CHURCH OF SAINT MARY
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- CHURCH OF SAINT MARY
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- Statutory Address:
- CHURCH OF SAINT MARY
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- North Devon (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SS 80793 28393
20/66 Church of Saint Mary
Parish church. Mid-C15 tower, nave and north aisle, north aisle remodelled in the
early C16, and probably C17 porch. South-east part of nave south wall probably C12
(see coursed rubble masonry to left of porch). Interior redecorated and refitted in
the early C18 and east wall of north aisle rebuilt or refaced in 1772 (datestone).
Church repaired in 1902. South and east walls of chancel refaced or rebuilt and
aisle eaves raised, probably in 1902. Roofs and windows restored in 1935-9, by Mr
W.A. Forsyth. Mainly squared and coursed sandstone with sandstone and limestone
ashlar dressings. Snecked masonry in the chancel, probably of 1902. Porch and part
of south aisle (probably C20 work) of coursed stone rubble. Internal arcade of Beer
stone. East gable end of nave slate hung. Gable-ended Welsh-slate roofs.
Plan: 3-bay nave with south porch in second bay from west, 4-bay north aisle,
narrower 2-bay chancel, and west tower. Although the fabric is now largely C15 the
size of the nave and chancel probably reflect the extent of an earlier building. The
C15 aisle extends across both nave and narrower chancel which is unlikely to have
occured if the church had been of one phase and not incorporated either earlier
fabric or merely an earlier plan. Evidence of rebuilding or refacing of centre part
of nave south wall, probably in the C17 (see break forward and probably C17 arched
Exterior: 3-stage tower with chamfered plinth, diagonal buttresses with chamfered
offsets, string courses, parapet string with carved gargoyles at corners, and
battlemented parapet with chamfered coping; half-octagonal stair turret to north-east
consisting of square base with splays at first string-course level and projecting
above tower parapet with separate battlemented parapet and gilded weathervane. Small
chamfered rectangular stair windows. Belfry openings of 2 louvred cinquefoil-headed
lights with pierced quatrefoils in tympanum and chamfered reveals. South side of
tower with trefoil-headed window to second stage and empty niche to first stage with
weathered cusping; west window to second stage of 3 cinquefoil-headed lights,
panelled tracery with trefoiled heads, hollow-chamfered reveals and string course
carried over as hoodmould. Old nail-studded boarded west door with continuously-
moulded arch. Clock to second stage with weathered gilded arms and letters and
probably C19 hoodmould with scrolled stops. Weathering over nave roof on east side
of tower. Nave: Pair of C15 windows with 3 cinquefoil-headed lights each, cusped
panelled tracery and hollow-chamfered reveals, left-hand window with returned
hoodmould. Central chamfered segmental-arched doorway with plain stops and old nail-
studded boarded door with late C19 ribbing and old wrought-iron strap hinges.
Probably C16 or C17 gabled stone porch with round-arched entrance and C20 wooden
gates. Two pieces of reset probably C12 masonry with billet ornament, to right of
entrance and to right-hand side. Weathering on wall of nave to rear. Interior of
porch with stone floor, wooden side benches and plastered barrel-vaulted ceiling,
possibly over C16 or C17 roof. Old oak wall plate to outside. Slate headstone fixed
to right of right-hand nave windows, in memory of Thomas and Sarah Pincombe and their
family of 6 sons and daughters who died in a shipwreck along, with 187 fellow
passengers, on 3 May 1855, six hours after leaving Plymouth for Quebec, off Cornwall
near St Keverne on the Manacle Rocks. Chamfered segmental-headed lancet in east end
of nave, possibly reset or made-up . North aisle: Three later buttresses with
chamfered offsets. Restored C16 square-headed windows of 2 and 3 hollow-chamfered
elliptical-arched lights with chamfered reveals and returned hoodmoulds. Reset,
restored or C19 east window of 3 ogee cinquefoil-headed lights with panelled tracery
and returned hoodmould. Chamfered rectangular opening of c.1902 in apex of gable,
with weathered C18 datestone below, inscribed "1722". Blank west end with C1902
chamfered rectangular opening in apex of gable. Chancel: Pair of C19 chamfered
trefoil-headed lancets to south and central C19 Tudor-arched priest's doorway with
nail-studded boarded door. Restored C15 east window of 3 ogee cinquefoil-headed
lights with panelled tracery and hoodmould (formerly returned).
