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Church of St John the Baptist

A Grade I Listed Building in North Bovey, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6405 / 50°38'25"N

Longitude: -3.7842 / 3°47'3"W

OS Eastings: 273935

OS Northings: 83833

OS Grid: SX739838

Mapcode National: GBR QF.F5KP

Mapcode Global: FRA 27YC.ZGY

Entry Name: Church of St John the Baptist

Listing Date: 23 August 1955

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1097172

English Heritage Legacy ID: 85167

Location: North Bovey, Teignbridge, Devon, TQ13

County: Devon

District: Teignbridge

Civil Parish: North Bovey

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: North Bovey St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Find accommodation in
North Bovey

Listing Text

SX 78 SW
4/224 Church of St John the Baptist


Parish church. C13 chancel, the remainder C15 with various C19 and early C20
restorations. Walls are rendered except for lower 2 stages of tower which are
granite ashlar. Granite ashlar and volcanic stone detail. Slate roof to nave,
chancel and aisles with crested ridge tiles and granite coping stones and kneelers.
Nave with narrower chancel, north and south aisles and west tower. Single storey
south porch. Perpendicular throughout except for C13 chancel.
Unbuttressed west tower of 3 stages. Doorway on west side has jambs and arch each
constructed out of 2 massive granite blocks, has pointed 4-centred arch with roll
and hollow moulding and ball stops, with relieving arch above. Window above
probably late C19 replacement, also has relieving arch. At the second stage on the
south side is a very small slit window opening with arched head. On the east side
at this stage is a small single light square-headed window opening. Round headed 2-
light belfry openings at third stage except for north side which has 2 single light
openings. Pentagonal stair turret projection on north side of tower with slit
window openings, battlemented at the top and rising above the battlementation of the
tower which has a 4-sided pinnacle at each corner with ball finials. Stone lean-to
added probably in C19 in angle between tower and north aisle, partly enclosing stair
turret. North aisle has buttresses set back from corners between windows. The
plinth continues from the tower. 3-light Perpendicular traceried windows retain
original jambs and hoodmoulds but tracery replaced in volcanic stone, also the
mullion of the west window in granite. Between the 2 most easterly windows on the
north side is semi-hexagonal rood stair turret projection with moulded granite
capping. The chancel has no plinth. On its north side is a plain lancet window
with 4-centred head. East window replaced in 1874 all in volcanic stone, 3-light
Perpendicular style. On south side of chancel is single light window with 4-
centred head. To its left is priest door with 4-centred arched granite surround,
hollow chamfered. The plinth starts again at the south aisle chapel. East window
of south chapel has original moulded granite jambs and hoodmould but mullions
replaced in granite and tracery in volcanic stone in C19. Buttresses set back from
corners of south aisle and intermediate ones between windows. 3-light Perpendicular
traceried windows on the south side of the aisle the most easterly window retains
its original granite mullions and jambs with tracery and hoodmould replaced in
volcanic stone. The 2 windows to its left retain only their original jambs, the
rest replaced. The gabled porch appears to have been added as it partially overlaps
a buttress of the south aisle, probably late C15. It has setback buttresses and the
plinth follows the same course as on the south aisle. The porch doorway has roll
and hollow moulding to its granite jambs on inside and out with cushion stops on the
outside and pointed 4-centred arch. The window to the left of the porch is the same
as the previous 2.
Good interior. Porch has wagon roof with moulded ribs and wall plates with bosses,
with bosses also at either end of collar purlin. Holy water stoup in east wall.
Stone seats either side with chamfered edge. Doorway to church has 2-centred
granite arch with plain chamfer. The nave has octagonal stone pillars and capitals
to either aisle with slight variation of squatter bases to south aisle and taller
ones to north aisle. Both arcades have 4-centred arches. Granite voussoir arch to
tower supported on chamfered jambs with a chamfered stone projecting inwards from
the springing of the arch either side. The nave roof was treated for infested
woodwork in 1955 when it was much repaired and any bosses and moulded timbers were
presumably destroyed although the basic wagon roof structure survives with C20
boarding in between. The aisles have similar roof structure but with the moulded
ribs, carved wall-plates and uncoloured bosses surviving, probably C15. The wagon
roof to the chancel is particularly interesting for its bosses, some of which are
purely decorative but others are pictorial or symbolic. 3 depict the heads of a
king and 2 queens thought to be King Edward I (1272-1307) and his Queens, Margaret
of France and Eleanor of Castille. Another shows 3 rabbits with their ears joining
to form a triangle which may be symbolic of the Trinity. The wall-plates to the
chancel also have a series of carved decorative and symbolic medallions. In the
south wall of the chancel is a plain piscina. The south chapel also has a piscina
in its south wall with trefoil-headed opening and carved spandrels. In the north
chapel is an arched stone doorway to rood stairs with square-headed stone doorway at
the top. Fine late C15 timber screen running across nave and both aisles but much
mutilated by restoration probably mainly dating from the work of Rev W H Thornton
1874-6 who wrote in 1899 that he had "blended into the church of North Bovey all
sorts of spoils from all sorts of Churches". It is Pevsner Type A with
Perpendicular lights and pointed tracery with at least 3 different types of
panelling and the carving in the spandrels mutilated and considerably replaced with
fragments from other screens. The chancel doorway has jambs decorated with carved
figures each standing under a crocketed canopy as at nearby Manaton Church. The
cornice to the screen is mainly original and consists of alternate grapes and birds
with running vine leaf. The whole is coated with a dark brown paint. Parclose
screens either side of chancel with square-headed tracery and doorways, each has 1
early carved bench end attached at the west side of the doorway. Both also coated
with brown paint. The altar in the south chapel is comprised of panels of Medieval
panelling, possibly re-used, similar to the panelling of the screen, restored in its
original colours. A few early bench ends survive, 1 has the initials W.P., possibly
referring to William Pipard, an early Lord of the Manor. Another is more
Renaissance in design and has the head of a man wearing a hat with a feather in it.
Below him are 2 Tudor roses in circular plaques beneath which is a plant with a
human face sprouting from the top. The church was mainly re-seated in 1919 during
the restoration by Sir Charles Nicholson. Granite octagonal font with carved panels
on each face and moulded pedestal. The carved oak pulpit dates from 1910 and
replaces an C18 one. Fragments of Medieval glass survive in the upper tracery of
the north window to the north chapel portraying the emblems of the 4 evangelists.
The remainder of the window glass is mid-late C19 and early C20, some of which are
commemorative. On the north side the glass is frosted while on the south side it is
clear. There are a number of C17 granite tomb slabs in the aisles and nave, some
decorative, whilst in the chancel are granite memorial slabs to former rectors
including William Hambert (died 1670) and George Line (died 1684).
Sources: The Church of North Bovey in Devonshire" - Mrs. R. Hughes, North Bovey. "A
short history and Guide" - Rev. Leo Sherley-Price; Devon C19 Churches Project "Notes
on North Bovey" - Rev. Fulford Williams.

Listing NGR: SX7393483827

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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