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.

Torridge (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SS 42459 26415


ABBOTSHAM SS42NW 2/7 Church of St. Helen 20.2.58 GV. II * Anglican parish church. Early C13, with tower of c.1300; restored 1870. Coursed slatestone rubble with ashlar dressings; gabled slate roof with C19 coping and kneelers. Cruciform plan: early C13 nave and chancel; tower of c.1300 to north east and early C14 south chapel. Mid/late C19 east window of 3 graduated lancets; early C13 two-light chamfered round-arched window to north with C19 mullion and sill; C13 chamfered lancet window to south. Late Cl9 vestry to south has hoodmould over pointed chamfered doorway and lateral stack flanked by trefoiled lancets. South transept: early C14 quatrefoil light to east; hood mould over early C14 two-light south window with curvilinear tracery and C20 mullions; mid/late C19 four-light west window and two 2-light Y-tracery windows set in square-headed architraves. Three-stage north-east tower of c.1300 has offset corner buttresses to lower-stage; c. 1300 Y-tracery 2-light window above blocked door to north; similar C19 window to east; C13 lancet window beneath string course of belfry stage, which has Y-tracery 2-light windows of c.1300; string course beneath crenellated parapet. Rood-stair projection in north-east corner of nave. In east gable of nave are label moulds over two C17 two-light mullioned windows, and a C14 trefoiled light. The nave has much C19 restoration, including the offset buttresses, hammer-dressed quoining to south west and fenestration. Mid C19 two-light Decorated-style window and Y-tracery window to south; to north side of nave is mid C19 two-light Decorated-style window and C13 lancet window flanking mid C19 porch with pointed-arched doorways and studded door. Mid C19 three-light Decorated-style west window. Interior: rendered walls. Beautifully-carved reredos, with figures of angels and central nativity scene set in crocketed canopies, in memory of Rev. E.M.W. Sealy (d. 1914) and his son (d. 1915). Piscina restored with marble basin at same time. C19 chancel arch. C15 waggon roofs with moulded ribs and foliate-carved bosses to chancel (with some C19 restoration), nave and south transept: nave roof has carved figures holding shields which have emblems of various trade guilds, including fuller's tucker (a pair of scissors), carpenter's square, hammer and axe, and anchor, spade and mason's trowel; one shield has arms of Tavistock Abbey, which was the rector of the church. Pointed chamfered arches to transepts. Fittings: chancel has late C19 choir tiles, encaustic sanctuary tiles laid by Henrietta Josepha Hatherly in memory of her sister, d.1847, and marble floor laid in memory of Rev. R.W. Sealy, d. 1914. Nave has late C19 chair and eagle lectern, and Gothic-style pulpit erected 1896. C12 font has fluted bowl set on cable-moulded stem. C15 and C16 bench ends, carved with tracery, foliate decoration and Renaissance emblems as well as Christ bearing the Cross and emblems of the Passion and the initials J.W. and the woolstapler's mark: John Willett was responsible for the plasterwork dated 1616 at Coombe House (q.v). Traceried bench front next to west door is mostly C19 but includes some C15 fragments and a vine-trail moulding. The pews, built in 1724, have brass plates fixed to them, recording names of farms in the parish and which originated in a dispute about seating: the plates mark the seats alloted by a commission appointed in 1723 by the Bishop of Exeter. Monuments: chancel has tablets to Anthony Hony, d. 1639 (with epitaph), Rev. William Walter, d. 1846, and John Walker, d. 1807, and sons; mid C19 Gothic-style tablet to Fortescues and family; heraldic achievement set above memorial to Margaretta Burges, d. 1721/2. Memorial tablets in nave dated 1835, 1916 and 1917; also in nave is memorial to John Willett of Combe, d. 1736, which has heraldic achievement set in broken segmental pediment flanked by angels set above oval panel inscription panel surrounded by drapery swags flanked by scrolls and Corinthian columns. Mid C19 and C20 brasses and tablets in north transept. (Buildings of England: North Devon, pp. 37-8; National Monuments Record; Devon County Record Office, Faculty Petitions (Diocesan Records), No. 1 for Abbotsham Parish).

Listing NGR: SS4245926415


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

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N , The Buildings of England: Devon North, (1952), 37-38


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: 18 Oct 2006
Reference: IOE01/15953/21
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Warlow. Source Historic England Archive
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