IDEFORD CHURCH ROAD, Ideford
SX 87 NE
4/85 Church of St Mary
Parish church. C12 re-sited tympanum, late C15/early C16 west tower and arcade, the
rest of the church thoroughly rebuilt in 1850 by Wightwick and Damont except for the
chancel which was added in 1883 by Dampier of Colchester (DRO). Local stone rubble,
the chancel snecked brecchia and sandstone; tower dressings granite, C19 dressings
Bathstone; slate roofs with crested ridge tiles to the chancel.
West tower, nave, chancel, 3-bay north arcade (originally 2-bay and presumably 1-bay
to the medieval chancel), lean-to vestry on north side of chancel, south west porch.
Apart from the tympanum there is no evidence of fabric earlier than the late
C15/early C16. The tower details suggest an early C16 date, the design of the arcade
is a probably a late Perpendicular regional type (q.v. Dunchideock and Exminster).
The roof of the north aisle is puzzling, could it be post Reformation? In 1846 the
nave was of 2 bays only, there was a road screen (ceilure survives) and fragments of
stained glass (Davidson). Wightwick and Damont were known as anti High church
architects and the incumbent of 1852 "a staunch Protestant". This explains the
unecclesiological character of the 1850 restoration in a diocese noted for
ecclesiological restoration. The walls of nave and aisle were reconstructed with new
windows and a south porch was added. There is also evidence that a west gallery was
added or rebuilt. In 1883 a completely new chancel was added by Dampier in a more
correct style, the old chancel and north chancel chapel being absorbed into the nave.
The ceilure was left in its original position and is now half way down the nave.
Early C20 chancel fittings and some late C20 re-arrangement.
The 1883 chancel has angle buttresses, a coped east gable and 3-light Perpendicular
style east window with a hoodmould and moulded architrave. The south side has 2
buttresses, 1 2-light decorated style window to the east and a 2-light Perpendicular
style window to the west with a square head. Built into the wall above this is a
circa C12 granite tympanum with a bird and scroll-tailed dragon on either side of a
conventional foliage motif. On the north side of the chancel a vestry and organ
chamber with a lean-to roof with a chamfered arched doorway in the east wall and 2
large C19 lancets on the north wall, one on each side of a buttress. The nave has a
steeply-gabled 1850 porch in the westernmost bay with buttresses, a coped gable and a
chamfered arched outer doorway repaired in artificial stone. Ovolo-moulded arched
inner doorway of 1850 with a co-eval plank door with large ornamental strap hinges.
2 2-light Tudor arched nave windows of 1850 with tracey and a straight joint in the
masonry between them. The north aisle has 3 similar windows of 1850 and a co-eval 2-
light square-headed west window with cusped lights. Late C15/early C16 unbuttressed
battered west tower with battlementing, heavily-crocketted corner pinnacles with
finials and an internal south west stair turret. The west face has a plain chamfered
moulded granite doorway with an 1886 oak door with an outer order of carving "the
work of a dwarf at Teignmouth named Austin" (Creswell). A 3-light square-headed west
window has uncusped lights. The west, south and north faces have 1-light rounded
openings at bellringer's stage and all 4 faces have 2-light uncusped belfry windows.
Slit stair windows on the south east corner, single gargoyles below the battlementing
on the north and south sides. The north side has a blocked opening to the ground
floor stage which was probably a doorway to a former west gallery.
Interior Apart from the nave and aisle roofs and the 3-bay arcade the interior is
C19 with some early C20 fittings. Plastered walls ; double-chamfered 1883 chancel
arch on responds with engaged shafts and moulded capitals ; plain tall tower arch.
3bay arcade with double-chamfered rounded arches on octagonal columns with chamfered
capitals (q.v. Dunchideock and Exminster). The nave roof is a ceiled waggon with
moulded ribs and flat carved bosses, the ceilure (in the middle bay) is very complete
with panels decorated with diagonal filligree carving and applied stars. The aisle
roof is unusual: flat with deeply chamfered cross beams, wallplates and a central rib
with carved bosses; it could be C17. 3-bay 1883 arched brace chancel roof, boarded
behind, the principal rafters carried on wooden posts on moulded stone corbels.
Surviving features of 1883 include an aumbry on the north wall, altar rails and C19
tiling. Carved choir stalls of 1904, altar table of 1983. Open traceried pulpit on
stone base, the tracery said to have originated from the rood screen. Font with an
octagonal bowl with quatrefoils on an arcaded octagonal stem described by Pevsner as
"Perp" but possibly recut in 1897 (date on font cover). Unadorned nave benches of
1850; reredos of 1924 re-sited at the west end of the aisle carved with the 4 fathers
of the Latin church, the Annunciation and the Nativity; several old ledger stones
used as nave paving. The tower arch has 2 moulded C19 corbels which probably
supported the C19 west gallery; late Perpendicular Tudor arched doorway to tower
stair. Good east window glass, presumably erected in 1883; several armorial windows
including late medieval glass restored in the C19; tower window and west window of
aisle by Drake of Exeter.
The medieval ceilure is a particularly important feature of the church.
Cresswell, B. Typescript, "Notes on Devon churches, Deanery of Moretonhampstead",
Vol. 1. (1921). West Country Studies Library
Davidson MS notes on Devon churches.West Country Studies Library
Devon C19 Churches Project.
Listing NGR: SX8942177404