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Church of St John the Baptist

A Grade II* Listed Building in Colaton Raleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6769 / 50°40'36"N

Longitude: -3.3011 / 3°18'4"W

OS Eastings: 308161

OS Northings: 87168

OS Grid: SY081871

Mapcode National: GBR P7.623D

Mapcode Global: FRA 37Z9.1RC

Plus Code: 9C2RMMGX+QG

Entry Name: Church of St John the Baptist

Listing Date: 30 June 1961

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1097559

English Heritage Legacy ID: 86235

Location: Colaton Raleigh, East Devon, Devon, EX10

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Colaton Raleigh

Built-Up Area: Colaton Raleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Colaton Raleigh

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Find accommodation in


SY 08 NE
3/36 Church of St John the Baptist
Parish church. Parts are late C12-early C13; the tower is late C15-early C16, and
rest thoroughly refurbished and much rebuilt in 1875 by R M Fulford with sgraffito
decoration by Vickery of Barnstaple to Fulford's design. Tower of roughly-coursed
dressed blocks of brownish-red local conglomerage sandstone with Beerstone detail;
the rest is similar stone but neater and snecked with limestone detail quarried from
nearby Ladram Bay; slate roof is basically blue-grey but includes panels of
scallop-shaped purple-coloured slate over the chancel and red ridge tiles are
alternatively plain and crested.
The Transitional north arcade and font are all that remain from the late C12-early
C13 church. The rest of the nave, shallow north and south aisles, and chancel were
rebuilt in 1875 with a south transeptal chapel, a north aisle chapel, and vestry
south of the west tower. The tower itself is late C15-early C16 and it is
Perpendicular in style. The rest was rebuilt in 1975 in Early Decorated style.
Good, tall west tower of 2 stages. It is unbuttressed with chamfered plinth,
soffit-moulded dripcourses and embattled parapet. The semi-hexagonal stair turret
projects from the south-east corner and rises higher than the main tower with its
own embattled parapet. It has many Beerstone quoins and has tiny slit windows. The
belfry windows are square-headed, 2 lights with sunken spandrels and cinquefoil
heads. There is a smaller similar single light window to the ringing loft on the
west side. Also on the west side is a good late C15-early C16 Beerstone doorway; a
Tudor arch with the spandrels carved as foliage, a moulded surround, and hoodmould
with the labels carved as a man and womans heads. It contains C19 double plank
doors with ornate strap hinges. Directly above is a partly-restored 3-light window
with Perpendicular tracery and a hoodmould. In the angle of the tower and south
aisle is a C19 vestry different in style from the main C19 rebuild and which may be
later than 1875. Built entirely of limestone it has chamfered plinth and a parapet
with moulded coping over a moulded dripcourse. The west side includes a plain
segmental pointed arch doorway, the canted corner contains a twin lancet window with
ogee heads and the centre of the south side breaks forward very slightly and
contains a similar twin lancet.
The rest of the church exterior is 1875 work and consistent in style. There is a
chamfered plinth, the ashlar buttresses have weathered offsets and the gables have
shaped kneelers and coping with a shallow soffit moulding. Although the roof is
continuous between nave and chancel the break is emphasized by coping and an apex
cross. The chancel also has an apex cross. Also the transept and chancel walls are
enriched by 2 bands of rusticated sandstone ashlar. Roof is steeply-pitched to nave
and chancel breaking to a lower pitch over the aisles.
4-window front to the south aisle, 2 each side of south door. All are square-headed
with broad bead-moulded surrounds and contain simple Decorated-style tracery. From
left to right they are 2 lights, 1 light, 1 light and 3 lights. The central bay
containing the doorway is articulated like a porch. It is broken forward very
slightly with flanking buttresses and gable over. The doorway is an ornate 2-
centred arch with moulded surround, the outer moulding on shafts with moulded caps
and bases. It contains double doors. The transept is gabled and flanked by
buttresses projecting forward. It contains 2 tall trefoil-headed lancets and above
them, in the centre, an oculus with Decorated-style tracery. Above that a lancet
ventilator. East side is blind returning to the chancel. In the corner of
transept and chancel a three-sided projection containing a corridor looks like a
rood stair turret and contains a small twin lancet window with trefoil heads. The 2
windows on the south side of the chancel have arched heads and contain Decorated
tracery, 1 light to left and 2 to right. The east end has diagonal buttresses and a
low moulded dripcourse which steps up below the east window; tall 3-light window
with unusual Perpendicular tracery, a hoodmould with labels carved as foliage and a
