History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Church of St Mary

A Grade II Listed Building in Northam, Devon

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 51.0547 / 51°3'16"N

Longitude: -4.1931 / 4°11'35"W

OS Eastings: 246393

OS Northings: 130659

OS Grid: SS463306

Mapcode National: GBR KK.FTV6

Mapcode Global: FRA 263B.G7V

Plus Code: 9C3Q3R34+VQ

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 15 June 1951

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1104753

English Heritage Legacy ID: 90536

Location: Northam, Torridge, Devon, EX39

County: Devon

District: Torridge

Civil Parish: Northam

Built-Up Area: Northam

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Appledore St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Parish church

Find accommodation in



1836-8, by J. Williams. Re-seated 1897-8 to plans by C.E. Smyth-Richards of Barnstaple, and enlarged in 1909, probably by Smyth-Richards or J.J. Smith of Bideford.

Materials: Coursed grey rubble, cream limestone dressings (possibly Bath stone). Tower of darker pinkish sandstone from Cornborough, Abbotsham. Slate roofs.

Plan: Five bay clerestoried nave with north-west porch, lean-to aisles, shallow sanctuary, south-west tower which also functions as a porch.

Exterior: Sited in a large sloping graveyard, the east front facing down towards the road and the Torridge estuary. The style is Perp revival of the Commissioners¿ type, the forms typical of the 1830s. The gable east front has a three-light window, with flanking turrets. Flat parapets to the aisles which are lower and set back, and have untraceried lancets to the east. The aisle windows have simple Y-tracery except in the westernmost bay which have more elaborate Perp tracery. Shallow buttresses at each bay, rising to stumpy pinnacles. The tower is obviously an addition from the non-matching stone and low, Perp, with a bulky stair-turret at the south-east and angle buttresses. Two-light windows, some of them square-headed, and an embattled parapet with little pinnacles. The gabled north-west porch (1909) has a four-centred doorway with naturalistic head-stops. The west end is cut into the rising ground, with a three-light window and a louvred three-light vent in the west gable. Narrow vestry between the nave west wall and the retaining wall of the churchyard.

Interior: The nave arcades have octagonal piers, moulded capitals and double-chamfered arches. The west bay is narrower. The good plaster vault of 1838 has moulded quadripartite ribs, and at the intersections big acanthus bosses which also functioned as ventilators for gas lighting. At the clerestory walls the ribs rest on cherub corbels. Flat ceilings to the aisles, with moulded cornices. The east ends of the aisles, i.e., flanking the chancel, contain the organ (north), and on the south a small chapel re-ordered in 1988.

Principal Fixtures: Stone reredos perhaps of the mid-19th century; flanking niches under crocketed gables, and a central oak panelled section c. 1953. Open chancel screen with foiled arched openings and arcaded gallery top. Made in 1912 at a local shipyard from salvaged ship¿s timbers. Pulpit c. 1866, of stone with marble shafts and blind trefoiled arches. The stem is carved with ropework. Neo-Perp font, probably late 19th century, with panelled stem rising via ogee curves to an octagonal bowl. Plain pine benches, 1899, and wood-block floors of the same date, with stone-flagged aisles. Stained glass: east window perhaps c. 1860s, with much red, pink and turquoise; south chapel east, the Lundy window, by James Paterson of Bideford, 1958; and south chapel south, a Second World War memorial by Francis Spear, c. 1946-53. The latter two are particularly good quality designs. Mainly early 20th century stained glass in the aisles.

History: A medieval chapel dedicated to St Anne stood near the site of the present church. In 1834 the Rev Thomas Mill of Northam, the mother parish, requested permission to build a new church, to seat 600. On Thursday 23 June, 1836, the foundation stone was laid. Consecration took place on 25 September 1838. £1,804-12s-2d was collected, with additional funds from grants and the sale of materials from the old chapel. The interior was reordered in 1899, with the seating rearranged to form a central walkway, new choir stalls, floor and decoration, and a small vestry at the west end. The architect was probably C.E. Smyth-Richards of Barnstaple, who provided plans for an ICBS grant application in 1897, and was ecclesiastical surveyor to the archdeaconry of Barnstaple from the 1890s. The intended enlargement of the west end by one bay and addition of a tower were carried out in 1909, possibly using the plans of 1897-8. Pevsner attributed all the alterations to John J. Smith of Bideford, who made (unexecuted) plans for a vestry in 1913.

Pevsner, N and Cherry, B., Buildings of England; Devon (1989).
Kelly's Directory of Devon (1902).
North Devon Record Office: 3521A/PW/15 - faculty, 1897; and 3521A/PW/21, vestry plan, 1913.
Lambeth Palace Library, Incorporated Church Buildings Society (ICBS) archive, file 10043 (www.churchplansonline.org)

Reasons for Designation: The church of St Mary, Appledore is designated at grade II for the following principal reasons:

* A 19th century church overlooking the waterfront in the shipbuilding port of Appledore.

* Perp Gothic of the 1830s Commissioners¿ variety, with some typical 1830s features including plaster rib vault and Y-tracery.

* Clearly differentiated alterations of 1897-1909.

* Fittings and glass mainly of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with local connections such as the chancel screen and rope decoration on the pulpit.

* Good quality 1950s stained glass by James Paterson and Francis Spear.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 27 October 2017.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.