History in Structure

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

Church of St John the Baptist

A Grade I Listed Building in Stowford, Devon

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 50.6617 / 50°39'42"N

Longitude: -4.2189 / 4°13'8"W

OS Eastings: 243269

OS Northings: 87022

OS Grid: SX432870

Mapcode National: GBR NS.7N4S

Mapcode Global: FRA 271B.B5S

Plus Code: 9C2QMQ6J+MC

Entry Name: Church of St John the Baptist

Listing Date: 21 March 1967

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1105532

English Heritage Legacy ID: 92530

Location: Stowford, West Devon, Devon, EX20

County: Devon

District: West Devon

Civil Parish: Stowford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Tagged with: Church building

Find accommodation in



3/289 Church of St John the Baptist

Parish church. Some evidence of C14 work at the east end; C15 nave, south aisle,
west tower. 1874 restoration and north aisle by Sir Gilbert Scott with evidence of
considerable C19 rebuilding, late C19 south west vestry. Stone rubble with granite
dressings and slate roof with C19 ridge tiles, some C19 freestone dressings. Courses
of granite lacing to the tower. Mostly Perpendicular. The chancel and south chancel
chapel arches may be C14 but were altered in the late C15 probably when the south
aisle was rebuilt. The 3 easternmost roof bays of the south chancel chapel are
probably C16 and the chapel may have been extended eastwards at this date. The north
aisle by scott is in the Perpendicular style and he also appears to have rebuilt part
of the south arcade. The 1874 fitting, particularly the woodwork are outstanding.
The south arcade is 5-bay, 2 bays to the chancel, the north arcade is 4-bay, 1 bay
to the chancel. The chancel has a C19 plinth which continues to the west end of the
south chancel chapel and a coped east gable with a cross at the apex. C15 granite
Perpendicular east window has Y tracery in a moulded architrave with a hoodmould.
The south wall has a marked change in plane, the 2 easternmost bays bending
southwards. The south east diagonal buttress with set-offs is probably C19, 3 other
buttresses with set-offs on the south side are of different sizes and probably of
different dates and the survival of the original plinth in only 1 bay suggests that
the south wall was largely rebuilt in the C19. The rafters on the south side project
beyond the walls and are exposed below the eaves. C16 Perpendicular 3-light uncusped
granite east window to the south aisle with hoodmould. The 2 easternmost windows on
the south side are uncusped 3-light granite C16 windows with moulded architraves,
hoodmoulds and carved label stops, one has a relieving arch above. Between them is a
chamfered, stopped granite priest's door with an almost flat arch, probably also C16.
The 2 westernmost aisle windows are 3-light freestone C19 Perpendicular windows with
hoodmoulds and carved label stops and probably date from 1874. The west window of
the aisle is a 3-light granite C15 window with a hoodmould and carved label stops,
some replacement of tracery and mullions. The north aisle of 1874 has coped gables
at ends and exposed rafters below the eaves. There is one buttress with set-offs and
no window to the easternmost bay or to the west end to allow for some grand C18
monuments which were re-sited in the aisle by Scott. The east window is a 3-light
C19 granite Perpendicular window with a moulded architrave, hoodmould and carved
label stops. The easternmost and westernmost windows of the aisle are 3-light
freestone C19 windows with moulded architraves, hoodmoulds and carved label stops.
Between them Scott appears to have incorporated an early C19 2-light freestone cusped
window with a moulded architrave, probably to preserve the commemorative glass. The
masonry of the west tower is striking, with alternating bands of stone rubble and
granite. The unbuttressed tower is 3-stage with tall battlementing and rectangular
corner pinnacles with tall crocketted finials crowned with crosses. The north east
stair turret projects at the first stage only. There is a moulded string above the
plinth and chamfered strings mark the stages. The west face has a moulded arched
granite doorway with carved spandrels in a square-headed architrave; the returns to
the hoodmould are unusually long. A 3-light granite Perpendicular west window above
has a hoodmould, some replacement of mullions. There are 2-light chamfered belfry
openings on all 4 faces.
Interior Nave walls unplastered. There is an odd arrangement to both the chancel
and south chancel chapel arches. The double chamfered arches and the capitals from
which they spring are probably C14 but at the junction with the south arcade the
capitals rest on what appears to be a remnant of a C14 pier which oversails the
slender C15 pier below and acts as a corbel carrying the arches. Scott has repeated
this arrangement on the north side of the chancel arch. The arcades are also odd,