Interior: Notably unrestored interior with mostly pre-C19 fixtures and fittings.
Early C16 north aisle arcade of 4-bays, consisting of Pevsner type-B piers with
moulded bases, carved foliated capitals (each one different) and moulded arches.
Headless carved figure (probably of Saint Mary Magdalene) in a niche on the
easternmost pier with corbel base and crocketed trefoil-headed canopy with pinnacles.
C15 triple-chamfered tower arch, the inner 2 chamfers dying into responds and the
outer stilted and continuous. Restored ceiled waggon roof to nave with moulded ribs
and bosses, incorporating C15 moulded ridge-piece, reducing in size at east end,
possibly for former ceilure. Early C16 waggon roof over aisle with moulded wooden
ribs and walls plates and carved bosses. Four early C20 tie-braces with brackets at
each end, springing from stone corbels. C18 plastered barrel roof over chancel,
possibly over earlier construction. Chamfered-arched doorway below tower to stair
turret, with probably C15 nail-studded boarded door. Windows with splayed jambs.
Fittings: Communion table of c.1700 with turned columnular legs, unmoulded
stretchers and moulded top, breaking forward over legs. Section of medieval carved
panelling reused as reredos, possibly part of former screen, consisting of 7 tall
panels with tracerey and foliate carving. Oak altar rails of c.1700 with barleysugar
balusters, turned columnular balusters at each end and flanking central gate, and
moulded top rail with some inlay over standards. Early C18 chancel screen, possibly
incorporating fragments of former medieval screen. Raised and fielded panels below,
open above with beaded square posts and beaded top rail, and central round archway
with moulded architrave, key and flanking panelled pilasters supporting moulded
cornice, breaking forward over pilasters. Late C19 or C20 wooden gate with solid
raised and fielded lower panels and dished top rail with scrolled ends. C18
plastered tympanum above with Royal Arms in square frame and inscription in lunette
over: "1808 I. Mogridge Churchwarden. Rowland's Painter's". Flanking contemporary
commandment boards in round-headed frames flanking arms, all retaining ancient
colour. Sole plate of former medieval screen still in situ in north aisle (see
mortice). C18 triple-decker wooden pulpit on north side of aisle. Pulpit consisting
of raised and fielded panels with moulded surrounds, panelled pilasters at corners,
deep moulded cornice, breaking forward over pilasters, and overhanging desk with 2
probably C19 brass condlesticks. Back board with beaded corners and round-arched
raised and fielded panel with moulded surround and shaped top with key. Tester with
deep moulded cornice, breaking forward at corners, inlaid 6-sided star pattern to
underside, and ogee top with moulded cap, surrounded by carved figure of an angel
blowing the last trump. Interior of pulpit with bench and foot rest. All panels
with cross-grained edging to raised centre. Reader's desk and clerk's desk with
raised and fielded panels. Old C18 egg cup and base near pulpit at time of survey
(July 1987). Extensive C18 box pews with raised and fielded panels (2 panels) high,
beaded corners and edges of doors etc., H-hinges and moulded rails; interiors with
shaped legs and angled book rests. Larger pews in chancel, that to north with
inlaid heraldic shield on door, moulded top rail ramped up to corners, and seats
inside with ovolo-moulded edges and shaped solid legs. C12 stone font with square
base, stumpy circular stem, lead-lined square bowl with scalloped sides, and C20
wooden cover. Made-up tower screen (dedicated in 1977) incorporating pair of C18
doors of 3 raised and fielded panels each, under round arch, and panelled sides made
up from former box-pew doors (some box-pews have been removed from the west end at
some time). C18 west gallery above with narrow turned balusters and beaded square
top rail with wrought-iron spikes. Two C18 chests at west end, the larger one with
locks. C18 benefactors' boards below tower. Plaster or wooden Tudor rose on north
wall of chancel, possibly former roof boss. Organ of 1877 at west end of aisle,
presented by James Quartly of West Molland. Old stone floors except for late C19
encaustic tiles in chancel. Old plaster walls. Bells of the C14 and C15 and of
1562, c.1700 and 1908. Top part of old bell at west end of nave, with inscription,
probably one of the early bells from the tower. Stained glass: Fragments of old
heraldic glass in east window of north aisle. C19 memorial windows to William
Rossiter esq and his wife, of South Molton, and other C19 windows. Remaining windows
of C19 diamond-leaded clear glass. Old wrought-iron stanchions and saddle bars.
