Church Of St James

14 May 2003
Church Of St James, Talaton, East Devon, Devon
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.

TALATON SY 09 NE 6/182 Church of St James 22.2.55 GV I

Parish church. Norman font but church is C15. It was extensively rebuilt 1859 - 60 by Edward Ashworth but many of the old features were retained. The C15 work is coursed blocks of volcanic ashlar with Beerstone ashlar detail; the front of the porch is a chequer effect of Beerstone and volcanic ashlar; the C19 work is snecked grey limestone with volcanic quoins with Bathstone detail; red tile roof.

Plan: nave and lower chancel. South aisle is not quite full length, nor is the north aisle although the vestry occupies the north of the chancel. West tower and south porch. The tower is still C15, so too is the porch. Most of the rest, or at least the outer walls were rebuilt 1859 - 60 although many earlier features, including roof structures were retained. North aisle complete new build of 1859-60.

Exterior: tall west tower is a superior example. It is 3 stages with diagonal buttresses and embattled parapet with corner pinnacles and gargoyles. The semi- hexagonal stair turret on south side rises higher than the tower and is surmounted by a wrought iron weather vane. Large 2-light Belfry windows with Perpendicular tracery. The upper stage is richly ornamented; the buttresses and angles of the stair turret have image niches and some contain original statues. The tower west doorway is a 2-centred arch with moulded surround including a band of 4-leaf motifs.

It contains ornate C19 double doors with delicate applied tracery. Above is a 3- light window with Perpendicular tracery. On the south side of the tower the light to the ringing loft is partly hidden by a C20 clock-face.

The south aisle has diagonal buttresses and 4-bay front. Good late C15 - early C16 porch is left of centre. It has an embattled Beerstone parapet panelled with trefoils and quatrefoils, it includes a central image niche (with nodding ogee canopy and corbels carved as Green Men) and the cornice is enriched with 4-leaf motifs. 2-centred outer arch has moulded surround also with a band of 4-leaf motifs. The label stops of the hoodmould are carved as angels holding shields. The south door is a 2-centred arch with moulded surround and contains an old oak door with traceried coverstrips. South aisle windows are 3 lights with regular Perpendicular tracery. There is another in the east end. The north side is lower and has more unusual tracery.

Interior: is good though heavily restored. Nave and south aisle have open wagon roofs with moulded ribs and purlins, carved oak bosses and the nave includes a more ornate boarded ceilure. The chancel has a completely C19 copy and the north aisle has a C19 open lean-to roof with Gothic carvings. Tall Beerstone tower arch is panelled with moulded surround. C19 chancel arch springing from carved corbels.

South arcade is Beerstone, 5 bays (1 overlapping the chancel) with moulded piers (Pevsner's type B) and carved capitals. The 2-bay north arcade is a C19 copy.

Plastered walls. (A medieval wall painting was found on the north wall of the nave in the C19). C19 tile floor with increasing number of encaustic tiles through the chancel.

Rood Screen: ornate C15 oak screen. 8 bays, the wainscotting is a blind Gothic arcade, windows with Perpendicular tracery (Pevsner's type A), the coving is Gothic and delicately undercut frieze of 3 bands with crest and vallance. It is a fine example. The parclose is also C15 oak but much plainer; square-headed windows and simple crest above.

Furniture and fittings: chancel is all C19. East window is flanked by painted Commandment boards. Oak altar rail on simple Gothic arcade. Pine stalls with poppyhead finials and simple Gothic enrichment. C19 octagonal pulpit with panelled sides. Good oak eagle lectern. Most of the benches in the nave are C15; oak with the same 2 tiers of cinquefoil-headed panels carved in their ends. The other benches are C19 and C20, those in the north aisle are plain deal. Norman font of a hard grey stone; table-top type with smple arcaded frieze, main stem a plain cylinder but corner columns have waterleaf capitals. C17 oak altar table with turned legs in south aisle and nave includes a plain C17 oak chest.

Memorials: most are in the south aisle and these make up a good collection from the C18 and C19; the best in memory of Charles Harwood (d. 1718) has the inscription on drapery under a vase and winged cherubs heads. However the best monument is now in the tower. It is dated 1613 in memory of the Rev. John Leach. The first letters from each line of the elegy spell his name. The plaque has a richly carved Beerstone frame flanked by Corinthian columns with moulded entablature, scroll consoles and the apron features a skull. This monument is flanked by hatchments painted with the Kennaway arms. C18 stucco Royal arms over south door. Some C19 and C20 stained glass.

Sources: Devon SMR, Church Guide.

This is a fine church in which high quality original work was respected during the Ashworth renovation. It is also most attractively situated on the edge of the village with fields behind and a good group of listed buildings in front.

Listing NGR: SY0674599734


This is part of the Series: IOE01/2100 IOE Records taken by Robert Vickery; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


© Mr Robert Vickery. Source: Historic England Archive

This photograph was taken for the Images of England project

People & Organisations

Photographer: Vickery, Robert

Rights Holder: Vickery, Robert


Ashlar, Basalt, Beer Stone, Limestone, Tile, Medieval Parish Church, Tudor Religious Ritual And Funerary, Church, Place Of Worship, Commemorative Monument, Commemorative, Plaque, Weather Vane, Unassigned