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Rolle Mausoleum Including the Ruins of the Old Church, Adjoining to West, the Whole Being Approximately 12 Metres West of the Church of St Mary

A Grade I Listed Building in Bicton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.664 / 50°39'50"N

Longitude: -3.3134 / 3°18'48"W

OS Eastings: 307268

OS Northings: 85747

OS Grid: SY072857

Mapcode National: GBR P6.MYLM

Mapcode Global: FRA 37YB.2Z0

Plus Code: 9C2RMM7P+HJ

Entry Name: Rolle Mausoleum Including the Ruins of the Old Church, Adjoining to West, the Whole Being Approximately 12 Metres West of the Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 30 June 1961

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1203804

English Heritage Legacy ID: 86217

Location: Bicton, East Devon, Devon, EX9

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Bicton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: East Budleigh All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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SY 08 NE
3/16 Rolle Mausoleum including the
30.6.61 ruins of the Old Church, adjoining
to west, the whole being
approximately 12 metres west of
the Church of St. Mary
Mausoleum (Pugin preferred to call it a mortuary chapel), and ruined remains of the original parish church. The church is C15. In 1850 it was deliberately ruined and a small part of the east end was rebuilt as the Mausoleum. It was built by Louisa, Lady Rolle, as a memorial to her husband John. The architect was Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. The surviving church walls are plastered stone rubble with Beerstone ashlar detail; slate roof to the tower. The chapel is stone rubble faced with Beerstone ashlar; Beerstone ashlar detail; shaped tile roof with fleur-de-lys crested ridge tiles. The C15 west tower of the medieval church remains height. From each side the walls of the nave project north and south. The north wall is left as a stub acting as a buttress. The chapel lies at the east end of this wall. Parts of the chapel may be C15 but the chapel, as it is, is basically Pugin's work of 1850.
The tower is relatively low, plain and unbuttressed. It has a low pitch gable-ended roof probaby of 1850 and includes and has a chimney shaft-like projection on top of the west end gable. The belfry has plain lancet windows. On the west side there is a 2-centred arch doorway of local sandstone ashlar and with a broad chamfered surround. On the south side is a much-defaced Beerstone memorial. It is probably C17, pedimented over a moulded entablature and containing 2 round-headed tablets above a scrolled apron featuring a cherub. 3-window front to south wall of the aisle. The central window is missing its mullions and the wall below removed to create an archway. The tracery above is unusual and probably put there in 1850. The flanking windows have conventional C15 Perpendicular tracery. Nothing else of the church survives although some architectural fragments lie on the ground along the west side of the churchyard.
The Mausoleum is a very fine piece of work. It is gable-ended with shaped kneelers enriched with four leaf-style decoration, has coping and ornate fleuree apex crosses. There is a moulded plinth around the building and coved eaves cornice each side. The diagonal corner buttresses and central buttresses each side have weathered offsets. Each end has 3-light window with elegant early Perpendicular-style tracery, external fragments and hoodmoulds with plain square labels. Each has a quatrefoil window above. On the north side is the remains of a trefoil-headed piscina from the old church. The doorway is on the left end of the south side; a 2-centred arch with moulded surround and hoodmould with circular labels including florets. The plank door includes all the original ferramenta. The C15 masonry on the east end has a great deal of early graffiti on it including sketches of sailing ships.
Beautiful and complete interior. It has a 3-bay wagon roof with intermediate
trusses. It has moulded ribs and purlins and a series of delicately carved oak
bosses along the soffits of the intermediate trusses. From the moulded soffit of
each main truss there descends a fragile arcade, the finials carved as flowers and the crest connected by a cable. The wall plates are moulded and include a band of undercut flowing foliage. The vault is boarded. On the north side there is a broad boarded coved cornice below the wall plate. It is divided into panels by moulded ribs and along the bottom is a moulded frieze containing a carved band like the wall plate above. The roof is painted to Pugin's design. The bosses, wall plates, arcades, frieze and ribs are guilded. All the boarded panels are square and each contains a painted octagonal design in the centre. There are many variations on the same basic pattern. They are delicate giving the impression of lacework and framed by borders in the same style on the natural wood ground. The panels in the coved cornice include a series of painted heraldic achievements.
The walls are plastered and the floor laid with encaustic tiles made specifically
for here, and comprising heraldic achievements alternating with geometric patterns.
The dominant colours are blue and cream but some white and maroon-brown is included.
It houses 2 very different monuments. Against the south wall is the Baroque
monument of Denys Rolle (d. 1638). It is superior quality and made of black, grey and white marbles. It comprises a shaped tomb chest on a moulded base and black plinth. The massive lid above, made of layers of black and white marble and moulded along the edges, sits clear of the chest below. It is supported on the front corners by free standing Ionic columns and along the front there are 3 Ionic caps between the chest top and lid. On the lid are the expertly-carved full-size figures of Denys Rolle and his wife in white marble framed by a round headed alcove. She lies recumbent on a pillow with one hand pointing to a book which lies open in her other hand. He is dressed in armour and reclines on one arm, his other arm fingering the hilt of his sword. Below the chest a carved baby lies on the plinth. The quality of the carving and particularly the detail such as Denys' hair and lace ruff has led to speculation that it is the work of Nicholas Stone; if so it is his only work in Devon. An epitaph is painted on the back of the alcove and the arch is surmounted by a heraldic achievement flanked by smaller arms in cartouches.
Against the north wall is Pugin's own elaborate monument to John Rolle, Bart.,
(d.1842). It comprises a rectangular Beerstone tomb chest, its sides panelled with deep and ornate quatrefoil decoration and including the initials J.R. Its black marble lid is inlaid with a foliated brass cross. The wall behind has a large 2-centred arch with moulded surround filled with blind Perpendicular tracery. The panels are filled with Gothic carving; shields with heraldic achievements, supporters and angels, all set amongst deeply undercut foliage. A brass plaque set in the floor in front of the tomb records the erection of the mausoleum by Louisa, Lady Rolle, in memory of her husband.
The stained window glass was designed by Pugin and executed by Hardman.
Pugin was given a free hand in designing the mausoleum and the result, though small, is very important being a complete conceived scheme.
Sources: Devon C19 Church Project. Devon SMR
W.G. Hoskins, Devon (1954) p.335

Listing NGR: SY0727685747

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