Monuments: Good series of memorials of the C17 and C18, especially those to the
Courtenay family. North aisle, North wall: Baroque wall monument in limestone with
ancient colouring. Rectangular bolection-moulded frame containing inscription to
"the Right Worshipful John Courtenay" died 1660 and his son John died 1684. To
either side marble Corinthian columns supporting an entablature. On top a central
armorial cartouche surmounted by scrolled pediment, feathers and skulls with mourning
angels and urns. On either side the monument has husked buttress scrolls and below,
between the brackets which support the shelf, there is a subsidiary but integral
pendant inscription on a convex oval with foliated cartouche on a small lion's mask
corbel to Margaret, John Courtenay's wife, who died 1684. Cherubs on the brackets
below the momument and centrally in the frieze. North aisle, east wall: Wall tablet
of finely-engraved pale grey limestone. Inscriptions with arms below all in simple
veined marble frame, to Elizabeth Shapcoate died 1700. Traces of ancient colour.
Baroque wall monument of limestone and grey marble in bold relief with inscription in
convex oval to John Courtenay died 1724. It is flanked by Corinthian pilasters
supporting an entablature with broken segmental pediment. At the top a central
armonrial cartouche with a mourning angel reclining to either side. A large moulded
shelf on acanthus brackets supports the tablet and carries two winged figures of
infants supporting shields. In the apron below the monument is a convex oak
inscription to George Courtenay died 1731 in wreathed and husked frame with below it,
a pair of skulls with bat's wings (possibly from John Courtenay monument above).
Chancel, north side: Limestone wall monument to the Honourable John Courtenay d.
1732 (this monument is very similar to that in the north aisle to John Courtenay died
1724). The inscription (which also commemorates Margaret, wife of John Courtenay
died 1743) is in a rectangular frame between Corinthian pilasters with entablature
(scrolled to centre) and broken segmental pediment which has armorial cartouche and
reclining mourning angels above. On the large shelf below the inscription stand 2
life-sized putti with shields of arms. In the space between 2 scrolled brackets
below an oval relief (possibly ex situ) of the Ascension with 2 cherubim below again.
Below this monument is a stone chest probably assembled from parts of a C15 chest
tomb. It has shields of arms in quatrefoil sinkings with foliage carving in the
spandrels. Enclosing this chest and the 1724 and 1732 Courtenay wall momuments is a
probably C17 painted wrought-iron gate with alternate diamond-set and twisted
stanchions with ball and spear finials all fixed together with forelock bolts. Large
complex wall monument also on north wall of chancel, erected 1664 and to David Berry
"minister of this church died 1653/4" (sic). The monument is of various marbles and
retains some old colouring retouched. Convex oval inscription in scrolled and husked
frame. The monument breaks forward in 3 planes. To either side Corinthian columns
supporting a pulvinated frieze and segmental pediment which contains an achievement
of arms. Surmounting all, a large urn with winged infants on either side, one with
cherub corbel below and swags of fruit and flowers on either side. Nave, south wall:
Neo-classical round headed wall tablet in grey and white marble to Frances and
William Dovell who died in the wreck of the Adelaide in 1850. In the tympanumn a
relief of a shipwreck. By J. Thomas, Bristol. Neo-classical wall tablet of grey and
white marble to Henry Quartly 1840. Neo-classical wall table of grey and white
marble to Mary Jane Ronite died 1832 and Lucy Ronite died 1838. Timber wall tablet
in shaped and lugged frame surmounted by 3 urns with cherub in the shaped head.
Retains old colours. To Henry Quartly died 1810 and Margaret Quartly died 1824.
In the C12 William de Botreaux gave the advowson of the church of Molland and
Knowstone to Hartland Abbey.
Molland Church has one of the best examples of an unrestored interior in the country.
Sources: N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, North Devon, p.123; Beatrix F.
Cresswell, Notes on Devon Churches, Deanery of Shirwell (1924), pp 146-61; Kelly's
Directory of Devonshire (1902), pp 384-5; Church Guide (1983).
Listing NGR: SS8079828389
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Church of St Mary Church Guide, (1983)
Cresswell, B F, Notes on Devon Churches in the Deanery of Shirwell, (1924), 146-161
Pevsner, N , The Buildings of England: Devon North, (1952), 123
'Kellys Directory' in Devonshire, (1902), 384-385
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