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Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary

A Grade II* Listed Building in Rockbeare, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7487 / 50°44'55"N

Longitude: -3.3901 / 3°23'24"W

OS Eastings: 302026

OS Northings: 95261

OS Grid: SY020952

Mapcode National: GBR P4.Q81J

Mapcode Global: FRA 37S3.H2F

Plus Code: 9C2RPJX5+FX

Entry Name: Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Listing Date: 30 June 1961

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1203864

English Heritage Legacy ID: 352449

Location: Rockbeare, East Devon, Devon, EX5

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Rockbeare

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Rockbeare St Mary with St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text


1/126 Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Parish Church. Late C15, much rebuilt 1888 by Haywood and Son. The C15 work
comprises large blocks of volcanic ashlar with red sandstone) and Beerstone ashlar is
used decoratively on the voussoirs; Beerstone detail. The 1888 work is snecked red
and purple sandstone with Hamstone detail. Slate roofs.
The west tower and walls of the north aisle are largely intact C15 work. In 1888
the nave was extended with a new south wall, and a new chancel, vestry and south
porch were built.
Good tall west tower of 2 stages has diagonal buttresses with weathered offsets,
chamfered plinth, soffit-moulded dripcourses, carved gargoyle water spouts and
embattled parapet. On the north side is a semi-hexagonal stair turret which has
tiny trefoil-headed slits and quatrefoil windows. It rises a little above the
parapet with a full hexagonal section with its own embattled parapet and is
surmounted by a C19 wrought iron weather vane. There is a blocked doorway at the
bottom of the tower. The belfry windows are square-headed with flat arches and
sunken spandrels, all 2 lights except the north with one. On the west side is a
large and ornate 4-centred arch with moulded surround enriched with 4-leaf
decoration. It has carved foliate spandrels and moulded square hood. Directly above
is a 3-light window with Perpendicular tracery and hoodmould. On the south side is
a small square-headed window with sunken spandrels and cinquefoil head. It has
external ferramenta. There is a late C19 open wrought iron clock face also on this
The C19 work picks up on the south side of the nave and all the C19 gable ends have
shaped kneelers, and coping. The porch has a Latin apex cross, nave and chancel have
fleuree crosses but the vestry has none. The main windows are arched with
Perpendicular tracery and have hoodmoulds with labeals carved as the heads of kings,
queens, bishops and worthies.
The nave projects very slightly from the tower and has an uneven 3-window range of 3-high
windows interrupted by the porch left of centre. It has a 2-centred outer arch with
a moulded hood and labels similar to the windows. There is a band of Hamstone above
and above that in the gable a sunken panel in the shape of convex-sided triangle
containing a sexfoil. Chancel is a little lower than the nave and is separated from
it by a buttress. The south side has 2 Perpendicular-style windows separated by a
narrow arch-headed priests door with plain hoodmould. The east end has a 3-light
Perpendicular style window. The second gable behind is that of the vestry and it
contains a circular window, the cusped tracery, a hoodmould and carved labels.
Lower and to the right is a square-headed 2-light window with sunken spandrels and
trefoil heads. An octagonal-section ashlar chimney shaft rises from the rear
corner. The north side of the vestry projects a little further than the north
aisle and contains a doorway with 4-centred head and plain chamfered surround. Back
to C15 masonry in the north aisle which has a 3-window front of 3-light windows with
Perpendicular tracery and there is another in the west end beyond a diagonal corner
Interior: the porch has a floor of C19 coloured tiles, naked stone walls and an open
barrel-vaulted roof. The south doorway is a 2-centred arch with chamfered surround.
It contains a C19 plank door with strap hinges enriched with ornate bifurcated
scrolls in the style of the C13. Its other ferramenta is also complete. The north
aisle has a restored C15 wagon roof with moulded braces and purlins and some
original carved oak bosses (square with simple foliate designs). The nave and
chancel have wholly C19 roofs in very similar style to the aisle. All are open and
backed with pine boards and all have C19 crenellated wall plates. Tall C15 tower
arch with broad double mouldings on the arch dying into plain responds. The tower
has late C15 moulded beams to the ringing floor and a 4-centred arch doorway to the
stair. C19 Hamstone chancel arch has moulded surround. 4-bay arcade from nave to
aisle in which the moulded piers have an unusual section comprising double hollow
chamfers between half-engaged corner shafts. The caps have relatively crudely
carved foliate capitals with shields on the corners. It fact the C15 3-bay
Beerstone arcade was extended eastward to 4 in 1888 and built with Hamstsone. The
emit end of the aisle still contains a C15 Perpendicular 3-light window now
separating the aisle from the organ chamber. The wall between aisle and chancel at
the east end of the arcade contains a large arch-headed aperture, presumably knocked
through in 1888. The north side of the chancel also contains a wide arch to the
organ and a small doorway to right to the vestry. The floor is made up of coloured
C19 tiles and includes several C17 and C18 graveslabs. Encaustic tiles are used
increasingly towards the altar.
Most of the furniture is C19 comprising plain oak altar table, oak altar rail with
timber standards, Gothic stalls with poppies heads finials on the ends and open
arcade timber standards, Gothic stalls with poppy head finials on the ends and open
arcade along the fronts, oak drum pulpit, a good oak lectern dated 1890 carved as a
Pelican in her piety on a twisted stem enriched with foliage, plain deal benches and
wainscothing around nave and aisle. The tower screen is dated 1923 but across the
top is set a section of the front parapet of a good early C17 oak gallery; it is
panelled and carved with ornate classical arcades to the panels, strapwork to the
muntins above and frieze of guilloche enriched with ascanthus leaves. C15 Beerstone
Perpendicular font; the sides of the octagonal bowl have sunken panels containing
quatrefoils around 4-leaf motifs, the coving below his a large 4-leaf motif each
side, and the stem has a blind arcade with trefoil heads. The 1888 windows contain
tiny panes of leaded coloured translucent glass.
Monument. The only notable mural monuments are those in the north aisle and are
described working from east to west. The Porter memorial of circa 1815 is white
marble on a shaped grey marble ground. The inscription, which records the death of
Thomas Porter in 1815 and his wife Sarah in 1823, is flanked by pilasters with
inlaid black fretwork and with clawed bases over a lower section enriched with
carved fronds. At the top a tented canopy is surmounted by a vase with garlands of
flowers and an apron contains an heraldic device. It is signed by R. Blore, Junior,
London. The Bidgod memorial of circa 1813 is white marble on a shaped grey marble
ground. The rectangular plaque records the death of Charles Bidgood in 1813. It
has a soffit moulded cornice surmounted by a vase with drapery and above that an
heraldic achievements. This monument is signed by C. Kendall of Exeter. Another
Bidgood memorial comprises 2 white marble framed plaques with pediment heads sharing
the same grey marble ground. The top plaque is the more elaborate and records the
death of Henry Fisher Bidgod in 1851 and his daughter in 1840. The Tower plaque in
memory of his wife Sarah (died 1860). Another Porter monument of circa 1820 is also
white on grey marble. The plain rectangular plaque records the death of William
Porter in 1820. It is surmounted by a sarcophagus above with a wreath of ivy on the
side and carved head half hidden with drapery. A third Porter memorial of circa
1857, has a white marble plaque which records the death of Thomas Porter in 1857,
his wife and daughter, set in a Tudor Gothic Beerstone Frame. The Haywood
restoration of 1888 is attractive and consistent. He seems to have taken pains to
integrate the C15 north aisle and attractive west tower.
Sources: Devon SMP. Devon Church Project.

Listing NGR: SY0202695261

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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