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


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Statutory Address:

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

Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SS 24389 05715



5/33 Church of St Swithin -


Parish Church. South doorway C14, aisles late C15, porch late C15/C16, tower C16, parts of the east end C17 (date stone), some C20 tracery. Granite dressings. South aisle stone rubble; north aisle stone rubble brought to course. Tower dressed stone brought to course; south porch polyphant and stone rubble, polyphant dressings, east end patched stone rubble with granite dressings, east gables of chancel and north aisle rebuilt in local brick, slate roofs. Largely Perpendicular church with west tower, chancel, north and south 5-bay arcades, 1 bay each to the chancel, south porch. South aisle has three 4-light windows with C20 tracery probably on the pattern of C16 tracery, no cusping in the heads, fourth window to west of porch similar 3-light, not renewed. No windows to west ends of either aisle. East window of chancel has 3 wide lights with thin tracery: cut back jamb, repaired cusping and brick gable suggest C17 restoration of C15 window. North aisle has moulded granite string above plinth, four 4-light perpendicular windows with hoodmoulds and label stops, rectangular stair turret, blocked arched north door. East window of north aisle has good large 4-light window with perpendicular tracery, hoodmould and label stops, keystone in arch of local brick above window. 3 stage unbuttressed, battlemented, slightly battered west tower, stages marked by moulded granite strings, boldly-sculpted tall tower pinnacles have heavily-crocketed finials (q.v. Poundstock and Morwenstow). Moulded granite string above tower plinth rises to become west door hoodmould. Round-headed, shallow- moulded west doorway. Granite west window with Perpendicular tracery under hoodmould with label stops. Ringing chamber has rectangular light on south side with moulded granite architrave. 2-light belfry openings with slate louvres under single blind cusped opening. Outer doorway of large gabled porch has polyphant arch carried on chamfered freestone and polyphant jambs. Porch has oak-topped benches, C15 arched brace and collar roof with ribs and bosses and holy water stoup. Inner doorway is deeply-moulded polyphant with arched head. C16/C17 door has outer vertical boarding with studs, horizontal inner boarding. Door retains strap hinges with fleur de lys finials, loop drop latch and large wooden lock casing. 4 shafts and 4 hollows, fleurons Interior. South aisle arcade polyphant piers of 4 shafts and 4 hollows, fleurons carved on crested capitals, piers carry deeply moulded arches. Granite north arcade similar, no fleurons on capitals. Tall, double hollow chamfered tower arch dies into unmoulded jambs. No chancel arch. Nave roof ceiled waggon without ribs or bosses. Aisle roofs ceiled waggons with ribs and bosses. North aisle ribs richly carved, deeply-cut bosses include foliage designs and 3 examples of the Granville arms, wall plate has fine vine carving. South aisle roof less elaborate, fleurons carved on ribs. C12 font with 2 orders of cable moulding on bowl. Chancel step made up of important and large collection of C16 Barnstaple glazed tiles, conventional Barnstaple designs including pelican, lion and profile head with foliage. Late C18 marble communion and commandment tablets on chancel east wall given by Sir John Call (q.v. Launcells Barton). Pre-archaeological gothic wooden frame round tablets forms reredos, frame and similar communion rail late C18/early C19. Important collection of woodwork. Set of C16 benches, mostly complete, with moulded rails and carved rectangular ends (q.v. Kilkhampton): 6 in south aisle; 2 in east end south aisle; 11 in south nave (2 ends in each); 11 in north nave (2 ends each). Some bench ends have unconventional borders. Designs include symbols of the Passion, Agnus Dei, Ascension, large initials and the Grenville arms. Those at the east end of the south nave have frontal with continuous carving of blind tracery above quatrefoils filled with various symbols. The east wall of the south aisle and part of the south return has fine C17 panelling of friezes of round-headed arches with vine decoration and an armorial bearing. North aisle contains C18 panelled box pews, further panelling used as dado to south aisle and west end. Late C18/early C19 pulpit has Gothick tracery applied to drum of C17 style, contemporary tester. Large Royal Arms of Charles II with traces of colour on north wall attributed to Michael Chuke. (q.v. Kilkhampton). Freestone monument to Sir John Chamond (q.v. Launcells Barton), died 1624 in east end of south aisle. Figure leaning on elbow in architectural surround, kneeling figures at head and foot. Part of inscription on slate panel above figure reads "A memorial for the erecters of the monumente. Ana Grammata". Below the figure slate inscription with the anagram "Edwarde Arundell,/read and ruled wel". Early plaster on all walls possibly concealing wall paintings. West wall of south aisle shows remains of probably 2 wall paintings on different levels of plater, plaster recently patched with cement. 1 very large wall painting of the Sacrifice of Isaac : 2 angels above Abraham holding Isaac on an altar. Smaller figures to the left, including one holding an ass or horse, look C17. A painted surround of classical architecture frames the whole. Painted text on north wall of north aisle is said to be the text of a letter from Charles I, dated 1643, thanking his Cornish subjects. East window retains iron stanchions. Datestone with "R.C.1689" built into exterior east wall of chancel. Floor of nave and north aisle made up of slate memorials. Well-lit interior with old clear glass throughout, much of which has been carefully repaired. 2 of the 6 bells are dated 1751 in a later cast iron bell frame. Church described by John Betjeman as "the least spoilt church in Cornwall". Bench ends among the best in Cornwall.

Listing NGR: SS2438805714


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: 07 Jun 2007
Reference: IOE01/16673/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Dr Barbara Hilton. Source Historic England Archive
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