SX 48 NE LEW TRENCHARD LEW TRENCHARD
4/99 Parish Church of St Peter
Parish church. Largely late C15 and early C16 fabric, evidence of considerable
rebuilding. Restoration by Sabine Baring-Gould, squire 1877-1924 and rector between
1881 and 1924. Stone rubble with slate roof and Dartmoor "broad and narrow" quoins
(Worth). Nave and chancel, north aisle, west lower, south porch, north west vestry.
Evidence of rebuilding of gabled chancel. Small 2-light granite east window under
square-headed hoodmould is set high in the east wall and is probably early C20.
South side of chancel has remains of an old timber wall plate. 5-light square-headed
Perpendicular granite window to south side of chancel has probably C16 jambs and 2
C16 mullions. Other mullions look replaced and the window may have been enlarged in
the late C19. Nave has Dartmoor quoins (Worth) at east end only, and short buttress
at west end. Change in wall plate suggests rebuilding to the east of the porch. 4-
light arched granite Perpendicular window with hoodmould and label stops to the east
of the porch. 3-bay unbuttressed north aisle has 3-light circa late C15
Perpendicular granite east window with hoodmould and label stops, east wall partially
rebuilt. Three 2-light square-headed aisle windows of large irregular pieces of
freestone. 3-light circa late C15 west window to aisle has hoodmould. Small 3-stage
battlemented unbuttressed west tower has Dartmoor quoins and chamfered plinth,
obelisk corner pinnacles. Small west doorway has hollow chamfered jambs and a basket
arch, stone relieving arch above. 3-light C19 or C20 Perpendicular west window has
hoodmould and label stops. Stages of tower marked by moulded strings, no stair
turret. North face has a 1-light arched chamfered opening at bell ringers' stage,
belfry openings to each face consist of 2 slightly pointed chamfered lights with
slate louvres. Late C19/early C20 flat-roofed vestry with parapet in north west
corner between aisle and tower. Large gabled south porch faced in granite ashlar has
a chamfered round-headed outer doorway with stops. Porch has granite benches and a
late C19/early C20 unarchaeological waggon roof with ribs and round bosses.
Interior 3-bay double chamfered north arcade, 1 bay to the chancel, carried on
octagonal piers and capitals with alternate faces hollow chamfered. Asymmetrical
timber chancel arch adjusted to the narrower width of the chancel on the south side.
Ceiled waggon roof of late C19/early C20 to nave and chancel, unarchaeological with
ribs and shallow triangular bosses. Elliptical nave roof of similar design and date.
Unmoulded tower arch. Interior walls plastered. Small octagonal font with deep bowl
on octagonal stem and base is probably early C16. Some early C16 rectangular bench
ends, and 1 frontal attached to C19 benches have carvings which include a profile
head in a medallion, symbols of the Passion and St Michael weighing souls while
vanquishing a dragon. Some C16 bench ends in the north chancel chapel include 1 with
fleur de lys cresting, other carved bench ends date from the late C19. Clergy stalls
in the chancel were reconstructed in 1904-5, incorporating early C16 panels of
arabesques and profile heads in medallions, flamboyant blind tracery (probably not of
English origin) and some good poppyheads. The church is dominated by the rood
screen, complete with gallery, tabernacle work and cresting. The medieval screen was
broken up in 1883 by Baring-Goulds' grandfather, but enough fragments were rescued by
Baring-Gould to make an accurate reconstruction possible. The work was supervised by
Bligh Bond, a cousin of Baring-Gould, between 1889 and 1915. The present screen is
fine but shows little evidence of medieval work. Paintings on the gallery frontal
are largely by Margaret Rowe, Baring-Gould's daughter. The pier of the aisle which
projects through the screen is encased in carving. The medieval doorways to the loft
are blocked, the lower doorway is chamfered with an ogival head. Late C19/early C20
drum pulpit on a wine glass stem, modelled on the reconstructed medieval pulpit at
Kenton, carved by the Pinwill sisters. Pulpit has nodding ogees above paintings of
the evangelists. Early C20 parclose screen on a C16 model. Other fittings in the
church reflect the taste and travels of the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould. Circa C16
timber eagle lectern originating from Brittany. Late C15/early C16 North Flemish
triptych, probably by Cornelius Engelbert (1468-1533) the centre panel of the
entombment copied from Quentin Metsys' triptych in Antwerp, the side panels depicting
the carrying of the cross and the Ascension. Above the altar a duplicate painting of
Paul Deschwanden's Adoration of the Maji from the church at Freiburg in Switzerland.
In a recess in the south chancel wall a recumbent effigy of a sleeping child, 1879 by
Knittel of Freiburg (Pevsner), commemorating Beatrice Baring-Gould. On the north
wall of the aisle are numerous C17 slate and brass memorials commemorating members of
the Baring-Gould family. Some of these were rescued from Staverton church in 1877
and introduced at Lew Trenchard. 1 brass memorial commemorating Margaret Baring-
Gould, died 1662, includes the witty epitaph: "Death dartes at all, spares not a
Margaret/Although a pearle in Gould most neatly set/". Slate memorials against the
exterior south wall and one fixed above the porch doorway may also have been
introduced from Staverton. Painting of the crucifixion by Lavidiere on north wall.
The south window of the chancel is filled with late C19 glass and incorporates 4
circa early C16 evangelists' heads and an Agnus Dei. The east window in a C16 style,
said to be by Carl de Bouche of Munich, was erected in 1914.
The Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) was squire and parson at Lew Trenchard
from 1881 until his death and is buried in the churchyard. He was a High Churchman,
antiquarian and prolific author of fiction and theological works. He also wrote a
number of hymns and collected Westcountry folksongs. His severe criticisms of most
contemporary restoration make his own work at Lew Trenchard of especial interest.
Acting as his own architect he rebuilt a number of houses in the parish including Lew
House (q.v. The Manor Hotel).
Bickford C. Dickinson, Sabine Baring-Gould (1970)
F. Bligh Bond and Dom Bede Camm, Roodscreens and Roodlofs (1909)
Listing NGR: SX4571686115