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Church of St Helen

A Grade II* Listed Building in Abbotsham, Devon

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Latitude: 51.0155 / 51°0'55"N

Longitude: -4.2473 / 4°14'50"W

OS Eastings: 242459

OS Northings: 126415

OS Grid: SS424264

Mapcode National: GBR KG.JCW0

Mapcode Global: FRA 16ZF.K3W

Plus Code: 9C3Q2Q83+53

Entry Name: Church of St Helen

Listing Date: 20 February 1958

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1104408

English Heritage Legacy ID: 91324

Location: Abbotsham, Torridge, Devon, EX39

County: Devon

District: Torridge

Civil Parish: Abbotsham

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Abbotsham St Helen

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Church building

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2/7 Church of St. Helen
GV. II *
Anglican parish church. Early C13, with tower of c.1300;
restored 1870. Coursed slatestone rubble with ashlar dressings;
gabled slate roof with C19 coping and kneelers. Cruciform plan:
early C13 nave and chancel; tower of c.1300 to north east and
early C14 south chapel. Mid/late C19 east window of 3 graduated
lancets; early C13 two-light chamfered round-arched window to
north with C19 mullion and sill; C13 chamfered lancet window to
south. Late Cl9 vestry to south has hoodmould over pointed
chamfered doorway and lateral stack flanked by trefoiled lancets.
South transept: early C14 quatrefoil light to east; hood mould
over early C14 two-light south window with curvilinear tracery
and C20 mullions; mid/late C19 four-light west window and two
2-light Y-tracery windows set in square-headed architraves.
Three-stage north-east tower of c.1300 has offset corner
buttresses to lower-stage; c. 1300 Y-tracery 2-light window above
blocked door to north; similar C19 window to east; C13 lancet
window beneath string course of belfry stage, which has Y-tracery
2-light windows of c.1300; string course beneath crenellated
parapet. Rood-stair projection in north-east corner of nave. In
east gable of nave are label moulds over two C17 two-light
mullioned windows, and a C14 trefoiled light. The nave has much
C19 restoration, including the offset buttresses, hammer-dressed
quoining to south west and fenestration. Mid C19 two-light
Decorated-style window and Y-tracery window to south; to north
side of nave is mid C19 two-light Decorated-style window and C13
lancet window flanking mid C19 porch with pointed-arched doorways
and studded door. Mid C19 three-light Decorated-style west
window. Interior: rendered walls. Beautifully-carved reredos,
with figures of angels and central nativity scene set in
crocketed canopies, in memory of Rev. E.M.W. Sealy (d. 1914) and
his son (d. 1915). Piscina restored with marble basin at same
time. C19 chancel arch. C15 waggon roofs with moulded ribs and
foliate-carved bosses to chancel (with some C19 restoration),
nave and south transept: nave roof has carved figures holding
shields which have emblems of various trade guilds, including
fuller's tucker (a pair of scissors), carpenter's square, hammer
and axe, and anchor, spade and mason's trowel; one shield has
arms of Tavistock Abbey, which was the rector of the church.
Pointed chamfered arches to transepts. Fittings: chancel has
late C19 choir tiles, encaustic sanctuary tiles laid by Henrietta
Josepha Hatherly in memory of her sister, d.1847, and marble
floor laid in memory of Rev. R.W. Sealy, d. 1914. Nave has late
C19 chair and eagle lectern, and Gothic-style pulpit erected
1896. C12 font has fluted bowl set on cable-moulded stem. C15
and C16 bench ends, carved with tracery, foliate decoration and
Renaissance emblems as well as Christ bearing the Cross and
emblems of the Passion and the initials J.W. and the
woolstapler's mark: John Willett was responsible for the
plasterwork dated 1616 at Coombe House (q.v). Traceried bench
front next to west door is mostly C19 but includes some C15
fragments and a vine-trail moulding. The pews, built in 1724,
have brass plates fixed to them, recording names of farms in the
parish and which originated in a dispute about seating: the
plates mark the seats alloted by a commission appointed in 1723
by the Bishop of Exeter. Monuments: chancel has tablets to
Anthony Hony, d. 1639 (with epitaph), Rev. William Walter, d.
1846, and John Walker, d. 1807, and sons; mid C19 Gothic-style
tablet to Fortescues and family; heraldic achievement set above
memorial to Margaretta Burges, d. 1721/2. Memorial tablets in
nave dated 1835, 1916 and 1917; also in nave is memorial to John
Willett of Combe, d. 1736, which has heraldic achievement set in
broken segmental pediment flanked by angels set above oval panel
inscription panel surrounded by drapery swags flanked by scrolls
and Corinthian columns. Mid C19 and C20 brasses and tablets in
north transept.
(Buildings of England: North Devon, pp. 37-8; National Monuments
Record; Devon County Record Office, Faculty Petitions (Diocesan
Records), No. 1 for Abbotsham Parish).

Listing NGR: SS4245926415

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