St Martin's Chapel, Broadnymett


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020267

Date first listed: 14-Jan-1959

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Apr-2002


Ordnance survey map of St Martin's Chapel, Broadnymett
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: North Tawton

National Grid Reference: SS 70235 00942


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the pre- Reformation period. Chapels were designed for congregational worship and were generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provided accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which was the main domain of the priest and contained the principal altar. Around 4000 parochial chapels were built between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship built for the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the main parish church. Other chapels were built as private places of worship by manorial lords and lie near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status residences. Chantry chapels were built and maintained by endowment and were established for the singing of masses for the soul of the founder. Some chapels possessed burial grounds. Unlike parish churches, the majority of which remain in ecclesiastical use, chapels were often abandoned as their communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. Many chantry chapels disappeared after the dissolution of their supporting communities in the 1540s. Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features of the landscape. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as being nationally important. The sites of abandoned chapels, where positively identified, are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about the nature and date of their use up to their abandonment.

St Martin's Chapel, Broadnymett is a well-preserved, fully roofed structure which retains many of its original features. Once an important focal point of a small and predominantly poor parish, it is now all that remains since this parish was absorbed into North Tawton.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


This monument includes a chapel, probably of late 13th century date with a 17th century porch and an immediately adjacent 14th century stone cross, situated within the hamlet of Broadnymett overlooking the valley of the River Yeo. Originally, the chapel lay within a walled garden, which is now largely incomplete, connected with the nearby residence. The chapel, which is Listed Grade II*, is no longer used for worship. The monument survives as a single celled, rectangular building which measures 14.1m long by 4.1m wide internally, and stands to its full original height with rubble walls and a slate roof. At the western end is a bell-cote, although the bell is missing, while on the southern side is a small ashlar porch. There are no windows on the northern side of the chapel, just one small putlog hole. On the southern side there are three single light windows and one triple light, while the eastern end has a triple lancet window. The doorway is round headed with simple moulding. Both door jambs have single stone carvings of a circle and incised cross design. The wooden door itself is probably 17th century and has short hinges and lozenge shaped studs. The original timber lintel to the outer door of the porch has now been replaced with brick. Internally the chapel has an undecorated common rafter wagon roof, above which are pegged wooden boards which form a lining beneath the slates. There are also some crenellated wooden wall plates. A large proportion of apparently plain medieval floor tiles remain in place, especially close to the door and where they appear to define the altar area. Simple whitewashed plaster is also apparent on much of the internal walls. Marks on this plaster indicate the position of the original screen. No other internal fixtures and fittings survive. At the north eastern end of the chapel immediately adjacent to the corner of the building stands a cross shaft. The head and arms are missing but the shaft is octagonal in section, tapers upwards and stands up to 1.7m high. The cross has metal gate hanging brackets attached to it, although these do not support a gate. The chapel originally served the parish of Broadnymett, which consisted of only 42 acres (about 67ha). The earliest recorded chaplain died in 1332. The surface of the access road immediately to the east of the chapel is excluded from the scheduling, where it falls within the chapel's 2m protective margin, although the ground beneath this feature is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 34285

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS70SW9, (1996)

End of official listing