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Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

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

Mid Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SS 82863 02527



3/219 Church of St Swithun


Chapel of Ease, now church. Norman origins, completely rebuilt circa 1520; cleverly renovated in 1847-8 by John Haywood of Exeter when nave roof raised and clerestory added; new chancel and sacristy built, and seating rearranged. Squared Volcanic stone rubble, some coursed or built to courses; volcanic stone detail, most replaced with Beerstone in C19; slate roofs. Now nave with full-length north and south aisles, chancel, southern sacristy, west tower and south porch. Before 1847-8 chancel occupied east end of present nave with flanking chapels in the aisles. Late Perpendicular throughout. Unbuttressed west tower with chamfered plinth and embattled parapet: north side has projecting square-sided stair turret rising above parapet with embattled parapet and surmounted by C19 brass weather vane; restored Beer stone 2-light belfry windows with cinquefoil heads on each side; west face has arched doorway with moulded surround under a 2-light Perpendicular window with C19 Beer stone tracery and hoodmould: and south side includes an original single light window with cinquefoil head to ringing loft and C19 painted clock-face. West ends of both north and south aisles have C19 Perpendicular-style 2-light, transomed Beer stone windows with hoodmoulds. 3 windows of north and south aisle fronts and those in east ends of aisles are all similar 3-light Perpendicular windows with early C16 volcanic stone sides and restored Beer stone tracery and hoodmoulds. Gable-ended porch projecting towards left of south front has kneelers and volcanic stone coping and moulded almost round-headed arch. Towards right end is a small round-headed priest's door. Between porch and priests door a painted sundial dated 1818 is fixed high on wall and 2 memorial stones are set into wall above the plinth; the right one is a rectangular plaque of grey limestone recording death of Margaret Burrington of West Sandford (died 1673) above a primitive smiling skull and crossbones with a ribbon at the bottom inscribed 'Ob dormisco'. C19 sacristy is gable-ended to south with square-headed 2-light Beer stone window with ogee heads. C19 chancel has off-set buttresses, a large Perpendicular-style window at east end and single cinquefoil- headed lancets on each side wall. Towards right end of north front is small door with C20 restored head to west gallery. Beer stone coping and obelisk finials to north aisle gables are possibly original. Good interior. South door is an almost round-headed volcanic arch, moulded. Both north and south aisles have original continuous ceiled waggon roofs of circa 1520 with elaborately carved wall-plates, moulded ribs and carved bosses. Nave was raised in 1847-8 and given a clerestory of 2-light Beer stone windows with cinquefoil heads. The ceiled waggon roof is similar to those in the aisles and appears to retain a great deal of early C16 work stabilised by C19 tie beams with curved braces to wall-legs. 5-bay Beer stone arcades each side with moulded piers (Pevsners Type B) and undercut foliage on the capitals. The eastern 2 bays originally housed the chancel with chapels in each aisle: the moulded piers at this end are carried higher and the capitals have finer quality carving. The early C16 nave-chancel break is also marked by blocked rood stair doorways in north wall and the corresponding pier in north arcade includes a small carving to the nave of 2 boys tearing each others hair out. (It is thought by some to represent an incident in 1126 when a man was killed during a fight in Mass which led to the closure of the chapel for eleven years). The flagged floor includes some C17 and C18 ledger slabs. Large west gallery of high quality craftsmanship built of oak in 1657 at the cost of John Davie of Creedy Park in order to accommodate children from the local poorhouse. The main gallery rests on fluted Corinthian columns with ornate scroll stops and carved pedestals, and the forward side wings on turned Doric columns with plain scroll stops and pedestals. The parapet, on an ovolo- moulded bressumer, has ornate arcaded panels separated by ascanthus consoles with Ionic caps under a continuous frieze of chip-carved lunettes enclosing stylised leaf motifs and with a dentil cornice. The late C16-early C17 benches were remodelled in late C18 and rearranged in 1847-8 but most bench-ends are very fine examples of late C16-early C17 carving with a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance motifs. Most have borders of twisted foliage with half-engaged column bases and bar-scroll stops and include a rich variety of vigorous bas-relief carvings featuring royal figures, New World natives, fabulous beasts and plants and trees. Most other furnishings are Mid C19 including a panelled pulpit, carved oak eagle lectern, mahogany altar rail with twisted and turned balusters, and Beer stone font. The carved oak chancel screen is a First World War memorial; it was moved towards east end of chancel in 1967. Several good memorials, mainly to the Davie, later Ferguson-Davie, family of Creedy Park. The south chancel wall has large late C17 Davie marble wall memorial comprising an architecturally framed plaque. It is flanked by free-standing Corinthian columns, the moulded entablature is surmounted by the Davie arms with flanking cartouches and the moulded sill is on consoles. Other notable Davie memorials include a small marble-framed plaque of 1627 at east end of north aisle with a obituary of Julia Davie, on south wall of chancel a marble drapery plaque of 1764, and a marble memorial of 1840 depicting the Good Samaritan in bas-relief, and in east end of south aisle a framed painted board surmounted by the Davie arms recording the gift in 1675 of John Davie of Prouze of the rents of nearby houses to 6 poor husbandmen. North aisle includes a good quality late brass of 1604 recording and depicting the death of Mary Dowrich; it was remounted and restored by her descendants in 1866. East chancel window of C20 leaded glass includes good C19 stained glass figures by Merick and the Ferguson- Davie memorial windows of 1885 and 1889 in east windows of each aisle are both by Warrington of London. Fine mid-late C17 chest with ornate carving and arcaded, panelled sides, the panels with inlaid marquetry patterns and including the initials ET, WS and TP. Tower inaccessible but houses clock made circa 1815 for All Saints, Kenton by Henry Pyke of Kingsteingnton and installed here 1922. St Swithuns was originally a chapel belonging to Church of Holy Cross, Crediton. It was closed 1126-37 after a murder during mass and was closed again in 1437. It was reopened in 1523-4 with a licence for a burial ground. It progressed from being a private chapel to a C19 Chapel of Ease and in 1928 joined with Church of St Mary, Upon Hellions to become a parish church. Sources - Devon C19 Church Project, Devon SMR and Church guide.

Listing NGR: SS8286502526

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 30 October 2017.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


War Memorials Register, accessed 30 October 2017 from
Devon Nineteenth Century Church Project,


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: 25 Jun 2004
Reference: IOE01/12534/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Dr George E. Rossmiller. Source Historic England Archive
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