6/125 Church of St. Swithun
Church. Mid C13 nave and chancel; late C13 north transept; early
C15 south aisle and west tower; restored in 1892 for Rev. H.G.
Morse, rector from 1878, by Temple Moore. C13 masonry of coursed
slatestone rubble; C15 masonry is of squared and coursed
slatestone rubble with chamfered plinth. Gabled late C19 slate
and plain tile roofs. Plan of nave and chancel, with north
transept, south aisle and west tower. Chancel has hood mould
with head stops over Perpendicular 3-light east window with
trefoiled heads, and 2 quatrefoil lights above; C13 lancet window
to north; hood mould over late C19 four-light Perpendicular-style
window. 3-bay south wall of aisle has, from east, a chamfered
round-arched doorway, and label moulds over C15 five, 4 and
3-light windows with cinquefoiled heads and mullions restored in
late C19; west gable of south aisle has hood mould over C15
Perpendicular 2-light window with quatrefoil in head and
cinquefoiled lights. Late C19 south porch. Three-stage C15 west
tower has offset diagonal corner buttresses (which rise to second
stage) and string courses: hood mould over 3-light
cinquefoil-headed window with panel tracery above hood mould over
moulded pointed-arched doorway; north-east stair-turret with slit
lights; label moulds over 2-light cinquefoil-headed windows with
louvres to belfry; crenellated parapet. Interior:rendered walls.
C13 trefoiled piscina. C15 waggon roofs to south aisle, nave and
chancel, with moulded ribs and brattished cornices; panels of
ceiling were painted with stencilled decoration in late C19;
foliate-carved ribs to east end of south aisle roof; C15 five-bay
arcade has moulded depressed arches set on the usual quatrefoil
piers; the capitals have foliate, vine and brattished carving.
North transept has round-arched doorway to stone newel-type rood
stairs. West tower has C15 studded and ribbed door. Fittings:
communion rails and choir stalls installed 1924. Late C16 bench
ends in nave, carved with Renaissance dolphins and arabesques;
some moulded top rails of benches are C16 but most are C19. C15
square font with quatrefoil panels and C18 lid. C13 parish
chest, made from hollowed-out log, with solid slab lid,
strengthened by iron bands and hinges with 3 hinges for locks.
Late C19 fittings are of fine quality: altar, communion rail,
choir stalls with linenfold panelling and carved bench ends,
lectern with crocketed pinnacles and panelled pulpit. Marble
floor. Finely-carved and painted rood screen by Temple Moore,
after the screen at Patricio in Monmouthshire. Fine C17 Dutch
chandeliers also installed during Rev. H.G. Temple Moore's
restoration. C15-16 floor tiles. Wall paintings: rendered walls
Morse' s restoration uncovered several medieval paintings which
were painted over for lack of resources to restore them.
Round-arched recess in north transept has early C14 coloured
figure of St Swithun, with his dexter hand raised in blessing:
figure is flanked by vine trails and intrados of arch is
patterned with coloured decoration. Monuments: fine late
medieval style marble chest tomb to Lt.-Gen. H.H. Crealock, d.
1891, by Temple Moore. Crealock is shown as reclining figure with
his hand on a sword, feet resting on lion and angels flanking
pillow beneath his head. Sides of chest have figures of saints
and angels under crocketed canopies. Two mid C18 tablets, to
Grace Guard and Anthony Welsh, d. 1744, set in architectural
frames in west tower. Stained glass: fine glass by Kempe, 1894,
to east window and to south windows of saints to aisle. South
chancel window is dated 1892.
(Buildings of England: North Devon, p. 114 ; National Monuments
Record; plans dated 1892 by Temple Moore, showing south porch,
north transept, reflooring and reseating in Devon County Record
office, Exeter, under Faculty Petitions, No's 3 and 8 for
Littleham Parish; the Rev. H.G. Morse's diary, which records the
restoration of the church, is kept by the churchwarden).
Listing NGR: SS4435323499