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Church of St James

A Grade I Listed Building in Swimbridge, Devon

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Latitude: 51.0527 / 51°3'9"N

Longitude: -3.9689 / 3°58'7"W

OS Eastings: 262098

OS Northings: 129995

OS Grid: SS620299

Mapcode National: GBR KV.FY3P

Mapcode Global: FRA 26KB.KLL

Plus Code: 9C3R323J+3C

Entry Name: Church of St James

Listing Date: 25 February 1965

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1107640

English Heritage Legacy ID: 98691

Also known as: Church of St James, Swimbridge
St James' Church, Swimbridge

ID on this website: 101107640

Location: St James' Church, Swimbridge, North Devon, EX32

County: Devon

District: North Devon

Civil Parish: Swimbridge

Built-Up Area: Swimbridge

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Swimbridge St James the Apostle

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Church building

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SS 62 NW
11/207 Church of St James

Parish church. West tower probably C13 with broach spire added in C14. Remainder
of church rebuilt in C15 and C16. Restored 1880. South aisle and south porch of
dressed stone, remainder of stone rubble. Slate roofs with coped gable ends -and
apex crosses. West tower, nave, north and south aisles, chancel, north and south
chancel chapels. Vestry with priests chamber above to north side. Battered plinth
to unbuttressed tower with patterned lead broach spire, releaded 1892 by J Smyth.
Medieval roof structure of spire intact. Pointed arches to the lucarnes on each
face. Small single light window on south side. Large clock face on west side.
Pointed arched west window to south aisle of 3 trefoil-headed lights with
hoodmould. Embattled parapet to south aisle and porch. Sundial dated 1755 towards
west end of south side. C19 straight-headed 3-light window to left of porch. C16
pointed arched doorway with Pevsner 'A' type moulding to the surround with lipped
capitals to the shafts and hoodmould. Ceiled waggon roof to porch with variously
carved bosses at the intersections of the moulded ribs and longitudinal members.
4-centred arch to inner doorway with hollow ogee roll moulded surround and rams
horns stops to the base of the jambs. C19 plank door of 2 leaves. To right of
porch, 2 straight-headed C19 windows of 3-lights flanking ashlar buttress with
offsets. Priests doorway with C19 door and moulded surround with large stone
voussoirs. South aisle east window of 3 cinquefoil-headed lights with pointed
arched hoodmould. 4-light chancel east window with Perpendicular tracery and
corbel to right side of hoodmould. Priests chamber has first floor window with
hollow-chamfered surround, iron stanchions and saddle bars and hoodmould with
returned ends. Pointed head to stone tablet to daughter of Tristram Chichester,
iron stanchions and saddle bars. Ashlar stack with offsets to right side. Pointed
arched window in Perpendicular style of 5 lights to east end of north aisle with
hoodmould. Large 4-light window also Perpendicular style on north side of north
transept flanked by 2 buttresses. 4 buttresses with offsets to north aisle and 3
tall straight-headed windows of three 4-centred arched lights with fillet and
cavetto mullions and all with iron stanchions and saddle bars. Pointed arched
window in Perpendicular style of 3 lights to west end of north aisle with
Interior: spectacular rich interior fittings and furnishings. South and north
arcades of 3 bays with Pevsner 'B' type mouldings. South arcade has lipped
capitals only to the main shafts, north arcade has standard leaf capitals. Chancel
arcade on south side has 'A' type responds with small capitals, and deep sunk
chamfer to the soffit of the arch. Blind trefoil headed tracery to west side of
chancel/nave pier. North chancel arcade is similar to north nave arcade, but with
a deeper arch. The pier from which the chancel and nave arcades and also the north
chancel chapel arch which is pointed with Pevsner 'B' type mouldings and with
crowned human head corbel on the north side, all spring have leaf capitals to
north-east side, 2 demi-angels clutching shields and small figure to east side and
blind trefoil-headed panels to west and south sides. Eastern respond of north
chancel arcade has leaf capitals with additional short bay, partially infilled with
a small pointed arch on west side and vestry doorway across the angle with moulded
surround. Unmoulded pointed tower arch and round headed timber nave chancel arch
with cusped-headed panelling. Continuous waggon roof to south aisle. Every fourth
rib moulded with carved bosses at the intersections of the ribs and purlins which
are colour painted. The east end section is ceiled with 4 panels which have
foliated centre and corner bosses to the crossed ribs. Waggon roof to nave with
every third rib moulded and carved bosses at the intersections of 3 tiers of
purlins and ridge purl in and the ribs supported on carved wall plates which retain
some original painted decoration. Demi-angel corbels to the main ribs. 4 sections
at east end are ceiled with crossed ribs spanning 2 sections with 2 foliated stars
in each section. The ceilure continues into the raking roof of the clerestory 3-
light timber mullioned window. North aisle waggon roof repeats that of the south
aisle but ends at chapel arch. Richly carved leaf decoration to the wall plates
