Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

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

East Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SY 19547 88462



7/18 Church of St Winifred - 22.2.55 GV I Parish church. Parts maybe Saxon. Otherwise the church shows a continuous development from the early C12 to the early C17, carefully restored according to SPAB principles circa 1911. Local Salcombe stone rubble, it is neater in places, almost like ashlar, and laid to courses; Beerstone detail; slate roof. Plan: unusual cruciform plan church with large central tower. The tower has the oldest fabric. The base of it could be Saxon. The main part of the tower however is early C12, so too is most of the nave. Mid C13 transepts but west of the tower, and the nave was lengthened at the same time. Chancel was rebuilt in the early C14 and there are Decorated windows elsewhere. East window was replaced in the time of Bishop Neville of Exeter (1458-64) and the whole church was apparently refurbished then. The top of the tower and the south porch are also from this time. The west end was refurbished in the early C17 with a west gallery gained by an external flight of stone steps. Thus there is here to see Saxon, Norman, Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular styles. Exterior: the masonry at the base of tower shows herringbone chiselling and is thought by some to be Saxon, and this includes, on the south side, a blocked doorway with monolithic jambs and head. Tower of 3 stages with semi-circular stair to it projecting to north. C15 parapet on top of a Norman corbel table of carved heads. Belfry windows are a series of tall round-headed lancets. The south side lower stage has a 2-light window with Decorated tracery. The main part of the nave also has a Norman corbel table of carved grotesque heads and the C14 extension continues with shaped corbels. The north side is blind but the south side includes a C13 lancet and a 3-light window with Perpendicular tracery. To left of them is the gabled south porch with segmental outer arch and behind it the south doorway is a 2- centred arch with chamfered surround and it contains a C17 2-panel door complete with original ferramenta and oak lock housing. Left (west) of this a flight of stone steps up to the gallery, entered by Tudor arch doorway. West end contains a 2-centred arch doorway with moulded surround and hoodmould below a restored 3-light window with Decorated tracery. North transept still lit by an original lancet but the south transept has a C14 2-light window with Decorated tracery. The doorway below is dated 1911. The blocked embrasures of more lancets are revealed inside. The chancel has set back buttresses. Each side are two 2-light windows with original Decorated tracery. The western ones have shuttered shoulder-headed openings below, now glazed. They are supposed to have been for ringing a handbell from at Communion. East window is a large 5-light window with Perpendicular tracery and hoodmould. It is dated by the arms of Bishop Neville on the label stops. The buttress of the south-east corner of the chancel forms the gnomon of an unusual sundial which casts a shadow up till midday on the wall and the hours are marked by Roman numerals. Good interior: nave has a C15 open wagon roof with moulded ribs and purlins and carved oak bosses. The transepts, chancel and porch have common rafter roofs with straight arch braces. They are now open and were renovated in 1911. Tower has a C19 ceiling to the ringing floor. Each end of the tower are tall plain 2-centred arches with soffit-chamfered imposts. The tall arches from nave to transepts have double-chamfered arch rings springing from moulded corbels which act as capitals for half engaged clustered piers. On the south side of the nave the blocked remains of a late Norman doorway is exposed and it has traces of original paint on it. Most of the window reveals are plain but the east window has half engaged shafts with capitals carved as angels holding shields and the head is moulded. A projecting string course around the chancel dips below the lower western windows. The south of the sanctuary remains of a good C14 4-step sedilia and piscina with cusped ogee arches. One arch was replaced in 1911 and another has fragments of a C16 text painted on it. The original chancel screen appears to have been at the west end of the tower and therefore the rood door comes off the tower stair. Both doorways survive, the lower one with an ancient plank door. North transept has a C13 piscina and an aumbry; the oak door of the latter is late C19 but apparently incorporates some C17 carving. Flag floor incorporates some ancient graveslabs. The walls are plastered and the north wall includes a part of the good C16 wall painting supposed to represent the sin of lust. The altar table is C19 but it is fenced in Laudian style by the C17 oak altar rails with twisted balusters. Early C20 stalls in Gothic style. Chancel screen at east end of the tower is late C17 and comprises a grille of turned oak balusters on a low Beerstone wall with contemporary double doors. Good late C17 'three decker' pulpit; the lower clerks. desk is pine, the rest is oak. Some contemporary box pews in the north transept. Lectern is dated 1912. Early C20 benches. At the west end an early C17 oak gallery carried on turned oak posts and panelled oak front enriched with carving. Do the Tudor roses put this back into the late C16? Good C15 Beerstone font; octagonal bowl with quatrefoil panels enriched with fourleaf motifs and shields, around the bottom a bold wreath of foliage coming from the mouth of a "green man" and stem of blind panels. However, it was brought here from East Teignmouth in 1911. There is some C17 furniture, notably a carved oak bench end and a panelled chest inlaid with marquetry. After the collapse of tne 1911 vestry a new one was built in 1951 under the gallery. It is lined with C17 panelling. Good monuments the oldest is a graveslab erected in the sanctuary. It is inscribed with a cross and may be C13. The best however has been re-erected in the north transept. It commemorates Joan Wadham who died 1583. On a plain table tomb is a Beerstone plaque flanked by pilasters with pedimented head. On it are carved in bas relief her 2 husbands facing each other and kneeling in prayer. Behind each of them is a smaller figure of Joan and behind each of these her children. Alongside is simpler copy bearing a coat of arms only and erected in memory of Elias Holcombe who died in 1585. In the south transept is a good Beerstone monument in memory of Anna Bartlett (d.1660). It comprises a chest tomb carved with cartouches and the lid is supported on pairs of Ionic columns. The plaque above has an architectural frame in similar style. The inscription includes an interesting epitaph. The nave includes the 2 impressive Stuckey marble mural monuments with a board painted with their arms between; William and Mary Stuckey died 1773 and 1763, and John Stuckey died in 1810. Several other interesting mural plaques particularly in the chancel. This is probably one of the best churches in Devon, probably because it belonged to the Benedictines of Exeter Cathedral and bishops have evidently taken an interest in it. Source: Devon SMR. An excellent guide is available in FC Butler's Branscombe, the Parish and Church (1949).

Listing NGR: SY1954288463


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

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Butters, F C , Branscombe The Parish and the Church, (1949)
Butters, F C , Branscombe The Parish and the Church, (1949)


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: 03 Sep 2004
Reference: IOE01/12462/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Richard F Lloyd. Source Historic England Archive
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