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Parish Church of the Holy Cross

A Grade I Listed Building in Crediton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7897 / 50°47'22"N

Longitude: -3.6522 / 3°39'7"W

OS Eastings: 283641

OS Northings: 100205

OS Grid: SS836002

Mapcode National: GBR L9.ZDMP

Mapcode Global: FRA 3770.9A2

Entry Name: Parish Church of the Holy Cross

Listing Date: 19 March 1951

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1209720

English Heritage Legacy ID: 387119

Location: Crediton, Mid Devon, Devon, EX17

County: Devon

District: Mid Devon

Civil Parish: Crediton

Built-Up Area: Crediton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Crediton

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text


672-1/6/167 (North side)
19/03/51 Parish Church of the Holy Cross


Parish Church. Bulk of the building early C15 with some fabric
of the C12 and C13; major restoration 1848-1877 by John
Hayward of Exeter, further work by Hayward and Blomfield
1887-9, and in 1913 by William Weir. Local volacanic trap and
red sandstone ashlar, the C13 masonry rubble, the medieval
dressings volcanic trap and Beerstone, the C19 Bathstone. Roof
concealed behind parapets, probably lead.
Plan: Long east end reflects the collegiate status of church
from the C12 to the Reformation. 2-bay chancel with chancel
aisles; east end 3-bay Lady Chapel; 6-bay aisled nave with
clerestory and transepts; central crossing tower; south east
chapter house; south porch. Lower parts of crossing tower mid
C12, upper stages C13. Lady Chapel and south-east chapter
house C13; church described as "ruinous" in 1413, nave rebuilt
early C15.
Exterior: south side is the show front with coped embattled
parapets to aisle and clerestory; aisle buttresses with
moulded set-offs and copings. 4-light Perpendicular traceried
windows to the aisle, 3-light to west and east ends; tall
3-light Perpendicular traceried clerestory windows, 4-light to
the choir clerestory. Grand 2-storey south porch in 3rd bay
from the west, the merlons of the embattled parapet decorated
with blind quatrefoils in Beerstone panels. Moulded volcanic
trap outer doorway below a 2-light square-headed window with
cinquefoil-headed lights. The porch is stone vaulted with
carved foliage bosses and vaulting shafts with shallow-carved
capitals. Moulded inner doorway with a foliage-carved arch.
Unusual, possibly C18 wrought iron gate to outer doorway. The
buttressed south transept has a plain coped parapet; 6-light
Perpendicular traceried south window with a king mullion,
4-light window on east return. The semi-circular embattled
stair turret to north west corner with a small, flat-roofed
porch to the south with a north doorway were added to the
designs of George Wightwick, plans dated 1836. Chapter house 2
bays on beyond the transept with a 5-sided south-west stair
turret. The chapter house has diagonal buttresses and is
partly stone rubble; 3 storeys with a plain parapet above a
moulded string which rises to form the hoodmould of a pair of
triple lancets in the second floor centre, flanked by single
lancets, all by John Hayward 1864. 2 first and 3 ground floor
square-headed windows, the ground floor windows with relieving
arches. The west side has 2 square-headed and one lancet
window and a moulded 2-centred doorway with a hoodmould and a
probably late C17 studded door with Y panelling. The moulded
string below the parapet on the east rises as an ogee arch;
scattered fenestration of small square-headed windows, 2 with
mullions. The south aisle has a 3-light east end window. The
Lady Chapel, projecting beyond the chancel to the east, is
rubble masonry with a plain parapet; 2 3-light C19
Perpendicular style windows to the south and north sides and a
blocked doorway on the south to the east. The east end of the
chapel has a 4-light Perpendicular window, the wall surface
above thickens and is corbelled out on either side of the
window. The north choir aisle has 2 3-light windows to the
east, then 5 similar windows westwards to the transept. The
window in the third bay from the transept is shorter to
accommodate a moulded north doorway with steps up, circa late
C17 studded door with Y-panelling and an early C19 overthrow
with a lamp. North transept matches the south, including a
semi-circular stair turret and porch block by Wightwick, but
retains some rubble masonry on the west side. 6-bay north
aisle, windows matching the south aisle. 3rd bay from the west
is blind above a wide crank-arched doorway carved with
ballflowers. Grand west end ensemble, the ends of the aisles
flush with the nave which has a massive 8-light Perpendicular
traceried window with a king mullion above a moulded doorway
with a pair of C19 doors. 3-stage embattled crossing tower
with a clasping north-west stair turret. Round-headed windows
to the second stage indicate C12 origins; the belfry stage has
