfered external doorway with steps up to an early C19 Gothick door. The west face has a moulded 3-centred west doorframe with a C19 door with elaborate strap hinges ; a 3-light Perpendicular west window, the tracery C19, and a moulded stone frame to the clock. 2-light stone traceried belfry windows on all 4 faces, extra rectangular opening on north face at belfry stage.

Interior: Plastered walls, some of the wall plaster early, possibly with wallpaintings concealed by limewash, the remains of a painted Royal Arms survive over the south door. Rounded chancel arch with a panelled soffit, similar tower arch with a panelled soffit and shafts with capitals to each respond. 5-bay north arcade, the piers diagonally-set with corner shafts, the capitals with carved foliage bosses and the arches shallow-moulded. The eastern-most nave pier abuts the chancel arch rather awkwardly. There is a double arch to the chancel, the inner arch with a panelled soffit, possibly originally forming a canopy above a tomb chest. This suggests that the east end of the north aisle is a remodelled chapel absorbed into the later north aisle. The south transept arch also has a panelled soffit and shafts to the responds, the arch is decorated with an order of fleurons. Late medieval ceiled wagon roof to the nave with carved bosses, the ribs more closely-spaced at the abutment with the chancel arch, forming a ceilure. North aisle roof also has a late medieval ceiled wagon but the flatter well-carved bosses with probably modern gilding. Nave roof probably dates from the 1886-7 restoration by Fulford: an open wagon boarded behind with 2 tiers of cresting to the wall plate and heavy carved bosses. Painted decoration of the 1880s by Palfrey of London. Ceiled wagon with carved bosses to the south transept.

Grand 5-bay Beerstone chancel screen, presumably early C16 with considerable restoration work. The screen has C19 battlements with a solid dado, a central Tudor arched doorway decorated with fleurons on the soffit and jambs and 2-light traceried openings to each bay with projecting demi-angels holding scrolls.

C19 and C20 chancel fitting. The traceried dado and matching communion rail to the sancturary are probably early C20; commandment boards in elaborate stone frames with ogee gables, pinnacles and a good Gothic script for the text are probably late 1840s or 1850s, the poppyhead choir stalls may be of the same date incorporating some medieval woodwork. Trabiated opening into the organ chamber-cum-vestry which was added in the late 1880s by Fulford. Nave fitting also C19, a set of benches and a matching,pulpit and timber lectern of 1887 designed by Fulford, carved by Hems of Exeter. The font is probably C15; an octagonal Beerstone bowl carved with quatrefoils, the stem with shallow panels and miniature buttresses. The south transept window is especially fine, the jambs hollow-chamfered and decorated with tracery and statue niches. Probably C18 hatchment hanging in the transept.

Monuments: Several white marble wall plaques: one to Daniel Pring, died 1791; a Greek Medieval wall plaque to John Pring Esq of Ivedon (q.v.), died 1820 with a profile head in a medallion, signed Peter Rouw, Modeller to His Majesty, New Rd., London; plaque to Mary Elliott, died 1853, signed Rogers of Bath. In the chancel aisle a wall monument to Captain Daniel Pring, died 1846 showing a bust in a framed niche, signed Newman's, Sidmouth.

Stained Glass: Remains of a C15 or early C16 medieval scheme by the Doddiscombesleigh school in the head tracery of the north aisle. 3 very fine C19 windows: the excellent east windows in the north aisle and chancel probably 1860s and, on stylistic grounds, probably by Haton, Butler and Bayne. The fine south window in the transept is probably by Wailes, dated 1863. West window signed Wailes and Stang, 1887. Memorial window in the north aisle to Neumann (q.v. Tracey), dated 1898, probably by Percy Bacon; memorial window in south aisle to Porter, 1913 by Blanchford.

An unusual grand church with impressive Medieval and C19 features.

Devon Nineteenth Century Churches Project.

Listing NGR: ST1338201837


This is part of the Series: IOE01/0001 IOE Records taken by Anthony Aaben-Reader; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


© Mr Anthony Aaben-Reader. Source: Historic England Archive

This photograph was taken for the Images of England project

People & Organisations

Photographer: Aaben-Reader, Anthony

Rights Holder: Aaben-Reader, Anthony


Beer Stone, Flint, Slate, Medieval Parish Church, Tudor Religious Ritual And Funerary, Church, Place Of Worship, Coat Of Arms, Commemorative, Commemorative Monument, Plaque, Wall Monument