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

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

Mid Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 07602 16634


BURLESCOMBE BURLESCOMBE ST 01 NE 5/20 Church of St Mary the Virgin - 5.4.66 GV I

Parish church. Whole is C15 but not all the same phase, some C16 modernisation, tower and porch refurbished in 1677. Local stone rubble with quoins of larger dressed blocks but there is also some red sandstone and purple volcanic ashlar included, particularly in the north aisle; Hamstone and Beerstone ashlar detail; concrete tile roof, formerly slate. Plan: nave and chancel under a continuous roof, north and south aisles, west tower and north porch. The original nave and chancel probably occupied tne present nave and both aisles were built full length. The north aisle still contains the remains of the Ayshford Chapel. Present chancel was built in the late C15. Exterior: west tower of 2 stages with angle and diagonal buttresses and embattled parapet. Semi-octagonal stair turret in north-west corner surmounted by wrought iron weather vane. 2-light Hamstone belfry windows have stone grilles. Good Hamstone west doorway; round-headed with moulded surround, capitals and keystone and containing the original studded oak door with ovolo-moulded coverstrips. Hamstone plaque directly above has an egg and date frame. The inscription has mostly weathered away but it contains two legible dates. The earliest 1638 accords with the known date that the bells were rehung and therefore the date of 1677 is thought to be that of the doorway. Above the plaque is a Hamstone 3-light window with Perpendicular tracery and a hoodmould with label stops carved as human heads. The south aisle overlaps the tower and at this point there is a large blocked Beerstone 2-centred arch of unknown function. Above the tiny Beerstone window is a C20 replacement. Both aisles contain Beerstone 3-light windows with Perpendicular tracery. The chancel contains Hamstone windows also with Perpendicular tracery, one on the south side is square-headed and there is also a narrow blocked priests doorway there. South aisle rood stair turret converted to a chimneystack in C19. Near the right (west) end of the north aisle is a gabled porch. The round-headed Hamstone outer arch is a simpler version of that in the tower and is probably contemporary (1677). Above, a probably C15 Beerstone niche with crocketted canopy and above that a Beerstone panel carved with sunken quartrefoils containing heraldic arms. The north doorway is a Tudor arch with moulded surround and contains C19 doors. Interior: nave and chancel have a continuous ceiled wagon-like roof, apparently C 19 with applied strips as purlins and ribs and plain block bosses. The wall plate in the chancel however is the original; carved as foliage and interrupted by a series of angels holding shields. Both aisles have C15 ceiled wagon roofs with moulded purlins and ribs and carved oak bosses; some of them have been replaced, particularly in the north aisle. The south aisle roof has a moulded wall plate but the north aisle wall plate is carved and interrupted by carved angels holding shields. Tall plain tower arch. No chancel arch. Both sides of the nave are 3-bay Beerstone arcades with moulded columns (Pevsner's type B) but the capitals and bases are different. In the C19 the rood stair was converted to a chimneystack but in the C20 the rood stair was restored to its original form with plain Beerstone doorways; it is in the south aisle. In a corresponding position in the north aisle there is a round-backed alcove. The walls are plastered. The floor is stone-flagged and includes some graveslabs in the Ayshford Chapel (north aisle). The sanctuary floor is made up of patterns of C19 encaustic tiles. The plain Beerstone piscina in the sanctuary is probably original. Sandstone reredos carved in Gothic style was erected in memory of Isabella Macritchie (died 1891). Ornately-carved C18 altar table with claw feet. C19 oak altar rail with wrought iron standards. C19 stalls in Gothic style. A part of the original oak rood screen has been set across the front of the present chancel. It is 5 bays with panelled wainscotting with square-headed windows containing slender Perpendicular tracery; it has a replacement cornice. In front of it is a rare example of a front stall, possibly contemporary with the screen; it is in the same style. The Gothic style sandstone pulpit was erected to commemorate the 1887 Jubilee. Oak C19 eagle lectern. C19 oak benches, their ends carved with blind Gothic tracery. Good C15 Hamstone font; octagonal bowl carved with sunken quatrefoils, panelled stem with corner pilasters and 2-step plinth. The Ayshford chapel altar is a good C17 table with carved bulbous legs and inlaid marquetry frieze. Monuments: in the sanctuary an undated chest tomb in memory of William Ashford (died 1508). Black marble lid and the Beerstone sides are carved as a blind crocketted arcade containing a series of angels with shields. The paint is C19 or C20. Two good C17 mural monuments in the Ayshford Chapel. Both are built of different marbles and painted. They feature carved figures kneeling each side of a prayer desk and set in ornate architectural frames surmounted by the Ayshford arms. One is in memory of Regery Ayshford (died 1610), the other in memory of Elizabeth Ayshford (died 1635). The chancel contains a C19 painted board featuring the Lords Prayer and the tower arch is flanked by C19 Commandment boards. There are also 2 bolection-framed panels which have been painted over. Most of the stained glass is C19 but some earlier glass is preserved in the tracery. Source: Church guide.

Listing NGR: ST0759916632


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

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Books and journals
Guide to Church of St Mary the Virgin Burlescombe


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: 09 May 2003
Reference: IOE01/09779/17
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Peter McLaren. Source Historic England Archive
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