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Church of St Thomas of Canterbury

A Grade I Listed Building in Thorverton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.8092 / 50°48'33"N

Longitude: -3.5276 / 3°31'39"W

OS Eastings: 292466

OS Northings: 102184

OS Grid: SS924021

Mapcode National: GBR LG.Y856

Mapcode Global: FRA 36HY.PJZ

Plus Code: 9C2RRF5C+MX

Entry Name: Church of St Thomas of Canterbury

Listing Date: 5 April 1966

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1240595

English Heritage Legacy ID: 439080

Location: Thorverton, Mid Devon, Devon, EX5

County: Devon

District: Mid Devon

Civil Parish: Thorverton

Built-Up Area: Thorverton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Thorverton St Thomas of Canterbury

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Church building

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SS 90 SW

Church of St Thomas of Canterbury


Parish Church. West tower probably C15 (although a C13 date has been suggested) C15 porch; major rebuilding of 1834-40 (architect unknown to date); reseating of 1840 by John Hayward of Exeter (contemporary with his building of the new vicarage); restoration of 1864 initiated by Archdeacon Freeman including pulpit, reseating and north transept; vestry rebuilt 1884; tower restored 1905; further restorations 1953-55 and 1971-72. Dressed local volcanic stone, brought to course; dressings mostly Bath stone; slate roof.

Plan and Development: present plan of west tower, nave, north and south aisles, shallow chancel, north transept, north-west vestry, south porch. Perpendicular style details but, with the exception of the tower and south porch, thoroughly rebuilt 1834-40 with the walls heightened and the nave and aisles re-roofed under one span with embattled parapets. This early restoration programme is of considerable historic and architectural interest, preceding the fully developed Gothic Revival in the County. In 1864 the north transept was built, the late C18 west end gallery removed and the interior re-fitted with high quality furnishings. Subsequent restorations have had a less dramatic impact on the building.

Exterior: early C19 proportions to nave and chancel. The shallow chancel with diagonal buttresses has a pediment-like gable crowned with a cross and pierced with a tranceried roundel; five-light transomed mullioned Perpendicular style east window with a king mullion and hoodmould with carved animal label stops. Embattled lean-to north and south aisle roofs, the south aisle with diagonal buttresses and buttresses with set-offs and pinnacles between the bays. Three-light C19 Perpendicular style south windows; similar three-light east window; two-light west window; similar north aisle with three-light west window; battlemented north transept of 1864 of snecked local volcanic stone with Perpendicular style windows with carved label stops, east and west windows two-light, north window four-light.

Flat-roofed north-west vestry, rebuilt in 1884, with buttresses, an ogival west doorway and a one-light cusped west window. Three-stage battlemented west tower without pinnacles; diagonal buttresses, those on the north and south faces taller than those on the west face. Chamfered moulded arched volcanic west doorway below three-light Perpendicular style west window, the jambs probably medieval the tracery replaced, hoodmould and carved label stops. Two-light belfry openings on west, north and south faces; two-light opening at bellringers' stage on south face.

Projecting C15 two-stage three-sided stair turret on north face with coped roof. Fine two storey battlemented south porch with set back buttresses and a north west stair turret. Two-light first floor square headed west window with arched lights and hollow-chamfered mullions. C19 Bath stone round-headed moulded outer doorway with big cushion stops. The interior of the porch is of particular interest with a stone-vaulted Beerstone roof with some local volcanic infill and fine carved bosses and corbels. The central boss probably depicts the Trinity and is similar to the porch boss at Sidbury church, the subsidiary bosses depict the four evangelists and Latin Fathers of the church. Moulded stopped inner doorway; 1884 commemorative tiling on floor. Coleridge family memorials at east end of south aisle.

Interior: good proportions dating from the rebuilding of 1834-40; high quality fittings. Plastered walls; no chancel arch; plain tower arch springing from chamfered imposts. Tall six bay north and south arcades, two bays to the chancel, rebuilt and raised but preserving some medieval capitals. The piers have corner shafts and support moulded Tudor arches. The two westernmost capitals have traces of ancient paint. Plain plastered wagon roofs, the aisle roofs keeled. Wide depressed north arch into transept springing from clustered demi-shafts with foliage carving on the capitals and in the spandrels. Arched brace transept roof, boarded behind, the principal rafters springing from Angel corbels carrying symbols of the Beatitudes.

Fitting: the chancel has good fittings of the early C19 restoration: a circa 1840 stone arcaded reredos, brattished and flanked by painted stone communion tablets in ogee-headed stone frames with pinnacles; a co-eval east window with stained glass by Beer of Exeter and altar rails and credence table. The choir stalls date from 1864-66 by Messrs. Rattee and Kett of Cambridge with poppy head finials and carved figures; fine gilt memorial corona by Skidmore to John Duke Coleridge, incumbent 1834-58; eagle lectern of 1843 in bronzed iron by W and J Cooper of Kings Lynn, a copy of the lectern in Kings Lynn Church. 1864-66 high quality polygonal stone pulpit with Early English blind arcading and stepped buttresses on angel corbels. The nave has 1864-66 poppyhead bench ends with open traceried panels, the aisle bench ends are plainer.

The font has a medieval octagonal bowl on shafts with a plinth. C15 doorway to room over porch with rounded arch, rebated for a door. Lady Chapel refurbished 1971-72; four medieval bench ends; corona commemorating Archdeacon Freeman, incumbent 1856-75, by Willy of Exeter. Early C20 Lady Chapel screen originally in St Edmund's Exeter. There is said to be a particularly interesting carillon of C16 or C17 dates, recently repaired and put into working order.

Listing NGR: SS9246802179

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