Church Of St Mary / Church Of The Blessed Virgin Mary

9 Jun 2002
Church Of St Mary, Aylesbeare, East Devon, Devon, EX5 2BU
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Church Of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Aylesbeare, East Devon, Devon, EX5 2BU
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This information is taken from the statutory List as it was in 2001 and may not be up to date.


3/7 Church of the Blessed - Virgin Mary (formerly listed as 30.6.61 Church of St Mary)


Parish Church. C14 font and part of chancel may be contemporary; tower and north aisle are C15; chancel includes some late C15 - early C16 detail; chancel and roofs restored circa 1840 with new benches and fittings; major renovation of nave and porch rebuilt 1896-7 by E H Harbottle; tower restored in 1924 by Harbottle-Reed.

Nave, chancel and aisle of random local stone rubble and aisle has large dressed quoins of red conglomerate stone and cream sandstone; tower of red conglomerate rubble laid to courses with dressed quoins of red conglomerate stone and Beerstone; parts of tower and chancel are roughcast; original detail and tower restoration detail of Beerstone, other restoration detail of Bathstone; slate roofs and nave has crested ridgetiles.

The chancel may contain some C14 fabric but none is evident. The nave is slightly wider and taller. The south wall appears to have been rebuilt in C19 with the south porch. The north aisle and west tower are largely original. The tower is unusual having opposing north and south doorways, apparently this was needed to provide a way through since the west end was formerly on the churchyard boundary.

Perpendicular style throughout.

Tall west tower of 2 stages with low diagonal buttresses and embattled parapet.

Semi-octagonal stair turret with tiny plain slit windows. It rises above the main tower with its own embattled parapet. Carved Beerstone gargoyle water spouts survive on 3 corners. Arch-headed 2-light belfry windows with cusped tracery are mostly replacements although the eastern one may be original. On the north side is a small trefoil-headed lancet to the ringing loft, and on the south side is another larger example with its original trefoil head, sunken spandrels and square-headed hood. The west side has a 3-light window with Perpendicular tracery; it is mostly replacement work. The north and south doorways however are original; 2-centred arches with richly-moulded surrounds and hoodmoulds. The south door is a studded plank door with moulded cover strips and large plain strap hinges; it may be C17 or C18. The north door is hidden by a C20 tool-shed.

Most of the south side of the nave was probably rebuilt in the C19 although the large dressed quoins at the left end and the projecting rood stair turret, at the right end are probably C15 work The 3 windows are all C19 Bathstone 2-lights with ogee heads, Perpendicular-style tracery and moulded hoods. The south porch, left of centre, is also C19 but reuses some medieval material. It is gabled with the Bathstone apex block bearing the initials BVM (twice) and AE. The kneelers and some of the coping has been replaced with C20 concrete. The outer arch has reused moulded jambs of volcanic stone but the 2-centred arch is C19. The east wall includes a reset Beerstone lancet. The rood turret projects square and contains a tiny round-headed lancet made from a single block of stone.

The south side of the chancel is roughcast and contains a narrow priests door with 2-centred head which was repaired in the C19. To left is an early C16 Beerstone square-headed 2-light window. The cinquefoil heads and hoodmould have also been repaired in the C19. To right is another similar but this is entirely C19 and Bathstone. The east end has C19 corner diagonal buttresses of red conglomerate ashlar, contemporary Bathstone kneelers, coping and apex Latin cross and a Bathstone 3-light window with Perpendicular tracery, moulded hood and large carved oak-leaf labels. The north aisle appears to have very little restoration. The walls are random rubble with large dressed quoins. All the windows are Beerstone, 3 lights with Perpendicular tracery. There are 3 on the north side with restored buttresses between and 1 more each end.

Interior. The porch has a cobbled floor and C19 roof. The south door is restored C15 work of Beerstone and red sandstone; a flat arch with chamfered surround. The door is probably C17; a plank door with scratch-moulded cover strips, original ferramenta including plain strap hinges and a large oak lock housing.

Both nave and aisle have plain ceiled barrel-vaulted roofs with C19 wall plates.

