SX 98 SE
6/353 Church of St Clement
Parish Church. Largely C15 with a chancel extension and re-roofing by Mr Rowell,
circa 1860 (Devon C19 Churches Project), and extensive repairs and alterations in the
1870s by the same architect (Devon C19 Churches Project). Red sandstone, slate
Plan: West tower, nave, chancel, north and south 5-bay arcades, south porch (no
longer in use), north vestry. The nave/chancel division was moved eastwards by one
bay when the chancel was extended. Although th present fabric is Perpendicular in
style with a C19 Decorated chancel it has been suggested that the base of the tower
could date from the C13 (Cresswell): a church was dedicated at Powderham in 1259
(Bronescombe's Register, November 24 1259).
Exterior: Snecked sandstone chancel with set-back buttresses and a 3-light 1860
Decorated east window with carved label stops and a 1-light cusped south window.
Buttressed south aisle in coursed sandstone with 3-light Perpendicular windows, some
wholly C19, others substantially repaired at different dates in the C19. South porch
(disused) with a moulded outer doorway with cushion stops, a moulded inner doorway
and a probably early C17 2-leaf inner door with good ironwork ; unceiled C19 wagon
roof. The north aisle has set-back buttresses at the east end and Perpendicular 3-
light windows similar to the south aisle : flat-roofed brick vestry abuts the aisle
to the east : Battlemented coursed red sandstone west tower with diagonal buttresses
and an internal north-west stair turret. The west face has a moulded west doorway
with cushion stops and a 3-light C19 west window with capitals to the mullions. 2-
light chamfered belfry openings on all 4 faces of the tower, square-headed
bellringer's opening on the south side.
Interior: Unplastered walls ; double-chamfered tower arch ; 1860 chancel arch with
moulded responds with carved capitals ; 5-bay north and south arcades with moulded
piers and arches and carved capitals, the rood screen sited 1 bay west of the chancel
arch. C19 unceiled wagon roofs with moulded ribs and foliage bosses, the south
chapel (now the organ chamber) roof with a good painted scheme. The rood screen
does not fit its present position perfectly, parts of it are said to be the parclose
screens to the Greenway aisle at Tiverton (Cresswell), brought to Powderham circa
1820. Cresswell aslo notes an inscription on the last panel of the south side date
of 1853 and recording that "...ye upper part of ye Skrene completed by James William
Fraser as a thankoffering during his temporry residence at Powderham Castle". The
painted wainscot panels do not belong to the present screen and are tacked on to it.
A western screen in the tower arch is also partly medieval ; 4-bay parcloses to the
Courtenay pew and the organ chamber are largely C19 with some medieval tracery.
The chancel has stone gabled 3-tier frames with crockets and finials to earlier
commandment boards, a C19 timber altar and a 2-tier cinquefoil-headed piscina. Good
choir stalls, those to the rear collegiate in a C17 style, the inner stalls with
poppyhead finials. The Courtenay family pew to the north of the choir retains circa
late C19 padded leather button-back seats. On the south side the former Courtenay
chapel, now largely filled with the organ, has good tiling by W. Godwin of Hereford
and a notable life size white marble effigy of Elizabeth, Countess of Devon, died
1867, by Stephens (Pevsner) on a stone chest decorated with armorial bearings.
The nave has a late C19 open timber drum pulpit, an octagonal font with a carved
bowl, either designed or recut in the C19, on a thick stem with a probably C18 font
cover. Set of late C19 benches with wide square-headed ends carved with tracery.
Sculptured Royal Arms over the south door fixed on top of an earlier, painted, Royal
Arms. The chamfered doorway to the former rood loft stair turret survives, one bay
west of the position of the present screen. A painting by Cosway, formerly part of
the reredos, hangs on the north wall and the sculptured figures of Moses and Aaron on
the tower screen may also originate from an earlier reredos.
Monuments Circa early C14 effigy of a lady beneath an ogee arch in the north wall of
the chancel in an unusually good state of preservation with a square-headed head-
dress, the head supported by angels, the feet resting on a dog with an ornamented
collar. On the south side of the chancel a stone canopied tomb is inset with a brass
foliated cross and brass plaques to members of the Courtenay family are fixed to the
base. The monument, finely carved, is said by Cresswell to be a copy of the medieval
Courtenay tomb at Colyton but Bond and Camm record that it incorporates ornamental
stone screenwork removed from Tiverton church in the early C19.
Glass C15 fragments collected in a window in the north aisle by Drake of Exeter in
1906. East window of south aisle commemorating T.P. Courtenay erected about 1844,
designed by Wailes : southermost window of south aisle high quality by Clayton and
Bell of circa 1870. East window of the Courtenay family pew by Willement, north
window by Beer of Exeter with a memorial date of 1843. 2 windows in the south aisle
with quarry glass by Drake of Exeter. Window in north aisle, the inscription on tin
panels in the lower parts of the lights, circa 1898, by Drake of Exeter commemorating
the 13th Earl, his wife and son.
Bond, F.B. and Camm, Don Bede, Roodscreens and Roodlofts (1909), vol. II, p.344.
Cresswell, B., Notes on churches in the Deanery of Kenn (1912), pp 130-140.
Pevsner, South Devon (1952).
Devon Nineteenth Century Churches Project.
Listing NGR: SX9725184413