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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.

West Devon (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 70146 87508


CHAGFORD HIGH STREET, (north side), SX 7087 Chagford 6/120 Church of St Michael - 22.2.67 GV I

Parish church. It appears to be a complete C15 rebuild of an earlier church (The Church Wardens Accounts record work on the Lady Chapel in 1482); major renovation of circa 1888 followed by a series of lesser works between 1888 and 1925, e.g. vestry by J.W. Rowell and Son of Newton Abbot in 1891 and tower restored in 1915; roofs repaired circa 1960. Coursed blocks of granite ashlar throughout; granite ashlar detail, one window of limestone ashlar; slate roofs. Plan: church is actually set on a north-east - south-west axis but for convenience it is described as if it had a conventional east-west axis. Nave and chancel under a continuous roof with full length north and south aisles, both with east end chapels. The south aisle has the former Lady Chapel (now a Chapel of Remembrance to the dead of the World Wars) and the 1891 vestry at the east end. At the east end of the north aisle St Katherines Chapel was converted to the organ chamber and the aisle was extended an extra bay. C15 south porch. Large C15 west tower. Perpendicular style throughout and renovation work carried out in the same style. Exterior. Tall west tower of 3 stages with internal stair turret in the south-west corner. It has a chamfered plinth, setback buttresses and an embattled parapet without corner pinnacles. Belfry has double lancets on each side to the belfry and a single lancet on the north side to the ringing loft. On the west side the doorway has a 2-centred arch with double chamfered surround. It contains a good quality oak door carved with blind cusped arcades and carved with a Latin quotation and dated 1914. Directly above 3-light window with a pointed arch and containing simple intersecting tracery and a hoodmould. Possibly this window was reused in the C15 from the earlier church. Above this window 2 small arch-headed niche contains a C20 carved figure of St. Michael and above that a painted clockface put there in 1867. There are tiny slit windows on the south side lighting the newel stair. The nave and aisles are similar in style. Their roofs are gable-ended with C19 shaped kneelers, coping and moulded finials. (The west end of the north aisle has no finial). The roof is continuous over nave and chancel but the division is marked by an old ridge tile surmounted by a crude beast (maybe a pig). The aisles have soffit-chamfered eaves cornices and the south aisle has a chamfered plinth. Both have set back buttresses on their corners and buttresses between the windows, all with weathered offsets. The west ends of the aisles are blind although both contain blocked features. The south aisle is roughcast but inside a tall 2-centred arch shows. The north aisle contains a blocked doorway, a 2-centred arch with a double roll moulded surround and above that is a presumably C19 segmental-headed window embrasure. All the original windows have original Perpendicular tracery with plain hoodmoulds. The south aisle and porch. The porch projects left of centre. It has set back buttresses and an embattled parapet. 2-centred outer arch with moulded surround and broach stops. This contains early C20 timber gates containing a row of open quatrefoils containing rosettes along the top. There is a late C17 or C18 slate sundial with a brass pointer. It has shaped corners and the borders are enriched with scrolled foliage and garlands. The porch occupies one of the 5 bays this side. The others contain 3-light windows, and there is another at the east end. In the angle of the south aisle and chancel is the low 1981 vestry built of neater ashlar than the original church. It has a flat roof and embattled parapet over a soffit- moulded dripcourse. Each side contains a square-headed 2-light window with cinquefoil heads and the south side contains a segmental-headed doorway with ovolo surround. Above the vestry, a window built of limestone, with Decorated tracery and hoodmould with carved labels. The east end of the chancel has a large and impressive 5-light window with Perpendicular tracery. It has moulded reveals with carved capitals and hoodmould. The north aisle is 6 bays. The east end bay is a late C19 addition and contains another limestone 2-light window with Decorated tracery, hoodmould and block labels. Contemporary granite Tudor arch doorway in east end. The rest are original 3-light windows similar to those on the south side. The division between aisle and organ chamber (former chapel) is marked by a projecting rood stair turret. Interior. Porch has a good interior. It has stone-flagged floor and benches along each side. Stone vaulted 2-bay roof; the ribs springing from half-engaged piers and with good carved bosses. The piers are granite and although the rest is painted the detail suggests a softer stone, possibly Beerstone. The south doorway is a granite 2- centred arch with double chamfered surround and pyrmaid stops. It contains an ancient folding plank door with studded coverstrips, its original ferramenta and a massive oak lock housing. The roof was repaired circa 1960 but is essentially original. Nave and chancel have continuous wagon roofs with moulded purlins and ribs, good carved oak bosses and a moulded wallplate enriched with 4-leaf bosses. The break between nave and chancel is now marked by the chancel only being ceiled and the timberwork there is painted. Both aisles have similar smaller wagon roofs and must be contemporary with the nave and chancel roof. Both are now open and the south chapel timbers have traces of ancient colour. The bosses are noteworthy some featuring the spiral symbol of the Gorges family and others the tinners mark of 3 rabbits. Church Fabric. Tall tower arch with a narrow chamfered surround and soffit- Chamfered imposts. Inside tower small 2-centred arch doorway to newel stairs but floor