and painted decoration survives to the main ribs and purlins. Unceiled chancel
roof has no purlins, and is without decoration and on south side the wall plate is
carried on short corbelled out wall posts with moulded soffits to the braces and
quatrefoil tracery to the spandrels. Trabeated ceiling to north chancel chapel
with painted decorations to the main beams and large richly carved bosses to the
intersections and at the ends of the cross members. Enriched C19 marble and stone
carved reredos by Hems and Son of Exeter to memory of Smyth family. Kneeling
angels in ogee-headed recesses with flame finials to blind traceried pilasters
outside saints figures in niches with slender marble colonnettes supporting triple
trefoil-headed arched canopies. Central crucifixion scene with 2 figures each side
of Christ has similar enlarged triple-arched canopy. Enriched foliated cornice and
cresting. Combined C19 piscina, 1/2-sedilia and double 4-centred arched sedilia on
south side. C19 choir seating with poppy head bench ends. Fine square-framed
chancel screen across length of church restored 1880. 11 bays with half end bays.
Openings to centre and a 2nd bay in from each side. The 3rd and 4th bays are cut
through with rectangular openings. That to north side said to be site of Altar of
St Katherine, the right side inserted in 1880 for sake of uniformity. Heavily
carved cornice crested with brattishing below which are 4 large and small
alternating bands of carving. Each bay of 4 lights with slender muntins and cable
mouldings to the central stiles. Richly carved outer stiles carry the ribbed
vaulting beneath the loft. Panelled base, each panel with various naturalistic
carvings to the ogee-headed lights. 5 pairs of pews to each side of rear of nave
retain some timber from C16 bench ends, otherwise C19 bench ends with Renaissance
style carvings. Fine stone late C15 pulpit. 5 facets to drum standing on slender
octagonal stem with blind cusped panels to the head of each facet with foliated
capitals. Demi-angels to the base of each muntin with crocketted finials. Figures
of Saints Paul, Peter, Augustine, Ambrose and Jerome on each of five facets with
ogee canopies, leaf crockets and Tudor ornament to the head. C19 winder stone
steps with wrought iron stick balusters, moulded hand rail and thin band of ogee-
headed pierced tracery between the balusters. Remarkable font resembling a pulpit
with an enriched canopy with 2 angels bearing shields at the corners. Foliated
cornice and crossed ribs to the soffit of the canopy continuing down the coving,
and carved emblems to each section. The sides of the canopy splay inwards with
cable moulded muntins, each side 3 panels high with rich Renaissance carvings on
each panel. The font is of 3 tiers with 7-facets. Bottom panels are plain except
one to rear which has C16 scrolling design. 2nd tier is carved with Renaissance
details in all panels, the front 2 panels to left and 3 panels are hinged and open
in the manner of cupboard doors to reveal lead-lined bowl. Top tier has plain
panels separated by balustered pilasters with crocketted finials and turned
pinnacles. Canted canopy with small round arches to each cant and crown cover with
open trusses and cable moulded central shaft. C17 chest to nave, 3 panelled front
with lunettes to the head rail. Small pointed arched piscina to east wall of north
Monuments: chancel north side. Marble tablet to John Nott Esq d.1856 north chancel
chapel, east wall. Pedimented plaque dated 1793 above pedimented wall tablet with
anthemion acroteria to John Nott of Tordown d.1809. Wall monument to Charles
Cutcliffe and Christina his sister d.1721. Oil painting of bust in oval medallion
with small shields each side and putti above, resting on Ionic pilastered tablet
with scrolled wings and skull in base. Marble wall monument below this by Stephens
of Exeter. Oval plaque with Classical urn to one side on plinth to William and
Elizabeth Hole d.1819 and 1822. North wall of chancel chapel has Classical urn to
elliptical wall tablet to Priscilla Thorne of Bristol d.1783 and daughter by T Paty
and Sons of Bristol. West wall has wedge-shaped metal plaque with fluted pilasters
supporting semi-circular arch with inscription 1674 above HL inside the arch and WS
above HY to left, CG above AR outside WARDEN below. North wall north aisle large
wall monument with small urns flanking achievement above shouldered surround with
puttis to each side and winged skull below to Lewis Rosier d.1676 with original
painted decoration. Oval medallion with enriched scrolling surround to Henry
Chichester of Hall d.1736. Skull below 2 putti and achievement above. At west
end, 6 clappers from old bells on wooden plaque 1928. South aisle from west end 3
pedimented marble wall tablets to members of Joce family, and Elizabeth Cowell, mid
C19. Pedimented wall tablet with obelisk to centre of pediment and flanking
figures. Roundel with skull above Ionic pilasters with scrolled wings with shields
to each side and below with cherubs heads to John Rosier d.1658. Wall monument to
Tristram Chichester d.1654. Large achievement with broken scrolled pediment above
Ionic pilasters with shields to sides and below. Oval medallion with cherubs heads
to the spandrels containing bust of male figure leaning on hand. Scrolled surround
to epitaph below. C19 stained glass east window and east window of south.

Listing NGR: SS6209729994

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