There is no chancel arch. A C19 arch-braced truss drops the roof line to the chancel. Here is a ceiled wagon roof of 2 main bays, each sub-divided into a series of square panels with carved oak or moulded plaster bosses and a delicate open crestwork wall plate. Because the roof is painted it is impossible to see if any medieval carpentry survives. Tower interior was inaccessible at time of survey.

Tall tower arch with a double-chamfered arch ring dying into the plain sides. 3-bay Beerstone arcade between nave and aisle. The piers are moulded (Pevsner's type B) with carved foliate capitals and the cap of the eastern respond includes and angel holding a shield. There is a fourth arch through the thicker wall between the chancel and eastern end of the aisle. The arch is lined with Beerstone ashlar and has 2 sets of trefoil-headed panels separated and flanked by half-engaged columns with plain caps. The west side is mutilated by a squint cut through from a now- disused rood stair rising in the thickness of the chancel wall from the aisle where there is a Beerstone segmental-headed doorway with a rebated surround and carved foliage in the spandrels. The south nave has a plain flat arched doorway to the disused rood stair there. The north aisle has hollow-chamfered Beerstone rear arches to the windows; elsewhere they are Bathstone. The flag floor includes some C17 and C18 grave slabs but most are fragmentary.

C19 oak reredos and altar both carved in Gothic style. To right the original piscina given a C19 Beerstone surround with cusped ogee arch and poppyhead finial.

C19 oak altar rail, Gothic style softwood stalls with poppyhead finials, plain lectern and plain deal benches. The pulpit is a C19 refurbishment of an C18 octagonal drum pulpit with fielded panel sides and the front panel enriched with an inlaid marquetry sunburst. Good C14 Beerstone font with an octagonal bowl with panelled quatrefoils on the sides and carved foliage around the base, octagonal stem and hollow-chamfered base. C17 oak font cover with a broken ogee profile. Good Cl7 oak chest to rear of aisle; its panelled front richly decorate with chip-carving and inscribed with the initials MW.

The mural monuments are all late C18 and Cl9. The grandest, to south of the chancel, in memory of Edward Lloyd Kenyon (d.1843), comprises a Tudor Gothic style Beerstone frame and large white marble panel carved in bas relief as a mother and daughter weeping over the inscribed grave. It is signed E B Stephens Sc., Upper Belgrave Place, London. Plain plaques nearby to the Carwithen family (circa 1905) and the Marker family (circa 1812 and circa 1865). On the north side is another marble monument with Beerstone Tudor Gothic style frame in memory of Henry and Margaretta Marker (d. 1811 and 1846). It is flanked by early C20 memorials to the Bruton family, both white marble with alabaster frames and similar to the First World War memorial in the nave and the Ruth Loram memorial in the aisle (d. 1919). Other marble plaques in memory of the Stoke family of Minchen Court (1771-1789), Henry and Mary Pitt (both died 1849), Hugh Bennet of Rosamondford (d. 1797), Samuel and Sarah Walker (1834-1830). Some of glass in the north aisle windows maybe C18 and some fragments of coloured glass in the tracery maybe earlier. Good C19 stained glass in east window and 2 late C19 stained and hammered glass on south side.

The font is the only feature earlier than the C15. The tower is the best feature of an otherwise unremarkable Perpendicular church which was heavily restored in the C19.

Source: C19 Church Project

Listing NGR: SY0376991952


This is part of the Series: IOE\Newbery_Barry F. IOE Records for Newbery, Barry F.; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


Copyright IoE Mr Barry F. Newbery. Source Historic England Archive

This photograph was taken for the Images of England project

People & Organisations

Photographer: Newbery, Barry F.

Rights Holder: Newbery, Barry F.


Ashlar, Bath Stone, Beer Stone, Concrete, Conglomerate, Roughcast, Rubble, Sandstone, Slate, Stone, Timber, Medieval Parish Church, Religious Ritual And Funerary, Church, Place Of Worship, Commemorative Monument, Commemorative, Plaque, Wall Monument, Shed, Unassigned, Building, War Memorial