Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Teignbridge (District Authority)
North Bovey
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 73935 83832


NORTH BOVEY NORTH BOVEY SX 78 SW 4/224 Church of St John the Baptist - 23.8.55


Parish church. C13 chancel, the remainder C15 with various C19 and early C20 restorations. Walls are rendered except for lower 2 stages of tower which are granite ashlar. Granite ashlar and volcanic stone detail. Slate roof to nave, chancel and aisles with crested ridge tiles and granite coping stones and kneelers. Nave with narrower chancel, north and south aisles and west tower. Single storey south porch. Perpendicular throughout except for C13 chancel. Unbuttressed west tower of 3 stages. Doorway on west side has jambs and arch each constructed out of 2 massive granite blocks, has pointed 4-centred arch with roll and hollow moulding and ball stops, with relieving arch above. Window above probably late C19 replacement, also has relieving arch. At the second stage on the south side is a very small slit window opening with arched head. On the east side at this stage is a small single light square-headed window opening. Round headed 2- light belfry openings at third stage except for north side which has 2 single light openings. Pentagonal stair turret projection on north side of tower with slit window openings, battlemented at the top and rising above the battlementation of the tower which has a 4-sided pinnacle at each corner with ball finials. Stone lean-to added probably in C19 in angle between tower and north aisle, partly enclosing stair turret. North aisle has buttresses set back from corners between windows. The plinth continues from the tower. 3-light Perpendicular traceried windows retain original jambs and hoodmoulds but tracery replaced in volcanic stone, also the mullion of the west window in granite. Between the 2 most easterly windows on the north side is semi-hexagonal rood stair turret projection with moulded granite capping. The chancel has no plinth. On its north side is a plain lancet window with 4-centred head. East window replaced in 1874 all in volcanic stone, 3-light Perpendicular style. On south side of chancel is single light window with 4- centred head. To its left is priest door with 4-centred arched granite surround, hollow chamfered. The plinth starts again at the south aisle chapel. East window of south chapel has original moulded granite jambs and hoodmould but mullions replaced in granite and tracery in volcanic stone in C19. Buttresses set back from corners of south aisle and intermediate ones between windows. 3-light Perpendicular traceried windows on the south side of the aisle the most easterly window retains its original granite mullions and jambs with tracery and hoodmould replaced in volcanic stone. The 2 windows to its left retain only their original jambs, the rest replaced. The gabled porch appears to have been added as it partially overlaps a buttress of the south aisle, probably late C15. It has setback buttresses and the plinth follows the same course as on the south aisle. The porch doorway has roll and hollow moulding to its granite jambs on inside and out with cushion stops on the outside and pointed 4-centred arch. The window to the left of the porch is the same as the previous 2. Good interior. Porch has wagon roof with moulded ribs and wall plates with bosses, with bosses also at either end of collar purlin. Holy water stoup in east wall. Stone seats either side with chamfered edge. Doorway to church has 2-centred granite arch with plain chamfer. The nave has octagonal stone pillars and capitals to either aisle with slight variation of squatter bases to south aisle and taller ones to north aisle. Both arcades have 4-centred arches. Granite voussoir arch to tower supported on chamfered jambs with a chamfered stone projecting inwards from the springing of the arch either side. The nave roof was treated for infested woodwork in 1955 when it was much repaired and any bosses and moulded timbers were presumably destroyed although the basic wagon roof structure survives with C20 boarding in between. The aisles have similar roof structure but with the moulded ribs, carved wall-plates and uncoloured bosses surviving, probably C15. The wagon roof to the chancel is particularly interesting for its bosses, some of which are purely decorative but others are pictorial or symbolic. 3 depict the heads of a king and 2 queens thought to be King Edward I (1272-1307) and his Queens, Margaret of France and Eleanor of Castille. Another shows 3 rabbits with their ears joining to form a triangle which may be symbolic of the Trinity. The wall-plates to the chancel also have a series of carved decorative and symbolic medallions. In the south wall of the chancel is a plain piscina. The south chapel also has a piscina in its south wall with trefoil-headed opening and carved spandrels. In the north chapel is an arched stone doorway to rood stairs with square-headed stone doorway at the top. Fine late C15 timber screen running across nave and both aisles but much mutilated by restoration probably mainly dating from the work of Rev W H Thornton 1874-6 who wrote in 1899 that he had "blended into the church of North Bovey all sorts of spoils from all sorts of Churches". It is Pevsner Type A with Perpendicular lights and pointed tracery with at least 3 different types of panelling and the carving in the spandrels mutilated and considerably replaced with fragments from other screens. The chancel doorway has jambs decorated with carved figures each standing under a crocketed canopy as at nearby Manaton Church. The cornice to the screen is mainly original and consists of alternate grapes and birds with running vine leaf. The whole is coated with a dark brown paint. Parclose screens either side of chancel with square-headed tracery and doorways, each has 1 early carved bench end attached at the west side of the doorway. Both also coated with brown paint. The altar in the south chapel is comprised of panels of Medieval panelling, possibly re-used, similar to the panelling of the screen, restored in its original colours. A few early bench ends survive, 1 has the initials W.P., possibly referring to William Pipard, an early Lord of the Manor. Another is more Renaissance in design and has the head of a man wearing a hat with a feather in it. Below him are 2 Tudor roses in circular plaques beneath which is a plant with a human face sprouting from the top. The church was mainly re-seated in 1919 during the restoration by Sir Charles Nicholson. Granite octagonal font with carved panels on each face and moulded pedestal. The carved oak pulpit dates from 1910 and replaces an C18 one. Fragments of Medieval glass survive in the upper tracery of the north window to the north chapel portraying the emblems of the 4 evangelists. The remainder of the window glass is mid-late C19 and early C20, some of which are commemorative. On the north side the glass is frosted while on the south side it is clear. There are a number of C17 granite tomb slabs in the aisles and nave, some decorative, whilst in the chancel are granite memorial slabs to former rectors including William Hambert (died 1670) and George Line (died 1684). Sources: The Church of North Bovey in Devonshire" - Mrs. R. Hughes, North Bovey. "A short history and Guide" - Rev. Leo Sherley-Price; Devon C19 Churches Project "Notes on North Bovey" - Rev. Fulford Williams.

Listing NGR: SX7393483827


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Hughes, R , The Church of North Bovey in Devonshire
Price, L, A Short History and Guide to the Church of St John the Baptist North Bovey
Williams, Fulford , Notes on North Bovey,


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 02 Jan 2001
Reference: IOE01/03069/08
Rights: Copyright IoE Norman Wigg. Source Historic England Archive
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