867/9/163 SALCOMBE REGIS
12-OCT-51 CHURCH OF ST MARY AND ST PETER
(Formerly listed as:
CHURCH OF ST PETER AND ST MARY)
DATES OF MAIN PHASES, NAME OF ARCHITECT: Norman evidence in the N arcade and chancel S wall. 13th-century N arcade arches, S aisle (W window), and possibly S arcade (a dedication of 1259 is recorded), Perpendicular W tower and extension W of the N aisle. Chancel restored by Ewan Christian, 1869. Remainder restored by William Weir, 1924.
MATERIALS: Local rubble and limestone dressings. Slate roofs.
PLAN: Nave, chancel, N and S aisles, W tower, two storey extension W of N aisle.
EXTERIOR: The dominant feature is the Perpendicular W tower. It is of three stages above a high plinth and has a polygonal stair-turret at the SE which rises above the level of the tower battlements. The ground stage of the tower has a square-headed W doorway with a three-light panel-tracery W window over. The second stage has a small two-light square-headed window to the W. Above, the belfry stage has two-light, square-headed belfry openings. The S aisle, under its own gable, has a double-chamfered doorway and E of this a large five-light square-headed window with mullions and cusping, renewed after a bomb blast in 1942. In the W wall is a lancet window. The chancel has a blocked S doorway displaying traces of Norman work and also has two renewed cusped lancets on the N and S sides and a renewed three-light E window with one intersection and cusping in the tracery. The N aisle, also under its own gable, has Perpendicular windows of two (N) and three lights (E). W of it is a very unusual feature - a two-storey building, probably of 15th-century origin, now a vestry but perhaps serving originally as a priest's house, at least on the upper storey, although its precise purpose is not documented. It has a window at the E end of the upper floor internally. It has a plain W doorway and a three-light square-headed window on the N side.
INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and whitened. The arcades are of two bays each. That on the N has a circular scalloped pier and later double-chamfered pointed arches. The S arcade is differently treated and has double-chamfered arches but no capitals. Capital-less piers occasionally date back to the 13th-century and the arcade may relate to the aisle W lancet and a recorded consecration date of 1259. The acutely pointed chancel arch is also plain and lacks capitals and responds. The nave is covered with a three-sided canted plaster ceiling. The S aisle ceiling is divided into panels by square ribs. Traces of indistinct wall-painting survive over the chancel arch.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The octagonal font on a round base is a plain medieval piece: it has a Jacobean ogee-shaped font cover. The pulpit is of the 18th century and has plain panelling: Also 18th-century is the tower screen. The reredos dates from 2000 and is a very individual engraved glass triptych designed by Sir Laurence Whistler: the centre panels depict the Crucifixion. There are fragments of 15th-century stained glass in a N window. The chancel windows are 19th-century work by Clayton and Bell. An interesting monument is the slate tablet to Joanna Avant which has an inscription in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and English. The stalls have been removed from the chancel.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: At the W entrance to the churchyard is an attractive timber lych gate set on high stone side plinths.
HISTORY: The church has a structural history which can be traced back visually to Norman times. Like so many parish churches there was evolution over the succeeding centuries so the building displays work of most centuries down to the Reformation. Of particular interest is the late-medieval two-storey structure W of the N aisle: its original purpose is uncertain but it may have housed a priest's dwelling. In the 18th-century it acted as a school and now provides vestry space. The 19th-century imprint at the church is modest. The chancel was restored by Ewan Christian in 1869 while the rest of the building seems to have been little affected until 1924 when it was restored very sensitively by William Weir.
The architects: Ewan Christian (1814-95) was a prolific architect whose speciality was church work. He commenced practice in 1842 and was appointed architect to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1851, a post which brought many commissions, especially in the chancels for which the Commissioners were responsible. He gained a reputation for efficiency and bringing jobs in on time and on budget. William Weir (1865-1950) was a Scot and was articled to the Edinburgh architect Archibald McPherson in 1882-6 and remained as an assistant until 1888. He became an assistant to Leonard Stokes in 1889-91 and then to Philip Webb from 1891 to 1900 when he commenced independent practice. He is well known for his sensitive restoration work along the lines promulgated by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner. The Buildings of England: Devon, 1989, p 710.
Anon., The Church of SS Mary and Peter, Salcombe Regis, East Devon [guide], nd.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The church of St Mary and St Peter, Salcombe Regis, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It is of special interest as a medieval parish church displaying work that stretches back to Norman times, seen in the N arcade and the blocked chancel door. It displays structural evolution during subsequent medieval centuries and has a highly interesting late medieval extension W of the N aisle and whose precise function is a matter of speculation.
* It has a number of fixtures of interest including medieval work in the font and items of 17th- and 18th-century woodwork.
* The 19th- and early 20th-century restoration work was low-key with that in the 1920s in the body of the church being undertaken by William Weir who is noted for his sensitive work on churches.