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Church of St Leonard

A Grade I Listed Building in Clawton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7694 / 50°46'9"N

Longitude: -4.3433 / 4°20'35"W

OS Eastings: 234858

OS Northings: 99262

OS Grid: SX348992

Mapcode National: GBR NM.0S6X

Mapcode Global: FRA 17S1.XBG

Plus Code: 9C2QQM94+QM

Entry Name: Church of St Leonard

Listing Date: 14 February 1958

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1104685

English Heritage Legacy ID: 90671

Location: Clawton, Torridge, Devon, EX22

County: Devon

District: Torridge

Civil Parish: Clawton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Clawton St Leonard

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Church building

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2/16 Church of St Leonard



Parish church. C12 chancel and font. C14 arcades and west tower, some late
C15/early C16 fenestration and roofs. Stone rubble with freestone dressings and
slate roof. West tower, nave, chancel, north and south aisles, south west porch.
Decorated and Perpendicular styles. The original C12 church was rebuilt in the C14,
possibly with transepts, before the north and south aisles and west tower were added.
The transept arches were probably rebuilt in the late C14. The chancel masonry is
small pieces of stone brought to course, changes in masonry suggest that parts of the
north wall have been rebuilt.
The chancel has a coped gable and kneelers with a C19 3-light Perpendicular window
with a hoodmould and carved label stops. On the north side a round-headed 1-light
C12 window which may have been reset. On the south side a priest's doorway has a 2-
centred hollow-chamfered arch with quatrefoils in the spandrels, a moulded architrave
and a relieving arch. To the left of the door a large blocked window under a
relieving arch, to the right a 2-light C19 Perpendicular style cusped square-headed
window with a hoodmould below a relieving arch. The north aisle has coped gables
with kneelers at ends, the north wall appears to have been rebuilt above the windows.
The east window is a 2-light C19 Perpendicular square-headed cusped window with a
hoodmould, label stops and a relieving arch. Three 3-light circa late C15/early C16
3-light windows on the north side are square-headed with cusped lights, hoodmoulds,
label stops and relieving arches. The 2 easternmost windows have iron stanchions and
saddle bars. A 2-centred arched doorway to the west is chamfered with diagonal
stops, a hoodmould and label stops. The circa late C17/early C18 door has wide
planks and studs. On the south side the south aisle has a 2-light C19 Perpendicular
style cusped square-headed window with a hoodmould below a relieving arch. The 2
eastern windows in the aisle are similar to the north side windows with stanchions
and saddle bars intact. The westernmost window is a 2-light probably C19 square-
headed cusped window with hoodmould, label stops, relieving arch and no stanchions or
saddle bars. No west windows to either aisle. The south west porch has a coped
gable and kneelers with a C19 cross on the apex of the gable and a 1634 slate sundial
above an unusually tall 4-centred arched doorway with hollow chamfered jambs
decorated with ballflowers. The doorway has a hoodmould and label stops. The
interior of the porch has an unceiled waggon roof, formerly ceiled with carved
moulded ribs and C19 replacement flat carved bosses and C19 carved wallplates. 1
medieval boss survives with traces of ancient colour. The inner doorway is chamfered
with a 2-centred arch. The 3-stage unbuttressed C14 west tower has no string course
below the battlementing and obelisk corner pinnacles on rectangular bases. The
string courses at belfry and bellringers' stage continue round a grand polygonal
battlemented stair turret in the centre of the south face which projects above the
battlementing of the tower proper. The position of the stair turret is similar to
Totnes and Harberton but earlier, and the details are unusual for the region with
large run-out stops at the base and 2 slit windows alternating with 1 small
quatrefoil window and 1 window at belfry stage consisting of 3 flamboyant mouchettes
pierced in a roundel. The west doorway has a 2-centred arch with shallow moulding
and a bead hoodmould and label stops below a relieving arch. A small shield and
