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Church of St Andrew

A Grade II* Listed Building in Exwick, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7319 / 50°43'54"N

Longitude: -3.548 / 3°32'52"W

OS Eastings: 290850

OS Northings: 93620

OS Grid: SX908936

Mapcode National: GBR P0.P79T

Mapcode Global: FRA 37G4.MLF

Plus Code: 9C2RPFJ2+QR

Entry Name: Church of St Andrew

Listing Date: 18 June 1974

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1223954

English Heritage Legacy ID: 419888

Location: Exwick, Exeter, Devon, EX4

County: Devon

Electoral Ward/Division: Exwick

Built-Up Area: Exeter

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Exwick St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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DATES OF MAIN PHASES, NAME OF ARCHITECT: 1841-42 by John Hayward who also added the north aisle and lengthened the chancel in 1873-74. 1992-95 northeast meeting room, toilets etc

MATERIALS: Local red sandstone with dressings of Caen stone. Slate roofs.

PLAN: Nave, chancel, north aisle, south porch, northeast vestry and meeting room, kitchen and toilets.

EXTERIOR: The principal parts of the original church consist of the nave and chancel. The nave is quite tall for its size with a rather lower chancel. The style of the building is Geometrical, drawing on architectural motifs of the late 13th century, a time that was coming to be seen in the early 1840s as one which produced the finest architecture in the Middle Ages. The windows are of two (south elevation) and three (main west and east windows) lights. The nave and aisle windows all have a foiled circle in their heads. The chancel side windows have slightly more elaborate tracery which includes tear-drop-type elements but these windows are likely to be additions of 1873-74 as The Ecclesiologist's account of the church in 1843 criticised the lack of side windows in the chancel. The east window, no doubt of 1841-42 and reinstalled in the extended chancel, is the most ornate. It is copied from a window at Broughton in Oxfordshire and has within a large circle at the top a six-point star. The west window has three circles in the head. On the north side the aisle is slightly shorter than the nave. The outer doorway of the porch has three finely moulded orders with engaged shafts with moulded capitals and bases. Over the west gable is a single-light bellcote. Over the door into the nave is a cusped triangular panel bearing in relief the words `This is none other than the House of GOD and this is the Gate of Heaven'. A further, painted inscription surrounds the head of the doorway arch.

INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and whitened. The original, aisleless church was extended in 1873-74 by the addition of a three-bay north aisle. The arches have delicate moulding and quatrefoil marble piers which carry foliage capitals. The chancel arch is moulded and has no capitals. The roof over the nave is canted (four-sided) and has trusses of tie-beams and king-posts; it is divided into squares by moulded ribs. In the aisle the roof is similar. The chancel roof too is four-sided and has square panels but no tie-beams. The roofs are decorated all over. That in the chancel has angel and human figures and also various wonders of creation. The nave and aisle roofs are patterned. The side walls of the chancel have a painted frieze with foliage surrounding busts of angels: these are remnants of formerly more extensive decoration.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The reredos is original to the building of the 1840s church. It has a broad cusped panel behind the altar. Either side are pairs of ogee arches filling the east wall. The whole ensemble is richly treated with tall pinnacles, crockets and battlementing. The panels are filled with mosaic work of 1873 by Salviati: the central image is the Ascension, the flanking ones figures of the Apostles. The altar is of Painswick stone and is ornately and delicately carved: the principal motifs are three large quatrefoils depicting the Agnus Dei, a wreathed IHC emblem, and a hart drinking at a brook. The sanctuary is floored with patterned encaustic tiles. The pulpit, entered from a passage beside the vestry, is three-sided and has cusped blind arcading between a frieze at top and bottom. Over it is a stone canopy with ornate decoration. The font, of Painswick stone, is also richly carved and has an octagonal bowl with an inscription around the top above panels with groups of triple, cusped decoration. The nave seats have two tiers of decoration with pairs of cusped arches on each tier. The chancel furnishings date from the late 1950s. In the heads of the nave S windows is stained glass of the 1840s.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: Southwest of the church is a plain, grey granite cross erected as a First World war memorial.

HISTORY: St Andrew's was built in 1841-42 as a chapel of ease within the parish of St Thomas to serve the fringes of a working class suburb of Exeter. The prime mover was the vicar of St Thomas, the Rev. John Medley, who was secretary of the newly-formed (1841) Exeter Diocesan Architectural Society (EDAS). EDAS was to do much to promote the type of church architecture and fittings that were being vigorously promoted by A W N Pugin and the immensely influential Cambridge Camden Society (CCS). It was the first such society founded outside Oxbridge. Although it now appears a modest building, St Andrew's was almost revolutionary in its day. It is of great architectural and historic importance in the early Victorian Gothic Revival because its design was faithful to medieval precedent and thus was in the vanguard of the new movement which can be seen as the architectural expression of the Oxford Movement.

The foundation stone was laid on 30 July 1841 and consecration by the bishop of Exeter took place on 26 September the following year. The CCS's polemical journal, The Ecclesiologist, gave the church a very long review and was full of praise for it. It said it `is an admirable example, not only of what a church ought to be, but also of the very moderate sum which is necessary for a really Catholick Building; the total expense in this case not exceeding £1,400.' It concluded `on the whole, we do not hesitate to pronounce this the best specimen of a modern church we have yet seen. Important survivals of the 1840s work, apart from the fabric, are the reredos, pulpit, font, stained glass and congregational seating.

When expansion of the church was needed in the early 1870s Hayward was called back. The work was financed by William Gibbs of Tyntesfield, Somerset, who had already paid for the impressive church of St Michael in Exeter. Gibbs also arranged for St Andrew's to become a separate parish. Hayward added the north aisle and lengthened the chancel although a projected steeple to the west of the aisle was never undertaken. The work was carried out in 1873-74 and from this time also date the splendid mosaic work in the reredos, and the decoration of the roofs. The decoration of the chancel walls was originally more extensive and most of this has, regrettably, been painted over.

The Ecclesiologist, 2, 1843, pp 21-3.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Devon (1989, 387, 390.
Anon., The Parish Church of Saint Andrew Exwick [guide] (1999).

The Church of St Andrew, Exeter, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It is of exceptional interest as a crucially important building in the early history of the Victorian Gothic Revival. It was recognised at the time of its construction as a pioneering work which embodied the newly developed principles of ecclesiology which sought to reapply the beauty and dignity of the best of medieval church architecture in the modern world.
* The 1840s fabric survives in the nave, chancel and south porch while there are important survivals of fixtures from that time.
* The church also has from the early 1870s a north aisle, an extension to the chancel and a decorative scheme of great richness which add to its interest.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 27 October 2017.

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