Church Of St Michael

31 Oct 1999
Church Of St Michael, Gittisham, East Devon, Devon, EX14 3AJ
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.


7/171 Church of St Michael



Parish church. Possibly C14 origins, south aisle added by Sir Humphrey Beaumont (d.

1572), repaired by the Beaumont family in the 1660s (Hussey), C18 refurbishment, including box pews and a west gallery, chancel restored in the 1860s under the direction of the Reverend R. Kirwan (Whites Devon (1878). Unusual in the Diocese in retaining a nave and nave fittings which predate the Gothic Revival and give the exterior the slightly haphazard quality of an unrestored church. Flint rubble, the tower rendered, slate roofs.

Plan: Nave, chancel, 4 bay south arcade with one bay to the chancel, the east end of the aisle projecting beyond the chancel and filled with monuments of the squires of Combe; north porch, west tower, west gallery with an external stair at the west end of the south aisle.

Exterior: Chancel with diagonal buttresses with set-offs and a 3-light C19 Perpendicular traceried east window. On the north side a double-chamfered frame to the priest's door with a C19 rounded arch and a very renewed 2-light pointed window with uncusped Y tracery. Buttressed nave with diagonal corner buttresses; untraceried windows (the mullions presumably C18) with different arches flank the north porch. The south aisle has diagonal buttresses, 2 massive buttresses with set- offs to the west and a lean-to boiler room with a stack against the aisle wall. C17 decorated lead gutter and rainwater head at the east end, the rainwater head with the Beaumont arms probably dating from the late C17 repairs to the aisle, the baluster pinnacle on the gable probably co-eval. Wide Perpendicular west window of a very late character. The easternmost window, blocked with hardboard at time of survey (1987), is 3-light and traceried, then 2 2-light C19 Perpendicular traceried windows, the westernmost window also untraceried. The west end of the aisle has a flight of external steps, complete with C18 iron railings up to the gallery entrance which is a 2-leaf C18 panelled door below a 2-light untraceried, presumably C18 window.

Rendered 3-stage battlemented west tower with a large 2 stage projecting stair turret on the south side with a flat roof. The original entrance to the turret has been cut off by the gallery steps and a flight of external steps leads through an archway cut in the tower masonry into the bellringers' chamber. The west door of the tower has a moulded frame and a rather domestic Gothick door of the early C19, half-glazed with arched glazing bars; 3-light untraceried west window; 2-light louvred belfry openings on west, east and north faces. The north face has a clock with a semi-circular hoodmould. North porch with a moulded outer doorway with a hoodmould; a deeply- moulded, possibly C14 inner doorway; stone-topped benches and a plastered roof. A row of probably C18 hat pegs survives.

Interior: Plastered walls; moulded stone chancel arch; double-chamfered tower arch.

Ceiled wagon roofs with carved bosses and moulded ribs; C19 ceiled wagon chancel roof with painted ribs and bosses and a C19 ceilure. 4-bay arcade with corner shafts to the piers, foliage-carved capitals and shallow moulded arches. The chancel bay is deeper with a panelled soffit to the north arch. C19 or early C20 timber drum pulpit with blind traceried panels and a heavily-carved cornice. C15 octagonal font with quatrefoils carved on the bowl. There is a distinct contrast between the archaeologically 'correct' chancel and the unrestored nave. The chancel has good C19 floor tiles and a communion rail with painted standards decorated with leaves.

Circa 1860s poppyhead choir stalls with a slightly different design of stall in the south chancel chapel which has probably C18 black and white paving. The nave is filled with probably late C18 box pews with fielded panels. West gallery supported on an iron post and to left and right with a frontal of fielded panels.

Monuments: An important collection. The most impressive is in the south chancel aisle, commemorating Thomas Putt, died 1686, the squire who had carried out extensive improvements at Combe (q.v.), Black, grey and white marble: a large tomb chest with marble steps, set in a round headed recess with a ribbed soffit and a rusticated arch. The back of the arch has a white marble pediment on massive consoles with armorial bearings in the pediment. On the tomb chest, 2 massive white marble urns decorated with wreaths and bands of oak leaves with gilded flames. Pevsner describes it as "cold, competent, expensive and metropolitan" (South Devon). It has been attributed to William Kidwell (Esdaile) and William Stanton (Hussey), Hussey suggests that the urns could be by Edward Pearce. Against the east wall a monument to Henry Beaumont of Combe, died 1591, erected by his wife. Alabaster, Purbeck and black marble with composite columns dividing the main tier into 2 recesses in which Beaumont and his wife kneel at prayer desks; armorial bearings above, a long verse and armorial bearings below. On the south wall a late C17 wall tablet in a moulded frame commemorating John Fiennes Esq., died 1671, with a Latin verse. Adjacent to this, a white marble wall tablet, signed 'Westminster Marble Company, Earl St, South West London': commemorating members of the Putt family, earliest date 1825, latest 1857. Next west is a Greek Revival style while marble wall monument to Reymundo Putt, died 1812.

In the chancel a wall monument to Joane Beaumont, died 1667. The inscription tablet is surrounded by mantling and framed by Corinthian columns with a skeleton, angel and armorial bearings above. The inscription includes a verse and original colour survives on the monument. On the north wall a monument to the Reverend Thomas Putt, died 1844, in a crested stone frame. On the south wall of the aisle late C19 and one late C18 monument. Below the gallery and fixed to the west wall an unusual painted board commemorating John Ousley, died 1744, depicting David harping, flanked by cherubs.

Royal Arms over the door in a nowy-headed frame. 5 massive Putt family hatchments hang in the south aisle, dating from the C17, C18 and C19 centuries. These are described in detail by W.H. Wilkin, 'The Putt Hatchments at Gittisham', Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries, vol. 19 (1936-37), p. 300-303. Stained Glass East window probably designed by Heaton, Butler and Bayne, memorial date of 1854. The north window in the chancel contains C16 and C17 Flemish fragments and roundels with early C19 coloured glass and late C19 borders. The east window of the aisle contains C17 and C20 armorial bearings. The south aisle has 2 C19 windows (1870s, memorial dates) commemorating members of the Marker family.

An exceptionally interesting church retaining a largely C18 character in the nave and with a number of good monuments.

Listing NGR: SY1336998365


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


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