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Statutory Address:

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

Exeter (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 93757 92266


871/13/542 CHURCH STREET 29-JAN-53 Heavitree (West side) Church of Saint Michael and All Angels (Formerly listed as: CHURCH STREET Heavitree Church of St Michael)

II* Late medieval piers. Rebuilt 1844-6 by David Mackintosh of Exeter. Tower 1888-90, chancel extended 1898, both by E H Harbottle, also of Exeter.

MATERIALS: Grey Devon limestone with Bath stone dressings. Slate roofs (fish-scale shaped on south porch).

PLAN: Nave, chancel, north and south aisles, south porch, west tower, south chapel, north transeptal organ chamber, north vestry (also a room beneath the east end of the chancel).

EXTERIOR: This is a large suburban church in the Perpendicular style. Externally it is entirely of C19 appearance, having been rebuilt in the 1840s and then extended at both ends at the end of the century. The east end faces the road and is set high up due to the slope of the land so the east end of the chancel is placed above a room, now known as the Rifford Room. The east window is relatively small, is placed high, and has five lights with typical Perpendicular panel tracery: in its base are two rows of blind quatrefoils. North of the chancel is a large transeptally-arranged organ chamber. Its side windows, like those in the chancel, are single lights with a little tracery in the heads. In the angle between the organ chamber and the chancel is an L-shaped vestry. A single-storey entrance/passage runs across the north face of the transept. The six-bay aisles have quite large three-light windows with transoms. They are under their own gabled roofs and have embattled parapets whereas the east parts of the church have plain ones. At the west end is the most prominent component of the church - the west tower. This is modelled on the majestic medieval towers of Somerset and has three tall storeys, angle buttresses, and a demi-octagonal stair turret in the centre of the north face which rises up to the parapet. The buttresses are enriched at each level by small, blind, finialled single, ogee arches which, although small, add much to the sense of richness. The ground stage has a square-headed doorway with tracery in the spandrels: above is a large five-light window with a transom. The second storey is quite plain and has a small two-light window on the west face. The top stage has two-light belfry windows with pierced quatrefoil slabs infilling them. The parapet is embattled and has corner pinnacles and smaller intermediate ones. The south porch has an outer doorway with a continuously moulded outer order and an engaged shaft to the inner one.

INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and whitened. The dominant feature internally is the six-bay arcading between the nave and aisles. The medieval piers were retained at the C19 rebuilding and are lozenge-shaped with shafts at the corners and a large wave moulding between. In the capitals there are large angel busts. The arches to the arcades have fleurons in the hollow chamfering. At the west end there is a tall tower arch and between the nave and chancel another that is as broad as the nave. Over the nave is an arch-braced roof. The aisles have pitched roofs with tie-beams. Over the chancel there is wooden vaulting above the choir and a semi-circular roof over the sanctuary, divided into panels.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The most prominent item is the 1870s marble and alabaster reredos whose elaboration is explained by the fact it was moved here from the Exeter Cathedral in 1939. It was designed by G G Scott and is tripartite with the centre, taller portion depicting the Ascension. The side portions, under very ornate canopies, depict Pentecost and the Transfiguration. The sedilia are triple and have overhanging Perpendicular tracery heads. Part of a medieval screen is used as the south parclose and has standard Perpendicular tracery. The stone pulpit, now sadly shorn of its support, is a fine, ornate piece with carved figures of the Four Evangelists and St Michael. The oak bench ends are square-headed and have borders of carved foliage running round them. There are two fonts: that in use probably dates from the 1840s work and has a traceried octagonal bowl: the other font appears to be medieval and has a squatter bowl but also with tracery. A number of minor monuments have been preserved from the old church, dating from the late C17 to the early C19. A number of windows have stained glass, mostly C19 and the products of various makers. The east end of the nave and the chancel have been largely cleared of their fittings and there are, thus, no stalls.

HISTORY: The medieval church is represented by the survival of the piers, the rest of the church being a progressive redevelopment in the C19. Rebuilding took place in 1844-6 under David Mackintosh (fl 1843-65) who was an Exeter architect. His known work was mainly on churches and his activity seems to have been confined to Devon. At the end of the 1880s an imposing west tower was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Shortly after, in 1898, the chancel was extended east. For both these latter schemes the architect was Edward Hall Harbottle (1844-1927), a successful local architect. He had been articled to F R N Haswell, an architect in North Shields, Co. Durham, in 1859 for five years and remained as an assistant until 1866. He began practice in Exeter in 1869 and later went into partnership with his two sons. He was Ecclesiastical Surveyor to the diocese of Hereford, the archdeaconry of Exeter and was also county surveyor for Devon. In 1924-5 the roof was restored and the galleries removed,

The church is thus a multi-phase building which still retains significant traces of the ancient, medieval one in the form of the piers.

SOURCES: Cherry, B, and Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Devon, (1989)393

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Church of Saint Michael and All Angels, Heavitree, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * It is of special interest as a large, multi-phase church which retains, in the piers, evidence of the medieval building * Most of the fabric is C19 and shows progressive development form the rebuilding in the 1840s to the extension of the chancel in the 1890s and includes a fine west tower. For all this work local architects were the men in charge * It contains a splendid, ornate reredos by G G Scott, formerly in Exeter Cathedral


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

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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

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 05 Jul 2004
Reference: IOE01/10955/31
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Robert W Keniston. Source Historic England Archive
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