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


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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)
Buckland Monachorum
National Grid Reference:
SX 49022 68334




Parish Church. Mainly later C15 incorporating some earlier fabric, south chapel probably C16. Restored in 1869. Stone rubble walls with granite dressing. Gable ended slate roofs to nave, aisles and transepts. The Norman tub font is the only recognisable survivor in the building of an earlier church; the west tower,nave,chancel, north and south aisles, transepts and south porch date from the later C15 although certain incongruities of construction suggest that part of the older building may have been incorporated. The north and south chapels are probably later C16 although the disparity in window styles suggests they may not be exactly contemporary. To the east of the north chapel is a vestry added probably in the C17. The Church was restored in 1869, re-floored and re-seated retaining only a few old bench ends. 3-stage west tower, battlemented and with set-back buttresses up to second stage. Polygonal, crenellated pinnacles, crocketted at the top. Pentagonal stair turret on north-west corner has small quatrefoil lights. Elaborately moulded west doorway has 4-centred granite arch with quatrefoils in the spandrels and square hoodmould. Perpendicular 3-light west window in moulded surround. 2-light belfry openings have similar tracery. Moulded stringcourse above each stage on the south side, the top one incorporates a gargoyle. The west fronts of the north and south aisles have crocketted pinnacles as do both transepts. Diagonal and flat intermediate buttresses. The aisle and transept windows are large with Perpendicular tracery, very delicately carved on some; those on the transepts and west fronts of the aisles are 4-light, otherwise 3-light - all relatively unrestored apart from the most westerly on the south aisle. At the west end of the north aisle is a richly moulded 4-centre stone arched doorway with leaf design in spandrels and heavy moulded hoodmould. The north chapel has 2 late 3-light Perpendicular windows, round-headed lights with the central one taller. In between the 2 is a narrow 4- centred arched doorway. The vestry adjoins to the east with a 2-light roundheaded mullion window on the first floor and a single barred granite framed light below. The east window is Perpendicular with 5-lights. On the south side of the chancel is a similar late Perpendicular window to the north chapel. The east window of the south chapel has been blocked by the insertion of the monument inside. It has 2 late C16 3-light windows with cinquefoil heads on its south side. Later stone arched doorway inserted below the left-hand one. The 2-storey south porch is battlemented with crocketted pinnacles and diagonal buttresses; doorway similar to west doorway. Above it is an empty niche. Good interior has 5-bay arcades to nave with 2 further bays beyond chancel arch. Slender Pevsner A-type piers with cup capitals; the moulding extends to the 4- centred arches. The transepts are not exactly in line with the arcade bays and the aisle-transept arches are lower. The tall moulded chancel arch is lopsided and strangely constructed appearing to incorporate the fragment of an earlier chamfered arch. The awkward springing of the arch on the south side may have been caused by the addition of the south chapel. The tower arch is tall and narrow with piers similar to the arcade arches. The windows have internally moulded granite frames and arches. Chamfered granite wall plate. The chancel is slightly narrower than the nave and in its north wall it has a granite 4-centred arched doorway leading to the vestry. The south chapel - known as the Drake Chapel - has a good heavily ribbed stone tunnel-vaulted roof of granite richly moulded with carved bosses. The nave roof is of hammerbeam construction with the figures of angels playing musical instruments - somewhat restored; ceiled and with moulded ribs and bosses - the central boss depicts the coronation of the Virgin Mary. The chancel aisles and transepts have the more conventional wagon roofs which appear to have been considerably restored. Beneath the tower arch is a wooden screen taken from Sheepstor Church. It retains its original Perpendicular tracery and vine leaf cornice but the panelling and cresting have been renewed. A few old carved pre-Reformation bench ends survive - one in the north aisle depicts 2 angels bearing heraldic shields - but for the most part they are C19 reproductions. In the north-west corner of the Church is the granite tub front, probably Norman, with simply moulded girdle, which was discovered in the ground beneath the Church in 1857; this must have been replaced in the C16 by the font in present use which is granite and octagonal on a panelled and decorated pedestal. it has carved foliage below the bowl and its sides are decorated with quatrefoils and shields one of which displays the initial "T" which reputedly refers to John Toker the last Abbot of Buckland Abbey who became the parish priest after the Dissolution. The Church contains 1 monument by John Bacon on the east wall of the Drake Chapel. This is a good marble monument to General Elliot, Baron Heathfield who successfully defended Gibraltar during the long siege by Spain of 1779-84. It depicts a classical female figure holding up a shield with the arms of Gibraltar to a medallion of the General. At her feet is a putto wearing a helmet, with the key of the fortress in his hand. On the base is an inscription with a relief on either side depicting scenes from the battle. Dated 1795. On the south wall of the chapel are 2 smaller less elaborate marble monuments the left-hand one by Bacon to Sir Francis Henry Drake - who died 1794 and the right-hand one by Bacon Junior to the 2nd Baron Heathfield who died 1813. Other notable wall memorials in the chancel are to Amos Crymes vicar of the parish and his 2 step-daughters who died 1770 - 1806 and one by the younger Westmacott to Dame Eleanor Drake who died 1841. The only surviving fragments of old glass are in the East window depicting angels. The north transept window is by Kempe, 1880. The south transept and west windows are by Kempe and Trauer 1901 and 1907. This church has a particularly impressive exterior with most of the original windows preserved; it also has a fine interior of which the unusual nave roof and the south aisle are particularly notable features. Sources: Pevsner's "South Devon" "Churches in the Deanery of Tavistock"; Beatrix Cresswell. White's Directory. Kelly's Directory

Listing NGR: SX4902768333


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

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Cresswell, B F, Notes on Devon Churches in the Deanery of Tavistock
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: South Devon, (1952)
'Whites Directory' in Whites Directory, ()
'Kelly's Directory' in Kelly's Directory, ()


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: 06 Jun 2001
Reference: IOE01/04416/27
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Brian Richards. Source Historic England Archive
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