931/4/73 LITTLEHAM ROAD
PARISH CHURCH OF ST MARGARET AND ST AN
DATES OF MAIN PHASES, NAME OF ARCHITECT: 13th-century chancel, perhaps 14th-century arcades to the chapels, the remainder Perpendicular but with rebuilding of the N aisle and chancel arch and addition of the vestry at the 1883-4 restoration by R. Medley Fulford.
MATERIALS: Local rubble with limestone dressings. Slate roofs
PLAN: W tower, nave, chancel, S porch, N aisle, N and S chapels, NE vestry.
EXTERIOR: The most prominent feature is the two-stage W tower. It has diagonal buttresses to the lower storey, a plain W doorway and a three-light Perpendicular window over it. The belfry stage has small, two-light Perpendicular windows. The tower terminates in an embattled parapet. There is no S aisle but in centre of the nave there is a two-storey S porch with a round-arched, plain entrance, above which is a two-light square-headed window. Either side of the porch is a three-light square-headed window (enlarged 1911). In the SE wall of the nave is a small circular, trefoiled opening. The S chapel, under its own gable, has a three-light square-headed window in the W part of its S wall, like those in the nave. Between it and a two-light traceried window is a distinctive, boldly-detailed S entrance set between two heavy buttresses with offsets (this is said to be the work of Fulford and has the date 1888 (later than the main restoration) above its head). The chapel and chancel E windows each have three-lights but with differing tracery details. At the NE corner is an 1880s vestry with a hipped roof. The N aisle/chapel, also under their own gable have three-light, square-headed windows on its N side and three-light pointed windows at their E and W ends.
INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and whitened. The N aisle is wide and is separated from the nave by a four-bay arcade of a standard Devon type with lozenge-shaped piers of Beer stone with shafts in the cardinal directions and wave mouldings between. The capitals have carved foliage and the arches above are moulded. The chancel aisles and chancel are separated by two-bay arcades which have very squat piers and no capitals, the chamfering of the arches being continued into the piers. The roofs date from Medley¿s restoration but that in the chancel re-uses medieval bosses.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The principal feature is the screen stretching across both nave and aisle. It is medieval but was extensively restored by Harry Hems of Exeter at the 1880s restoration when the vaulting was added. Curiously, the nave part of the screen is asymmetrical with two bays N of the entrance to the chancel and one S of it. It is vaulted, has four-light traceried openings and a wainscot with intricate tracery patterning. The parclose screens are largely medieval, have four-light divisions with Decorated-style tracery and, in the wainscot, linenfold decoration, suggesting a 16th-century date. The altar rails are of c1700. In the SE part of the chancel is a 13th-century double piscina. The late medieval font has an octagonal bowl with saltire cross decoration and a round base surrounded by polygonal columns. In the N aisle are the remnants of three late medieval stained glass figures depicting Christ showing his wounds, St Roche and St Michael. The E window is by Clayton and Bell, 1883. The windows either side of the S porch, with opulently draped figures in the main lights, are of 1911 and were designed by G H Fellowes Prynne and made by Percy Bacon Bros. There are also three windows by Kempe dating from 1893 (N), 1906 and 1910 (S). The walls have many early 19th-century wall monuments, none of individual great significance but forming a good ensemble: they include one on the E wall of the S chapel to Viscountess Nelson (d 1831), widow of the admiral, by the well-known sculptor Peter Turnerelli and shows a mourning woman at a sarcophagus (she is buried in the churchyard).
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: In the churchyard, SW of the church, is a Celtic cross First World War memorial. Further SW is the lychgate of 1901. Beside it is a room that was until 1883-4 the only vestry.
HISTORY: A church at Littleham is first mentioned in 1149. The earliest visual evidence for a church on the site is in the chancel in the form of the double piscina. It dates from the 13th century, as did a lancet window in the chancel, discovered at the 1880s restoration. The chancel arcades may date from the 14th century but otherwise the building is late medieval, from the Perpendicular period. Restoration came to the church relatively late in the Victorian era with R. Medley Fulford's scheme in the 1880s. The church was then reseated, the rood screen restored, the roofs renewed and the N aisle and chancel arch rebuilt. Some reordering took place in 1998 when the font was moved from the W end, a glass screen installed between the nave and ringing chamber and various floor levels adjusted.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Devon, 1989, pp 537-8.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The church of St Margaret and St Andrew, Exmouth, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It is of very considerable interest as a largely medieval church with a structural history that can be traced back to the 13th century in the visible fabric. The main imprint, however, is later and is the result of late medieval work in the Perpendicular style.
* It contains much interest, mostly notably the vaulted late medieval rood screen and the parclose screens. It also has surviving medieval stained glass and a collection of Victorian and Edwardian stained glass by well-known makers. There is also a collection of early 19th-century monuments, including one to Lord Nelson's widow.
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.