CHUDLEIGH FORE STREET, (east side), Chudleigh
6/45 Church of St Mary and St Martin
Parish church. Nave, north transept and chancel probably C14 in origin; tower
probably 1259 (dedication date); south aisle funded by a bequest of 1544 but said not
to have been completed until 1582 (Cresswell). Major restorations of 1849 (including
addition of south east vestry, architect David Machintosh, and 1869 by Henry Woodyer
(DRO) who re-roofed the building and rebuilt the south aisle. Grey limestone rubble
masonry, the tower masonry including red sandstone; C13 and C14 dressings red
sandstone, other dressings granite and freestone; slate roofs.
Although a church has existed on the site since at least 1225 it was probably rebuilt
prior to a dedication of 1259 and the Early English tower may date from this period.
The medieval details of the chancel are C14 Decorated and the church was probably
rebuilt at this date as a cruciform plan, the south transept disappearing when the
late Perpendicular 7-bay south aisle (1-bay to the chancel) was added. The unusual
untraceried aisle windows may be explained by a post-Reformation completion date.
There is a reference to a south door and porch chamber at the west end of the south
aisle added in 1574 (Church Guide), although Cresswell states that the principal
entrance was on the north side until the 1840s restoration. This restoration
involved the replacement of window tracery, the addition of the vestry and a general
reseating & refurbishment, including the rebuilding of an earlier west gallery. In
1869 a restoration by Henry Woodyer involved the replacement of the roofs and the
straightening of the south aisle arcade. In the late C20 a glass screen was inserted
below the west gallery creating a west end social area.
The chancel has set-back buttresses, a rebuilt gable and a 5-light C19 Decorated
style window designed by Mackintosh; north and south medieval Decorated 2-light
windows; blocked doorway on north side. The north transept has angle buttresses, 3-
light Decorated west and east windows with hoodmoulds and a similar 4-light north
window. The nave has 5 C19 3-light Perpendicular windows with hoodmoulds and C19
buttresses between. The battlemented south aisle of 7 bays with C19 buttresses and
diagonal east and west end buttresses has the remains of a rood stair turret with a
conical roof. Blocked shallow-moulded doorway in western most bay with an early C19
window inserted in it. 2 bays from the west a shallow-moulded granite Tudor arched
C19 doorway, 2-light Decorated west window, 3-light C19 Decorated east window. The
other aisle windows are unusual uncusped granite 3-light windows, possibly post
Reformation. 1849 south east vestry with embattled parapet, diagonal buttress,
shouldered doorway and 1 light window on south side, projecting east end stack with
stone shaft. Impressive 3-stage Early English tower with clasping buttresses and
battlementing carried on a corbel table (no pinnacles). The west face has a C19
Early English doorway with engaged shafts and a C19 2-leaf door with ornamental strap
hinges. 2 lancet windows, one above the other, on the west face. The east face has
a paired lancet at belfry stage.
Interior Plastered walls, timber chancel arch of Woodyer's design, segmental
plastered tower arch, roofs throughout by Woodyer: the nave arched brace with a
collar purlin, the crossing with a timber vault springing from brattished corbels,
the chancel an unceiled wagon with a narrow ceilure of pierced quatrefoils.
The south aisle roof is evidently Woodyer's solution to major structural problems, a
slighter version of the nave roof strengthened at 2 points by transverse moulded
stone strainer with a ring post and timber struts. 7 bay arcade with granite
monolith piers of 4 hollows and 4 shafts with conventional Perpendicular moulded
capitals. Shallow-moulded 4-centred arches, the chancel bay arch semi-circular.
Early C19 west end gallery on iron columns with a timber frontal with blind arcading.
The gallery has been glazed in the late C20. 5-bay late Perpendicular rood screen
(Pevsner 'B' type), the coving no longer exists, with C19 frieze and cresting.
Paintings of alternate apostles with sentences of the Creed and prophets with
scrolls. 3-bay parclose with square-headed traceried fenestration, a vine-carved
cornice and heavy cresting. Modern plasterboard partition to east end of south
aisle, hagioscope between chancel and east end of aisle.
C19 chancel fittings include a good stone reredos with tiling, altar rails and choir
stalls which re-use medieval bench ends and carved frontals. Nave fittings include a
stone drum pulpit dated 1897, corbelled out from a flight of stone steps with
traceried panels and a brattished cornice. C19 timber eagle lectern. Unusual font
with a large polished C19 granite bowl, the Purbeck stem with a cable moulding may
be C13. Some late C15/early C16 bench ends with 2 tiers of tracery, others are
early C19 panelled benches, some with surviving doors. The north transept has an
Monument to Sir Pierce Courtenay died 1607 in the chancel: a freestone chest with
kneeling figures facing one another across a prayer desk, flanked by fluted columns
with an entablature and pediment some colour (possibly ancient) survives. Numerous
C17 ledger stones used as floor slabs, numerous C18 and C19 wall monuments.
Important set of C19 stained glass. The 2 east windows are of the 1840s by Beer of
Exeter with brilliant colour. Several important C19 glass makers represented in the
nave and south aisle, including the Hardman Company and Lavers and Westlake.
An important west tower in the county and good C19 restoration work by Woodyer. The
C19 glass is an important set.
Listing NGR: SX8671379406