The Chapel


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
West Down, Ilfracombe, Devon, EX34 8NQ


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Statutory Address:
West Down, Ilfracombe, Devon, EX34 8NQ

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

North Devon (District Authority)
West Down
National Grid Reference:


A Sunday School of 1873 incorporating part of an earlier Independent Chapel of 1829.

Reasons for Designation

The Chapel, a former Independent Chapel and School Room of 1829 and 1873, West Down, Devon is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: the building retains the austere architectural appearance redolent of the building type and has handsome and well-crafted features in quality materials, notably the windows to the principal ground-floor former schoolroom;

* Historical interest: as a C19 former school room, later reused for church services when the adjacent chapel was demolished, it embodies the long tradition of nonconformist worship in the area and the changing spiritual needs of this rural community;

* Interior: the general layout of building and some internal features survive including a plaque from the original chapel.


An Independent Chapel was built at West Down in 1829 on land given by Mr John Gammon. The opening service was taken by Rev G. Smith. Mr John Norrington became minister at the chapel in 1847 and refurbishments took place in 1849 and 1868. A marble memorial plaque to Norrington was installed in the chapel following his death in 1870. The vacant position was filled by Rev Charles Pozzi in June 1870, whose son Antonio Lorenzo Pozzi died in 1873 aged three and whose grave is marked in front of the former chapel. In the same year, two cottages adjoining the chapel were bought and replaced with a Sunday school including an upstairs tea room and kitchen. The chapel and Sunday school, with a walled forecourt, are shown on the Ordnance Survey Map of 1889. The Sunday school is recorded as having served as a day school for a period in the late C19 and the upper floor probably served as an additional school room.

The centenary of the chapel was celebrated in February 1930. Falling church attendances in the mid C20 led to the closure of the Sunday school and the ending of evening services in 1977. The chapel was demolished in 1985 and its fittings and the plaque to John Norrington transferred to the Sunday school, where services subsequently took place. Services ceased in 1995, after which the building was adapted for residential use.


A former Congregational Sunday School of 1873 date converted to a dwelling in the late C20 and including walling of the former chapel and a grave marker.

MATERIALS: built of rubble with ashlar dressings, the west flank elevation is clad in artificial slates and the east flank is rendered. The roof is covered in slate.

PLAN: rectangular on plan under a gabled roof, the west wall is the original flank wall of the former adjacent chapel. An attic storey is accessed by stairs positioned towards the rear (north) of the building, separating the former school room from the kitchen. The attic floor has been subdivided to form living accommodation.

EXTERIOR: the façade has a central door with two-centred arch and a plaque above. The plaque reads: INDEPENDENT SUNDAY SCHOOL/ FOUNDATION STONE/ LAID BY/ MRS NORRINGTON/ JUNE 24TH 1873.

Two-centred arch windows to both sides have eared architraves and Y-tracery. There is a circular opening in the gable at attic floor level. The west flank has a modern door to the left and a chapel window to the centre that is obscured by modern translucent tiles. The east flank has two, two-centred arch windows to the ground-floor and modern dormers breaking through the eaves above. To the right is a modern door and casement with a horned timber sash above.

INTERIOR: the main entrance leads into a lobby with inserted matchboarded cloakroom and door to the principal ground-floor room, which has pine floorboards. A marble wall monument to John Norrington of Barnstaple is fixed to the west wall. A modern woodburner with brick-arched opening has been inserted in the east wall. A rear door leads to a small stone-flagged lobby to the stairs and kitchen, the latter having a late C19 door with fanlight. At the top of the stair is a timber balustrade and there is some other late C19 joinery to some rooms and cupboards. The first-floor structure and floorboards are of C19 date.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the garden wall to the west is the truncated remains of the former chapel on the site, and there is a child’s grave in the south-west corner of the building forecourt. Standing forward of the south-east corner of the former Sunday school is a further C19 boundary wall.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Thomas, M, West Down: A history and memories of the past, (1995), 195-213


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: 24 Feb 2006
Reference: IOE01/13230/04
Rights: Copyright IoE Dr Barbara Hilton. Source Historic England Archive
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