to ringing loft replaced 1915. Either side of the tower arch are the blocked apertures described above. Each aisle has an identical 5-bay arcade with 1 overlapping into the chancel. The arches have double chamfered arch rings. Octagonal granite piers made from single pieces of granite and have soffit-chamfered caps and chamfered bases, now on pedestals since the floor has been lowered. The floor is of stone slabs and includes some grave slabs in the chancel (see below). The walls are of exposed granite ashlar. In the south aisle, close to the chancel screen, there is an arch-headed blocked opening for the rood stair. Furniture and fittings. In the chancel the reredos dates from 1888 along with the rest of the sanctuary decoration. It is a painted and gilded triptych; Christ in majesty is flanked by panels containing the Evangelists and the wings contain saints. The wall behind is lined with good polychrome tiles of 1888. The oak stalls (dating from 1913) are in a Tudor Gothic style with blind arcading across the front and carved angel finials. The sedilia dates from 1894. The chancel screen is a fine piece of work. It was erected in 1925 in memory of the young flying officer Noel Hayter-Hames. It is an expert recreation of a C15 Perpendicular oak chancel screen with blind tracery on the wainscotting, Perpendicular tracery to the windows, Gothic cusped coving and a frieze of delicately undercut bands of foliage. The parclose screens are painted and it may be that they are actually C15; built of oak and simpler versions of the main screen. The pulpit (dated 1928) is also built of oak and in the same Perpendicular style; it has an octagonal drum nodding ogee arch on the sides and undercut foliage on the corners, base and frieze. In the former St. Katherines Chapel the late C19 organ has been restored to its original painted scheme. The former Lady Chapel was lined with panelled wainscotting when converted to a Chapel of Rememberance circa 1925. The contemporary figures on the Riddel posts are the patron saints of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Brass lecturn is dated 1871. The benches are also Gothic in style; the bench ends have tracery patterns framed with wreathed foliage. They probably date from the reseating of 1864 and most have been dedicated to members of the congregation who died in the C20. Granite Perpendicular style octagonal font carved by a local mason, John Aggett, and dedicated to the memory of Katherine Hayter-Hames who died less than a year old in 1856. The oak coved canopy is richly carved in Gothic style. Memorials. The oldest and best in the church is the table tomb in the sanctuary in memory of Sir John Wyddon (d. 1575). It is remarkable for its early Renaissance decoration. The tomb base is 3 bays divided by pilasters which are carved with foliage and with a frieze of wreathed foilage. Each bay carved with foliage and with a frieze of wreathed foliage. Each bay contains a frame of formal foliage. Central bay contains an heraldic achievement and the flanking bays have Renaissance vases with cherubs and grotesques. Marble lid with black letter inscription around the edge. Any effigy is now missing. 2-bay arcade above with round arches enriched by scrolled cusping and supported on baluster columns. The arches and spandrels are richly carved with Renaissance ornament. Moulded frieze above and moulded entablature with carved crestwork is supported by carved scroll consoles. The back of the arcade is also richly carved with heraldic achievements surrounded by a dense pattern of expertly carved ornament featuring mermen, grotesques and foliage. Nearby, on the sanctuary steps is a graveslab in memory of Mary Whiddon who died on her wedding day in 1641. South aisle contains a good mural monument in memory of Sir John Prouz (d.1664). Built most of Beerstone, it contains an inscribed rectangular marble plaque flanked by free-standing marble columns with Corinthian caps and entablature with modillion frieze surmounted by a cartouche containing the Prouz arms flanked by other heraldic cartouches. The soffit-moulded sill is supported by scroll brackets carved as grotesque lions heads and with an apron between enriched with strapwork and containing a carved oak heraldic achievement. Above the monument is suspended a helmet bearing the Prouz crest. All the paintwork is C20. To south of the sanctuary a granite recess with double ogee arch in memory of Constance Hayter-Hames (d.1890) and several C19 mural monuments to other members of the same family but the best monument from this period is a mural plaque in memory of Captain John Evans who died aged 23, in 1861 after an active service life. The plaque is a white marble scroll with a symbol of liberty at the top. It is carved as if the scroll is pinned to the end of a chest tomb on which lies his sword and an open Bible and over this is his regimental arms. The black ground has a pointed arch and a moulded limestone frame. It is signed Bedford Sc. 256 Oxford Street, London. Over the south door a board is painted with the arms of Charles II (much restored). To right a painted Benefaction board dated 1791 over an inscribed Beerstone tablet recording the benefactions of the Reverend John Hayter and John Hooper in 1790. Glass. The window of the north chapel contains fragments of C15 glass; St. Andrew and some heraldic achievements. The rest of the stained glass is C19 and most are memorials to members of the Hayter-Hames family. Summary. This is a good C15 granite church although the interior is largely the result of the several late C19 and early C20 renovations. The best feature is the remarkable Whiddon table tomb. Sources. Devon C19 Church Project. Church Guide. (n.a.)

Listing NGR: SX7014287510


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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: 30 Jun 2001
Reference: IOE01/11441/05
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Peter Read. Source Historic England Archive
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