Church of St Matthew


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Church of St Matthew, Cheriton Fitzpaine


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Statutory Address:
Church of St Matthew, Cheriton Fitzpaine

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

Mid Devon (District Authority)
Cheriton Fitzpaine
National Grid Reference:
SS 86736 06181


SS 80 NE 7/16



GV I Parish church of St Matthew. C14 nave and chancel, C15 aisles, porch and tower, restored 1883-5 by James Crocker of Exeter. Snecked volcanic and new red sandstone with mostly Beer stone but some volcanic ashlar detail; slate roofs.

Nave and chancel with full length aisles and eastern chapels under parallel roofs, west tower and two storey south porch. Perpendicular throughout. West tower of two stages with low offset buttresses and embattled parapet with corner pinnacles. Most of the tower is roughcast and has been so since 1706 according to the churchwarden's account. It has original volcanic two-light belfry windows with cinquefoil heads except the west side which has round heads. Also west side has original Beer stone arched doorway with moulded surround and four-leaf enrichment below a three-light Perpendicular window with replacement Beer stone tracery under an arched hoodmould. On the south side a projecting demi-hexagonal stair turret finishes below belfry level with a pyramidal roof.

The west end of the south aisle has a low-pitch stepped gable with Beer stone coping and contains a three-light C19 replacement window. The four window south front is interrupted by the two storey porch with low-pitch stepped gable with moulded coping and embattled side parapets. It has an almost-rounded moulded archway with a small and ornate Beer stone niche above. The niche has flanking pilasters and richly carved pinnacled canopy and contains the figure of St Matthew - a gift to the church in 1885 by the Rev. George Dowty. Square-headed two-light Beer stone window with trefoil-headed lights above is partly restored and on the gable a large lead sundial with iron arm apparently erected in 1720 and remodelled in 1741. To left stair turret in corner of porch and aisle rises above parapet with embattled parapet. All windows are Beer stone, arch-headed three-lights with hoodmoulds and only that to right of porch appears to retain some original tracery. There are buttresses between the windows and towards right end is the restored volcanic stone priests door, arch-headed with ovolo surround. Three C18 lead drainpipes on this side have mounts and rainwater heads displaying a series of initials and dates from the 1740s.

Three-gabled east front with diagonal buttresses either side and buttresses under each valley. North and south aisles have similar partly-restored three-light arch-headed windows with ogee heads and cusped tracery. Chancel has a larger four-light version with a transom and lower tier with cusped trefoil heads. The hoodmould has human head labels and gable above surmounted by stone cross. Five window north front of partly-restored three-light windows similar to those of south aisle. Intermediate buttresses and end diagonal buttresses. Left of centre is rood stair turret projecting square and right of centre window now blocked by C20 vestry. Another restored three-light window on west end.

Good interior. Porch has Beer stone ribbed vault springing from angel corbels over half-engaged columns in each corner and features a series of bosses carved to represent the stigmata and other symbols of the Passion. The church has a moulded, almost round-headed arch containing a C19 door. Both aisles, nave and chancel have wagon roofs. South aisle roof appears to be 1883 work using old timbers to make a low-pitch curve of plain chamfered ribs with more slender members over Lady Chapel at east end. Nave has C16 ceiled wagon roof with moulded ribs and intricately carved flat bosses with finials on the corners; the wall plate has bosses including several sun motifs. The lower chancel roof is similar to the nave missing the wall plate enrichment. Very high quality C15 ceiled wagon roof with moulded ribs enriched with four-leaf decoration and carved oak bosses in north aisle and chapel. Plain high tower arch with soffit chamfered imposts. C14 moulded volcanic chancel arch (Pevsner's B Type) has caps to half-engaged columns, the wave is carried continuously through. There is a single corbel projecting into the nave. Superior five bay Beer stone arcade on both sides, three arches to nave and two to chancel, has clustered column shafts with carved foliage capitals and, in the chancel, demi-figures of angels bearing shields above pier capitals. The style is thought to emulate Exeter Cathedral. Hollow-chamfered rear arches to windows. Floor includes many grave slabs of notable quality from late C16 and C17, some in black or white marble.

Blocked C15 arch-headed volcanic stone doorway to former rood stair in north wall. Very elaborate square-framed chancel screen erected in 1926 in memory of Arthur George May of Durban, South Africa, a former Cheriton resident. It was made by Caröe and Passmore. Another framed screen of circa 1912 across tower arch. The Maw's encaustic tile floor to chancel, the Beer stone Gothick reredos featuring carved emblems of the Evangelist and polychrome mosaic, stalls, pews, (including much reused C18 oak), stained glass and altar rail date from 1885 restoration. Font of 1874. Possibly C15 plain arched piscina to right of reredos and also niche in north chapel for aumbry or piscina.

North chapel contains graves and memorials of families who lived at Upcott Barton. In north east corner is a good marble wall monument of 1691 to John Moore comprising an oval plaque with nut husk garland architecturally framed, flanking Corinthian columns, moulded entablature, open pediment with ascanthus and egg-and-dart cornice crowned by heraldic cartouches, the whole carried by a moulded sill on fluted brackets which frame a later panel in memory of John's wife (died 1700). It preserves traces of ancient colour. In south west of chancel a good grey marble mural monument to Nicholas Hickes (died 1704) and Elizabeth his wife (died 1718); the carved drapery with swags include an oval tablet with bolection-moulded frame, an heraldic cartouche with flanking cherubs heads and, at the bottom, a skull with wings. To left of reredos and partly obscured by it is an early C19 mural monument to Reverend John Arundel; a white marble tablet surmounted by a Grecian vase and crossed torches on a shaped black marble base. Over south door painted arms of Charles II dated 1665 was naively restored in 1971. Two C16 or C17 oak chests, one crudely inscribed RM 1611.

Tower has ring of six bells, the oldest was cast by John Pennington of Exeter in 1665, in a frame of 1893. Late C19 clock by Smith's of Derby.

Church was dedicated to St Mary before 1850 and known as All Saints in C14.

Sources: T Falla Church Guide (1977); Devon SMR; Devon C19 Church Project

Listing NGR: SS8673706180


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


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

Images of England

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Date: 06 Jul 2002
Reference: IOE01/07867/11
Rights: Copyright IoE Jenny Johns. Source Historic England Archive
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