flower are carved on the mouldings of the doorway at the springing of the arch. A 3-
light Decorated west window with geometric tracery is probably a C19 replacement.
The belfry opening on the west face is also geometric Decorated in style with 2
trefoil-headed lights below a quatrefoil. The window has a hoodmould, label stops
and slate louvres. On the north side the belfry opening has 2 trefoil-headed lights
with slate louvres below a square-headed hoodmould with label stops. On the east
face the belfry opening is an arched uncusped 2-light window with a hoodmould and
label stops. On the south side the position of the stair turret restricts the belfry
opening to a 1-light trefoil-head window with slate louvres and a hoodmould with
label stops. The east face of the tower has a small rectangular chamfered window at
bellringers' stage.
Interior Chancel walls plastered, aisle walls half-plastered. The chancel/nave
division is marked by the change in height between the chancel and nave roofs, with
no chancel arch proper. Tall plain narrow tower arch. 4-bay north and south
arcades, the easternmost bays on both sides polyphant with main and subsidiary shafts
with mouldings between and capitals to the main shafts only. The south arch is 2-
centred, the north arch 3-centred, Pevsner suggests that they may have been intended
as transeptal arches. The 3 westernmost arches have octagonal freestone ashlar piers
with double chamfered arches and brattished capitals. The nave roof is a circa late
C19 canted waggon with moulded ribs, carved bosses and wallplates. The north and
south aisle roofs are largely Perpendicular open waggon roofs with carved ribs,
bosses and wallplates, most of the bosses appear to be C19 copies. The chancel roof
is an open waggon, probably formerly ceiled, with carved ribs, bosses and C19
wallplates, most of the bosses appear to be replacements. The chancel walls are
whitewashed but the remains of a late C19 pargetting scheme survives with 2 large
angels and possibly St George killing a dragon and contemporary colour may exist
below the whitewash. The decoration was the work of the Revd. G.D. Melhuish, (1891-
97). Late C19 timber reredos with dossall, the reredos consists of 5 crested panels
with flamboyant tracery. A medieval piscina on the south side has a chamfered arch,
the moulded projecting bowl is probably later. On the north side a C19 moulded
polyphant aumbrey has a hoodmould, label stops and a hollow-chamfered arch with
ballflowers. Late C19 mosaic floor to the chancel. A hagioscope between the south
aisle and the chancel must have post-dated the roof loft stairs which still exist in
a fragmentary form. Circa late C19 5-sided timber drum pulpit on a polyphant base
has panels of blind tracery above a frieze of quatrefoils, the polyphant base is also
carved. The font is C12 and probably polyphant with 2 orders of cable moulding round
the bowl and a base decorated with 4 profile heads at the corners and ornament carved
on 2 of the main surfaces of the base. The whole design is unusual and may be a
reconstruction. The font is on a later square plinth on a platform of late medieval
tiles of the Barnstaple type decorated with stylized swans, lions and fleur de lis.
The benches in the nave are circa 1860s with shouldered ends and engaged shafts with
some stiff leaf carving. Blind traceried motifs are carved on the ends. On the
north wall an early C17 plaster wall monument, painted white, commemorates the son of
Christopher Osmond of Fernhill, died 1631. A reclining figure in relief is flanked
by Ionic columns supporting a moulded cornice. Above the cornice a cartouche with
armorial bearings is flanked by the figures of Peace and War. A mourner kneels at
the feet of the reclining figure and there is a cartouche inscription panel above the
figure. Below the plaster memorial a slate inscription panel is fixed to the wall
commemorating Christopher Osmond, died 1631. The inscription is round the border
with an outer border of fine strapwork and interlace, armorial bearings and a verse
in the centre. On the north wall of the tower a large undated plaster Royal Arms. A
small probably C16 brass of a praying cleric is fixed to one of the choir stalls. A
late C19 east window showing the influence of the Morris Company appears to be
contemporary with the reredos.
Pevsner, North Devon (1952)
Church Guide. (n,d.)

Listing NGR: SX3485599263

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