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Church of St Mary

A Grade I Listed Building in Atherington, Devon

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Latitude: 50.9902 / 50°59'24"N

Longitude: -4.0087 / 4°0'31"W

OS Eastings: 259121

OS Northings: 123123

OS Grid: SS591231

Mapcode National: GBR KT.KSC3

Mapcode Global: FRA 26HH.G3S

Plus Code: 9C2QXXRR+3G

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 25 March 1965

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1106857

English Heritage Legacy ID: 96878

Location: Atherington, North Devon, Devon, EX37

County: Devon

District: North Devon

Civil Parish: Atherington

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Atherington St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Church building

Find accommodation in
Umberleigh Bridge


SS 52 SE
5/17 Church of St Mary

Parish church. C15, north aisle C16. Restored 1880s by J L Pearson. Stone rubble
with ashlar dressings. Slate roofs with crested ridge tiles, apex crosses to coped
parapets. West tower, nave, north aisle, south transept and porch.
Tower of 3 stages with embattled parapet and polygonal stair turret rising above
the tower on south side. Short diagonal buttresses to tower. Square-headed
windows of 2 trefoil-headed lights to each face of third stage with drip moulds and
louvres. 2 single trefoil-headed lights under continuous dripmoulds to east side.
Clock face to south side, second stage. West window of 4 lights, Perpendicular
style with unusual tracery repeated in the windows of 4 lights to end of south
transept and to chancel east end, and of 3 lights to the 2 windows on north side
of north chancel chapel. All the windows have iron stanchions and saddle bars.
West tower doorway with pointed arched hoodmould, fleuron decoration around the
hollow moulded door surround. Nave south side has a Perpendicular style 2-light
window, square-headed with dripmould. South porch to right has C19 double
chamfered pointed arched doorway. Smaller Perpendicular inner door surround with
single plain chamfer and C19 dripmould. Fine south porch waggon roof of 7 ribs with
half bosses to each end and full bosses to the moulded central rib at the
intersections with the transverse members. The ribs spring from crenellated wall
plates decorated with carved foliage and plain shields. 3-light Perpendicular
windows between porch and south transept, to east side of south transept and 2 to
south side of chancel with depressed pointed arched hoodmoulds flanking priests
door with a hollow-with-cyma-reversa moulded surround, and pointed arched hoodmould
with clasping foliage to the returned ends. 3-light Perpendicular window to east
end of north aisle. North aisle north doorway, pointed arch with fleuron
decoration to the hollow moulded surround. 2 tall, probably late C16 straight-
headed transomed windows with 4-centred arched lights to left and 3-light window in
similar style but untransomed over the doorway. Perpendicular 3-light window to
its right and at west end of north aisle.
Interior: much of the C15/C16 fabric survives. Tall unmoulded pointed tower arch.
Nave arcade of 4 bays with depressed pointed arches supported on slender piers of
Pevsner 'A' Type with capitals only to the main shafts. Chancel arcade of 2 bays
with plain moulded pointed arches. Similar arch to south transept. Fine waggon
roofs survive throughout, those to chancel and north aisle have carved armorial
devices. Variously carved bosses to every fourth moulded rib to each roof at the
intersections of the transverse members. Carved figures to the base of each
moulded rib to the south transept roof. C19 pattern tiles to chancel. Old misere
choir seats survive to each side of chancel, 6 stalls to each side, the 2 end seats
returning to back onto the chancel screen. 2 of the south side seats have foliated
misericords. The screens are particularly interesting survivals. That between
chancel and nave is square-framed, of 4 lights to each side of central opening,
with slender muntins, crocketted above the lipped capitals, and pinnacled ogival
heads to the lights with mouchette tracery, surmounted by a crenellated wall plate.
The lower stage is of 6 panels to each side, with blind tracery repeating that of
the windows. Screen between aisle and chancel remarkably retains its loft. The
screen is of 4½ bays, the left end half bay with a closing rib to the coving. Each
bay of 2 lights with slender muntins which have carved angel figures at springing
level, supporting richly carved ribbed coving with cornice of 3 bands above. Lower
stage has blind cusped tracery to the panels with foliated designs to the base.
The loft of c.1530-40 has 4 full canted niche canopies, with richly carved cresting
and pinnacled ogival heads. A sixth niche has been partly cut away beneath the end
arcade arch. 4 of the styles supporting the canopies have been removed presumably
when the painted panels were introduced. These have now been reversed and so face
the gallery. The 7 panels are arranged so that 2 with painted shields flank a wide
panel depicting the Royal Arms with 2 narrow panels to left to each side of a
scripted panel, and a single narrow panel to right end. The rear of the loft has
12 panels with blind tracery and vine leaf decoration to the top and bottom rails.
The chancel/nave screen is said to have come from the chapel at Umberleigh House
(q.v.) but the evidence for this is uncertain. Access to the loft is by a plain
chamfered pointed arched doorway.
Fine set of 7 pairs of poppy head bench ends to front of nave, carved and
crocketted with interestingly varied blind Perpendicular tracery. The benches
retain their moulded back rails and benches. Pews to north aisle, rear of nave and
base of tower, possibly C17, are also complete. Along north aisle and nave wall
are delicately wrought iron candelabra, 3 to north aisle, 4 to nave. C15 font with
octagonal bowl and stem, the bowl with blind quatrefoil panels to each facet, 4 of
which clasp plain shields. C19 pulpit.
Monuments: north chancel chapel. Knight mid C13, cross-legged with band of foliage
around the base, said to be Sir William Champernowne of Umberleigh. Cluster of 3
chest tombs in east chancel arcade, the raised tomb with blind quatrefoil tracery
to the base has 2 C14 figures, the male figure in armour, the female figure with
square-cut head dress said to represent Sir Ralph Willington Kt (d.1349) and Lady
Eleanor (Mohun) his wife. Chest tomb adjoining on north side has damaged
inscription to Sir Arthur Bassett and Eleanora his wife. Tomb on west side with
brasses of Sir John Bassett (d.1529) flanked by his 2 wives with 2 groups of 5
children to left, 7 to right and 4 brasses of shields to each corner, that to top
left is missing. On south side of plinth are 2 panels each enclosing a quatrefoil
containing letters S.I.K.B. and a shield, impaled but blank west end has 2 large
shields with Bassett arms. Wall monument, south side of chancel, C17 with
medallions to centre of edges on each of the 4 sides, depicting angel bust above,
skull below, anchor to left and hour glass to right. Wall monument to west wall of
south transept, early C18 Classical urn flanked by foliage. Ionic colonnettes
supporting frieze with central shield. Oval medallion with amorinos to each side
at top. Damaged skull to base below plank tablet with scrolled surround. Marble
wall tablet, erected 1832 over south porch doorway recording death of George
Burgess, Rector (d.1829) and the death of 4 of his children in 1816 from "malignant
fever then raging in the parish". East chancel window with stained glass by
Clayton and Bell. The window to north side of north chancel chapel contains much
medieval glass, reworked in 1883 also by Clayton and Bell to depict the Coronation
of the Virgin.

Listing NGR: SS5912123124

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