the piers are conventional Perpendicular monoliths of 4 hollows and 4 shafts but the
2 westernmost arches on both arcades have shallow mouldings while the easternmost
arches are double-chamfered and there are variations to the capitals. The
double-chamfered tower arch is carried on moulded capitals on short shafts, the floor
level of the tower is lower than the nave. The roofs are fine unceiled C15 and C19
wagons with carved ribs, bosses and wall plates. The nave roof has some C19 repair
including a replaced wall plate with C19 demi-angels and some C19 painting. The
south aisle roof is largely unrestored except for a part of the wall plate and
similar C19 demi-angels. The south chancel chapel roof is almost wholly original,
the 3 easternmost roof bays appear to be later work, probably C16, with shallower
carving to the bosses. The chancel roof is wholly 1874 with angels standing on the
corbels at wall plate level and enriched painting above the altar. The north aisle
roof is a C19 version of the medieval south aisle roof. The church retains a
complete set of C19 tiling, including some stamped tiling, with local marble chancel
steps. Fine 1874 Purbeck reredos extending across the width of the chancel as a
panelled frieze divided by moulded shafts with a moulded cornice and cresting at the
top. The side panels have cusped crocketted blind ogival arches with diaper
decoration beneath. The central 5 panels consist of a carved cross in the middle
flanked by the symbols of the evangelists within quatrefoils. On the south side of
the chancel is a C19 moulded arched granite aumbrey above a piscina adjoining an
arched sedilia with shields carved in the spandrels. A second C19 aumbry with
carved spandrels is on the north wall. The font may be a C15 recutting of a C12 font
of the Lifton type (qv). The square bowl has projecting mouldings which may once have
been profile heads above chamfered corners. The sides of the bowl are decorated
with blind trefoil-headed arcading and the bowl rests on a 2-tier shaft. Fixed to
the west end of the north aisle is a large Baroque monument to Christopher Harris of
Hayne, buried 1718, Mary Harris his wife, died 1726 and their 2 infant children, all
in white and grey marble. Freestanding 3/4 size figures of the husband and wife
stand on a large chest with a moulded plinth and cornice. Fixed to the wall behind
them is a sarcophagus and obelisk below festoons, the right-hand festoon missing,
and a cartouche with armorial bearings, all framed by pilasters supporting an open
pediment crowned by a torch with flanking putti. The figures are dressed in Roman
attire but the husband has an C18 wig. The 2 infant childen are represented lying
between their parents. A contemporary wrought iron grate surrounds the monument
which is set within a blind arch of 1874 which acts as a frame. On the north wall of
the north aisle is a wall monument to John Harris of Hayne, died 1770 and Margaret,
his wife. A triangular shaped monument with a wide inscription panel below a
narrower panel containing 2 portrait medallions. Above the portraits an obelisk
rises with armorial bearings above a sarcophagus. The reddish marble obelisk may be
a C19 replacement. On the south wall of the south chancel chapel a late C17 monument
to William Harris of Kenegie, died 1661, and other members of the Harris family with
Corinthian columns and pilasters supporting a round-headed arch with a central
inscription panel below a skull and swags of drapery. An additional inscription
panel of 1709 has been added at the bottom. The Harris tabard, helmet and gauntlet
also hang in the chapel. The 1874 woodwork is some of the finest in the county of
Devon with a full set of rectangular bench ends with foliage and figure designs
modelled on early C16 precedents, fine choir stalls with blind traceried panels
divided by blind traceried stiles, an ogee headed font cover with crockets and
pinnacles and an 8-sided drum pulpit on a stone wine glass stem. The pulpit has
crocketted ogee arches in the panels with shields carved below and applied pinnacles
between the panels. The stem is decorated with blind tracery. The altar has blind
traceried panels above a frieze of quatrefoils and the altar rail has panels of open
tracery below a moulded rail. A 3-bay screen fills the tower arch, possibly inspired
by the medieval screen at Marystow (qv). The organ case is also of 1874 with painted
pipes on the west and east side and 2-tiers of linen fold panelling below a frame
with open tracery on the west side and plate tracery on the south side. Contemporary
timber lectern. Lavers and Barraud east window, east window of the north aisle and
easternmost window of the north side. A fine tower, good roofs and a remarkable set
of C19 woodwork makes this an outstanding building.
Devon C19 churches Project.

Listing NGR: SX4326887022

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.