pairs of very tall, louvred lancets flanked by blind
trefoil-headed recesses. Embattled parapet is corbelled out
with big octagonal embattled pinnacles with crocketted finials
crowned with crosses.
Interior: Unplastered walls since the Hayward restoration, the
internal masonry mauve volcanic trap and very unusual in
colouring. Early C15 nave arcades with moulded arches, the
moulding carried down through the piers which moulded bases
and engaged corner shafts with foliage-carved capitals.
Moulded string with fleurons above the arcade, punctuated with
carved corbels supporting the shafts to the C19 (Hayward) tie
beam roof with arched braces, pierced spandrels and plainer
intermediate ties. Moulded ridge and purlins with moulded
diagonal ribs to each bay and carved bosses at the
intersections. Clerestory windows have deep, hollow-chamfered
rere arches and shafts carried down to the string course.
Aisle windows similarly treated, the shafts carried down to
the level of low seats. Flat C19 (Hayward) aisle roofs with
moulded ribs and carved bosses. The west end has an unusual
internal treatment: the projecting, foliage carved sill forms
a continuous cornice across the west end with moulded stub
walls flanking the west doorway forming recesses with seats to
north and south. Plain double arch to tower, the piers with
engaged shafts, capital carving includes scallops; plain,
tall, 2-centred arches from the aisle into the crossing. Tall
ashlar walls divide the choir from the choir aisles. On the
south side a pair of tall blocked arches in the south wall,
probably leading to a former chapel on the ground floor of the
chapter house. The choir has an enriched version of the nave
roof, the wall surface is similar to the nave but the vaulting
shafts are carried right down to the capitals of the pier
shafts. Chancel stepped up with a 1924 reredos by Fellowes
Prynne; C14 piscina in the east wall with a cusped head and
sexafoil in the gable, the surface dressed back to the wall
plane. The south wall contains an early C15 triple sedilia,
very damaged, with lierne vaulting. The rear, to the aisle,
includes a tomb chest with a vaulted recess and remains of
high quality figure carving and original colour. Fine C13 Lady
Chapel with north and south doorways from the aisles with
triple chamfered arches on big half shafts with bell capitals.
The windows have deep internal splays, the inner arches with
shafts carried down to shallow seats below the sills, the east
and 2 eastern windows in the north and south sides with
internal hoodmoulds. Blocked doorway on the west wall. Late
C13 double-gabled piscina with trefoil-headed arches,
re-sited, on the south wall. C19 roof, a simplified version of
the others. The transepts also have C19 roofs. Governors' room
on the first floor of the chapter house has a chamfered cross
beam and closely-spaced joists; a fireplace with chamfered
granite lintel and jambs; wide floorboards.
Fittings: Norman font with cover by Caroe of 1904; C19
Perpendicular drum pulpit on a wine glass stem, carved with
figures of saints. Choir stalls 1877-87 by Hayward; nave
benches and governors' stalls in the choir 1900. C19 floors
Monuments: Numerous, include tomb chest at the east end of the
south choir aisle, said to be Sir John Sully, d.1387 and his
wife. In the chancel a standing wall monument to Sir William
Perriam, d.1605, has pilasters with an entablature and
achievement. The figure of Sir William, leans on one elbow
with his family in relief, kneeling on the chest below. 1630
monument, admired by Pevsner, to John and Elizabeth Tuckfield,
her figure seated and flanked by medallions with busts of the
husband and son, bay divided by black Ionic columns; broken
alabaster pediment above. Spectacular monument of 1911 by
Caroe, executed Dart and Francis of Crediton, to Sir Redvers
Buller, covers the tower arch, facing the nave. Terra cotta
sculpted figures, decorated with mosaic; iconography of the
memorial thoroughly military with warrior saints and a frieze
of Victoria crosses.
Stained Glass: Several good windows by Lavers, Barraud and
Westlake; 1913 window in north aisle by Hugh Arnold; armorial
window in south transept by Horace Williamson, 1926.
There was a pre-Conquest Cathedral on the site, before Exeter
became the centre of the See. After the Reformation, the
church was purchased by a group of Crediton worthies and is
still run by a committee of self-electing Governors. One of
the 2 largest and grandest parish churches in Devon, the being
Ottery St.Mary. The church is well documented: recent
unpublished accounts of the building and its fittings are
mostly available in the archives of the Devon
Nineteenth-Century Churches Project.
(The Buildings of England: Pevsner, N., & Cherry, B.,: Devon:
London: P.295-297; ).

Listing NGR: SS8363800204

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

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