relieving arch above of alternate purple and cream-coloured voussoirs. At the apex
another lancet ventilator. The north aisle stops just short of the east end and its
east end contains a 2-light window with plate tracery and hoodmould with carved
labels. On the north side the break between nave and chancel is marked by a
buttress and the windows are similar to those on the south side. Left of the
buttress 2 windows, a 2-light window to left and a 4-light window to right; in the
middle a small priests doorway in a plain 2-centred arch. To right of the buttress
first a 2-light, then a 3-light and another 2-light window and in the west end
another 2-light window with plate tracery.
Good interior, mostly the result of the 1875 scheme. The nave has an open 3-bay
false hammer beam truss roof with diagonal plank backing. The hammer beams
terminate as angels holding shields. Curved braces below are moulded and rest on
moulded stone corbels. The aisles have simple leanto roofs. The chancel has a 3-
bay roof with intermediate trusses. The main trusses are arch-braced and have
carved praying angels at their feet standing on moulded stone corbels. The ribs and
purlins are moulded and the roof is boarded in wagon fashion. There are carved
bosses and some look as though they may be C15 but since they are painted this is
difficult to prove.
The tower arch is late C15-early C16 with a Beerstone double-chamfered arch ring
dying into plain responds. C19 floor to the ringing loft. The chancel arch is
1875. The arch springs from ornate imposts resting on short half-engaged vaulting
shafts with stiff leaf capitals continued as an impost frieze. The arch itself is
moulded with a sunken soffit carved as square rosettes. It includes a C19 rood.
The 3-bay arcade from nave to aisle is late C12-early C13 in Transitional style;
low and broad circular piers with simply moulded caps, pointed arches with double-
chamfer rings. The further 2 bays overlapping the chancel are similar but may have
been reset in the C19. The southern arcade is also similar in style but certainly
1875 in date. The rear column here has a clustered shaft. More stiff leaf
decoration on the eastern respond and corner to transept has a half-engaged vaulting
shaft. Another pointed arch to transept and more stiff leaf decoration to respond,
and yet more to trefoil-headed doorway to corridor from chancel to transept. Nave
floor is a chequer pattern of red and black tiles and encaustic tiles appear in the
chancel, becoming more common towards the altar.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the church is the 1875 sgraffito plaster
wall treatment. The window rear arches and reveals are exposed stone ashlar but the
walls in general are clad with plaster; a buff ground cut back to expose mainly
blue, red and green with occasional white and purple. The arches are framed by
running foliage and the east window has a text over. Arcaded friezes contain
various stylized plant forms and geometric patterns. The arch spandrels include
religious emblems and motifs such as the Pelican in her piety, symbols of the
Passion, Agnes Die and floral emblems. The decoration becames increasingly rich
towards the altar. The scheme survives virtually intact.
Most of the furnishings and fittings are also 1875 in date. The altar is oak with a
blind Gothic arcade across the front which is carved and painted in a style similar
to the wall decoration. C20 reredos. To right of the altar is an arch-headed
piscina which may actually be medieval although the frame and credence are C19. Oak
altar rail with wrought iron standards and scrolled brackets. The stalls and low
chancel screen are timber and Gothic in style. Both have open arcades and the screen
has poppyhead finials. The pulpit, lectern and tower screen are similar in style.
Plain deal benches also from 1875. The font is late C12-early C13. It is built of
Beerstone with a plain octagonal bowl and circular stem containing a lower cable
mould, and sitting on a C19 moulded base.
The only monuments are those moved into the tower in 1875. They are late C18 and
C19 and relatively plain black and white marble plaques. The best are those in
memory of Henry Cutler who died in 1836 (it includes a carved heraldic achievement),
that in memory of Susan Foster who died in 1834 (it has a Tudor Gothic frame), that
in memory of James and Sarah Hobbs (died 1809 and 1783) which has a frame of pink
veined marble enriched with white florettes. The C19 stained glass is quite good,
some of it looking as if it came from differently shaped windows.
The oldest part of the church, the Transitional north arcade, is a rare example of
the period in Devon. The late C15-early C16 west tower is virtually intact. The
rest was rebuilt in 1875 and is a good Fulford restoration, particularly notable for
the internal sgraffito plasterwork scheme.
Source: Devon C19 Church Project.

Listing NGR: SY0816187168

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