Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

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

Teignbridge (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 85614 84684


ASHTON HIGHER ASHTON SX 88 SE 6/14 Church of St John the Baptist 30.6.61 GV I Parish church. Early C15, restored 1881-83 to the designs of the rector, Rev. R Dennett, further restoration 1899-1901 by Ponting of Marlborough. Coursed stone, partly rendered, granite rubble tower, freestone and granite dressings; slate roof. Plan: west tower, nave, chancel, north aisle, north east Lady Chapel, south porch, north-west vestry. Perpendicular, the heraldic glass dating from the period of Bishop Lacy, 1420-55, (Pevsner), the whole church possibly of this date. The 1899- 1901 restoration involved repairing the roof and window tracery ; reslating and relaying the floor. Choir stalls and restoration of screen probably also date from this period. Exterior: Gabled chancel with 3-light C19 Perpendicular east window; shallow rectangular rood loft stair turret on south side; moulded arched south priest's doorway with 3 plank C17 door and 2 Perpendicular windows with considerable C19 stonework replacement. The nave has a gabled rendered porch flanked by similar Perpendicular windows. The north aisle, east end flush with the chancel has an east window similar to the chancel and five 3-light Perpendicular north windows with much replaced stonework; C19 3-light Perpendicular west window with uncarved label stops, 3 stage battlemented dressed moorstone west tower with corner obelisk finials, diagonal buttresses with set-offs, string courses and plinth and internal south-west stair. Fine Perpendicular granite west window, deeply traceried door; 3-light granite Perpendicular west window, deeply recessed; 2-light chamfered belfry openings on all 4 faces, chamfered 1-light openings to bellringers' stage on west and south faces. Gabled porch with rounded chamfered outer doorway and a chamfered inner doorway with a probably C17 plank and stud door; moulded arch braced medieval roof with brattished wallplate; medieval benches with stone seats; trefoil-headed statue niche over inner doorway. Interior: Outstanding for Perpendicular fittings, painting and stained glass. Plastered walls; no chancel arch; fine double-chamfered granite tower arch with moulded responds and capitals; unusually elaborate 5-bay Beerstone arcade, 1 bay to the chancel, with piers with clustered shafts with capitals similar to the tower arch and moulded arches. Open waggon roofs with moulded ribs, carved foliage bosses and a brattished wallplate to nave and chancel. Important 8-bay C15 roodscreen, the coving an early C20 replacement incorporating some medieval carving. The roodscreen paintings are probably the best in the county: conventional dado paintings on the west side and exceptionally fine large demi-figures on the east side and parclose which has 6 square-headed traceried bays. 2-centred granite doorway to rood loft, rebated for a door. Full set of Perpendicular nave bench ends and benches, with C20 repair. Most of the bench ends have 2 tiers of blind tracery, some of the benches have good carved bench backs. Perpendicular Beerstone font with an octagonal bowl with foliage carving at the junction with the stem. Heraldry carved on the bowl is said to record the marriage in 1476 of Sir James Chudleigh of Place Barton (q.v.) and Margaret Stourton. Fine late C16 timber drum pulpit with tester, the drum decorated with tiers of round-headed arches and strapwork, reeded pilasters and a dentil frieze below the cornice. Well-carved tester, the soffit decorated with applied ribs, bosses and stars. The chancel has a trefoil-headed piscina and a tomb recess below the south window, a moulded granite tomb slab decorated with a cross is partly built into this recess. C18 altar rails, C19 tiling and choir stalls; C19 timber eagle lectern in nave; 1735 painted Royal Arms in nowy-headed frame over nave door. C17 altar table to north- east chapel. Wall Monuments : Remarkable C17 timber wall monument in north wall to Sir George Chudleigh, died 1657. A timber board, flanked by columns and crowned with armorial bearings with obelisk finials to left and right, records the descent and matrimonial alliances of the Chudleighs with shields painted with coats of arms; inscription panel below board. On the north wall a severe Egyptian style monument to William Godfrey, died 1798 is signed T Robinson. Stained Glass Early C15 by the Doddiscombsleigh school of glass painters and evidently the remains of a large scheme. The surviving figure glass is fragmentary, the heraldic glass in the head tracery is more complete and indicates Chudleigh alliances. The glass was restored in 1901-2 by F. Morris Drake of Exeter who commented on its remarkable technical qualities; east window designed by Drake. Wall painting : Unusually well-preserved wall-painting on north wall of north east chapel showing the mass of St Gregory, further fragment of painting on east wall of chapel; it is likely that other wall-paintings survive behind later plaster and paint. An outstanding medieval church with important medieval paintings, woodwork and stained glass. Adams, Maxwell "A Brief Accound of Ashton Church and of some of the Chudleighs of Ashton", TDA Vol 33 (1899) pp 185-198 Drake, Morris "Heraldic Stained Glass in Ashton Church" Exeter Diocesan Architectural and Archaeological Society Transactions, 3rd series, vol 2, pp 167-174 Brooks, C and Evans, D, unpublished notes on the stained glass of Ashton Church. Devon Nineteenth Century Churches Project.

Listing NGR: SX8561284685


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

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Books and journals
'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Transactions of the Devonshire Association, (1899)
'Transactions of the Exeter Diocesan Architectural and Archaeological Society' in Transactions of the Exeter Diocesan Architectural and Archaeological Society, , Vol. 2, (), 167-174


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

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Date: 27 Jul 2001
Reference: IOE01/04986/07
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Ernie W. King. Source Historic England Archive
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