COMBE MARTIN CHURCH STREET, Combe Martin
SS 54 NE
1/61 Church of St Peter ad Vincula
Parish church. C13 fabric to south transept and, principally on south side, to
chancel and nave. In early C15 the north aisle and north chancel chapel, north
porch and west tower were added, and in late C15 or early C16 a north transept.
South porch rebuilt 1725. Church restored 1858 and again 1881. Stone rubble with
ashlar dressings; dressed stone facade to south porch. Slate roofs with coped
gable ends and apex crosses. Embattled parapets to west tower, vestry, north
transept and north porch.
Probably originally cruciform on plan, the earlier north transept removed when north
aisle was added and now comprising: west tower, nave, chancel, north aisle and
chancel chapel, north and south transepts and porches.
Impressively tall west tower of 4 stages. Embattled parapets with crocketted corner
pinnacles surmounted by crosses. Setback buttresses with grotesque carved animal-
figures to the top offsets and trefoil-headed niches to north and south buttresses
containing statues. Integral stair turret at south-west corner. Large 3-light
Perpendicular bell-openings to each face. 4-light Perpendicular west window with
pointed arched corbelled hoodmould. Cusped niche above containing figure of Christ.
Perpendicular west doorway with label hoodmould and fleuron and shield decoration
around the central hollow moulding. South side has single trefoil-headed light to
second stage above a window of 2 trefoil headed lights with quatrefoil tracery
beside which is an ogee-headed niche to the right with statue.
3 narrow C19 Perpendicular style windows of 2 lights each, 1 to each side of south
porch, the third to the south transept. The westernmost window bears traces of a
C15 4-centred arch, but the embrasures of the other 2 are C13, widened slightly in
C18. South porch has unmoulded semi-circular headed dressed stone doorway with
slate sundial above dated 1753. Plain ceiled barrel roof. Pointed arched inner
doorway with chamfered surround and C19 door incorporating old sanctuary ring and
lock. Opposing boards above the arches at either end bearing painted texts, that
over inner doorway is nowy-arched with painted angels bust to the top. South
transept has slate wall monument to left of window by R Pile of Ilfracombe with
inscription to Mary Clegg (d.1810). Chancel south side has 2 C19 lancets flanking
trefoil-headed priests door. Wall tablet to Johan Ash (d.1668) and husband.
Stepped 3-light lancet east window. 2 slate wall headstones to left to William
Cutcliffe, mariner by W Facey and Jane Cutcliffe (d.1832). Large Perpendicular
style 4-light east window to north aisle. 2 slate wall headstones below to Mary
Lerwill (d.1837) and husband and to Richard Nutt (d.1781) 'last of that family
called Nutt from Coulcott' with indictment never to open these graves. Third slate
headstone to Thomas Wade 'some years a faithful assistant in the Free School in
Combe Martin'. (d.1773).
North side has symmetrical disposition of vestry, transept and porch with diagonal
buttresses and embattled parapet. Single lancet to east side of vestry. 4-light
Perpendicular style 4-centred arched window to south transept, flanked by pointed-
arched Perpendicular style windows to north aisle. Lead rainwater head in angle of
south transept and north aisle. The height of the porch suggests it once contained
a parvise. Infilled niche above pointed arched doorway with moulded surround with
engaged shafts. Pointed arched inner door with board above with painted text. On
external east wall of porch are 2 wall monuments, that to left early C19, straight-
headed with incised Ionic pilasters to round arch, winged angels to spandrels and
inscription to members of Dovell family, that to right ogee-headed with angel to top
and inscription to John Linch, joiner (d.1781) 'Aged abuet 65 years'. Two 3-light
Perpendicular style windows to right of porch and to west end of aisle.
Interior; fine waggon roofs throughout (except to south transept which has a plain
ceiled barrel roof) with moulded ribs and purlins and carved bosses at the
intersections. The north transept roof is of smaller panels and has carved paterae
to the centre of each panel. Stone corbels at intervals to nave and north aisle
below the wall plates probably formerly carried carved demi-angels to the foot of
North arcade to nave of 3 bays with Pevsner B-type piers and stiff-leaf capitals.
Twin arches between chancel and chancel chapel, the western pier with double
trefoil-headed blind tracery to north and south sides and on west side are 2
canopied niches with 2 statues supported on slender engaged faceted shafts with
original painted scrolling foliage pattern below and to backs of niches. The niches
are incorporated in the fine C15 screen of 9½ bays. The chancel bays are of 3
panels, the chancel chapel bays of 4 panels, all the panels except 3 retaining
original painted figures. Each bay is of 4 lights with Pevsner type A tracery, the
stiles, muntins and back middle rail retaining chevron and other painted decoration.
The coving and cornice are C20 replacements to the front, but to rear west end above
the arches is a plastered cornice bearing date 1727 and initialled IP TH. Late C15
or early C16 parclose screen with carved spandrels and cornice of 5 bays.
Pevsner 'B' type mouldings to tall pointed tower arch, and similar responds to north
transept arch with concave capitals. C13 unmoulded pointed arch to south transept.
C19 patterned tiled floor to chancel. C19 nave seating. C15 font with octagonal
lead-lined bowl decorated with blind traceried panels to each facet. Short circular
stem with 4 outer supporting colonettes. C16 oak chest. Semi-circular headed
doorway at foot of rood loft stairs in south transept. 10 C16 carved bench ends to
north chancel chapel, some of the benches retaining original timber. Probably C15
vestry plank door with original sanctuary ring and lock and similar door to west
tower stair turret. Large painted Royal Arms to west tower.
Monuments. Chancel, south wall. Wall monument to Richard Harding (d.1831) and
family by J Gould of Barnstaple. North aisle, to George Ley (d.1716). Rectangular
plaque with pilasters and cherubs head above skull to top. Early C18 wall monument
to Harding family with fluted pilasters capped with urns, semi-circular headed arch
with achievement to base, plaque below with shaped head. North chancel chapel.
North side, marble monument to Judith Ivatt (d.1634), wife of Thomas Ivatt 'his
Majesty's principal sercher in the port of London'. Semi-circular headed pediment
with standing putti, achievement and frontal demi-figure flanked by colonnettes.
Brass on south side to William Hancock (d.1587) with coat-of-arms above inscription.
Stained glass: to all principal windows, chancel east window to R M Thomas (d.1862),
south-west nave window to Francis Thomas (d.1856), north aisle west window to
William Dovell (d.1866), north window to Harding family and east window of chancel
chapel to John and Mary Staple. The chancel west lancet retains some medieval glass
to the central portion depicting seraphim and wheels.
Listing NGR: SS5863046309