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.

North Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SS 59121 23123


ATHERINGTON ATHERINGTON SS 52 SE 5/17 Church of St Mary - 25.2.65 GV I

Parish church. C15, north aisle C16. Restored 1880s by J L Pearson. Stone rubble with ashlar dressings. Slate roofs with crested ridge tiles, apex crosses to coped parapets. West tower, nave, north aisle, south transept and porch. Tower of 3 stages with embattled parapet and polygonal stair turret rising above the tower on south side. Short diagonal buttresses to tower. Square-headed windows of 2 trefoil-headed lights to each face of third stage with drip moulds and louvres. 2 single trefoil-headed lights under continuous dripmoulds to east side. Clock face to south side, second stage. West window of 4 lights, Perpendicular style with unusual tracery repeated in the windows of 4 lights to end of south transept and to chancel east end, and of 3 lights to the 2 windows on north side of north chancel chapel. All the windows have iron stanchions and saddle bars. West tower doorway with pointed arched hoodmould, fleuron decoration around the hollow moulded door surround. Nave south side has a Perpendicular style 2-light window, square-headed with dripmould. South porch to right has C19 double chamfered pointed arched doorway. Smaller Perpendicular inner door surround with single plain chamfer and C19 dripmould. Fine south porch waggon roof of 7 ribs with half bosses to each end and full bosses to the moulded central rib at the intersections with the transverse members. The ribs spring from crenellated wall plates decorated with carved foliage and plain shields. 3-light Perpendicular windows between porch and south transept, to east side of south transept and 2 to south side of chancel with depressed pointed arched hoodmoulds flanking priests door with a hollow-with-cyma-reversa moulded surround, and pointed arched hoodmould with clasping foliage to the returned ends. 3-light Perpendicular window to east end of north aisle. North aisle north doorway, pointed arch with fleuron decoration to the hollow moulded surround. 2 tall, probably late C16 straight- headed transomed windows with 4-centred arched lights to left and 3-light window in similar style but untransomed over the doorway. Perpendicular 3-light window to its right and at west end of north aisle. Interior: much of the C15/C16 fabric survives. Tall unmoulded pointed tower arch. Nave arcade of 4 bays with depressed pointed arches supported on slender piers of Pevsner 'A' Type with capitals only to the main shafts. Chancel arcade of 2 bays with plain moulded pointed arches. Similar arch to south transept. Fine waggon roofs survive throughout, those to chancel and north aisle have carved armorial devices. Variously carved bosses to every fourth moulded rib to each roof at the intersections of the transverse members. Carved figures to the base of each moulded rib to the south transept roof. C19 pattern tiles to chancel. Old misere choir seats survive to each side of chancel, 6 stalls to each side, the 2 end seats returning to back onto the chancel screen. 2 of the south side seats have foliated misericords. The screens are particularly interesting survivals. That between chancel and nave is square-framed, of 4 lights to each side of central opening, with slender muntins, crocketted above the lipped capitals, and pinnacled ogival heads to the lights with mouchette tracery, surmounted by a crenellated wall plate. The lower stage is of 6 panels to each side, with blind tracery repeating that of the windows. Screen between aisle and chancel remarkably retains its loft. The screen is of 4½ bays, the left end half bay with a closing rib to the coving. Each bay of 2 lights with slender muntins which have carved angel figures at springing level, supporting richly carved ribbed coving with cornice of 3 bands above. Lower stage has blind cusped tracery to the panels with foliated designs to the base. The loft of c.1530-40 has 4 full canted niche canopies, with richly carved cresting and pinnacled ogival heads. A sixth niche has been partly cut away beneath the end arcade arch. 4 of the styles supporting the canopies have been removed presumably when the painted panels were introduced. These have now been reversed and so face the gallery. The 7 panels are arranged so that 2 with painted shields flank a wide panel depicting the Royal Arms with 2 narrow panels to left to each side of a scripted panel, and a single narrow panel to right end. The rear of the loft has 12 panels with blind tracery and vine leaf decoration to the top and bottom rails. The chancel/nave screen is said to have come from the chapel at Umberleigh House (q.v.) but the evidence for this is uncertain. Access to the loft is by a plain chamfered pointed arched doorway. Fine set of 7 pairs of poppy head bench ends to front of nave, carved and crocketted with interestingly varied blind Perpendicular tracery. The benches retain their moulded back rails and benches. Pews to north aisle, rear of nave and base of tower, possibly C17, are also complete. Along north aisle and nave wall are delicately wrought iron candelabra, 3 to north aisle, 4 to nave. C15 font with octagonal bowl and stem, the bowl with blind quatrefoil panels to each facet, 4 of which clasp plain shields. C19 pulpit. Monuments: north chancel chapel. Knight mid C13, cross-legged with band of foliage around the base, said to be Sir William Champernowne of Umberleigh. Cluster of 3 chest tombs in east chancel arcade, the raised tomb with blind quatrefoil tracery to the base has 2 C14 figures, the male figure in armour, the female figure with square-cut head dress said to represent Sir Ralph Willington Kt (d.1349) and Lady Eleanor (Mohun) his wife. Chest tomb adjoining on north side has damaged inscription to Sir Arthur Bassett and Eleanora his wife. Tomb on west side with brasses of Sir John Bassett (d.1529) flanked by his 2 wives with 2 groups of 5 children to left, 7 to right and 4 brasses of shields to each corner, that to top left is missing. On south side of plinth are 2 panels each enclosing a quatrefoil containing letters S.I.K.B. and a shield, impaled but blank west end has 2 large shields with Bassett arms. Wall monument, south side of chancel, C17 with medallions to centre of edges on each of the 4 sides, depicting angel bust above, skull below, anchor to left and hour glass to right. Wall monument to west wall of south transept, early C18 Classical urn flanked by foliage. Ionic colonnettes supporting frieze with central shield. Oval medallion with amorinos to each side at top. Damaged skull to base below plank tablet with scrolled surround. Marble wall tablet, erected 1832 over south porch doorway recording death of George Burgess, Rector (d.1829) and the death of 4 of his children in 1816 from "malignant fever then raging in the parish". East chancel window with stained glass by Clayton and Bell. The window to north side of north chancel chapel contains much medieval glass, reworked in 1883 also by Clayton and Bell to depict the Coronation of the Virgin.

Listing NGR: SS5912123124


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

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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: 23 Apr 2001
Reference: IOE01/02875/14
Rights: Copyright IoE Dr Ann Allen. Source Historic England Archive
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