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Latitude: 51.2333 / 51°13'59"N
Longitude: -3.7959 / 3°47'45"W
OS Eastings: 274715
OS Northings: 149769
OS Grid: SS747497
Mapcode National: GBR L3.2D6H
Mapcode Global: VH5JS.584C
Entry Name: Church of Saint John
Listing Date: 25 February 1965
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1289192
English Heritage Legacy ID: 397606
Location: Countisbury, North Devon, Devon, EX35
District: North Devon
Civil Parish: Countisbury
Civil Parish/community: Brendon and Countisbury
Traditional County: Devon
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon
Church of England Parish: Countisbury with Lynmouth St John the Evangelist
Church of England Diocese: Exeter
SS 74 NW
3/30 Church of Saint John
Parish church. C18 and C19 rebuilding of an earlier church. Nave rebuilt and porch
probably added in 1796. Nave also probably further remodelled in the mid C19.
Tower dated 1836, and chancel rebuilt and vestry and north aisle added in 1846, at
the expense of the Revd. Walter Stevenson Halliday of Glenthorne (q.v). Coursed
stone rubble, C19 work roughly coursed with dressed quoins and ashlar dressings to
openings. Slate roofs.
Plan: 3-bay nave with north aisle and south porch, chancel with lean-to north
vestry, and west tower. Straight joints flanking south door of nave possibly
indicate the survival of part of the old fabric or C19 rebuilding at C18 work. Mid-
C19 work in a Perpendicular Gothic style.
Exterior: unbuttressed west tower of 3 stages. Chamfered plinth, offsets to each
stage with moulded string courses and battlemented parapet with stone coping and
corner pinnacles with globe finials. Base of south-east pinnacle inscribed: "RVD WS
/HALLIDAY/1836", south-west pinnacle inscribed: "RVD W S/H/1836" and north-west
pinnacle inscribed: "W R/BUILDR". Louvred round-arched belfry openings. 2-light
window in second stage to west with dressed voussoirs and keystone wooden Y-tracery
and diamond leading. Boarded door to north with wooden lintel.
Nave: south side with rendered plinth and pair of probably mid C19 square-headed
windows of 3 hollow-chamfered Tudor-arched lights, chamfered reveals, flat arches
and returned hoodmould. Central late C19 shallow-pointed arched entrance and C19
boarded door with wrought-iron strap hinges. Porch with rendered plinth and plain
barge boards, and round-arched entrance with C19 moulded stone hoodmould which has
scrolled stops. Renewed slate sundial above entrance, with inscription : "TIS TIME
TO SEEK THE LORD". Interior of porch with stone floor, stone side benches and
plaster barrel vault.
North aisle: centre window of 2 trefoil-headed lights and outer windows of 2 four-
centred arched lights; all diamond leaded.
Chancel: diamond-leaded trefoil-headed lancet to south set in square-headed recess
with returned hoodmould. 4-centred arched east window with 2 diamond-leaded lights,
Y-tracery deeply splayed moulded reveals and hoodmould. Vestry has pair of 2-light
wooden casements with wrought-iron bars.
Interior: plastered walls. Plastered barrel-vaulted nave roof. 2-bay north aisle
of 1846 consisting of octagonal piers with chamfered plinths and moulded capitals,
and chamfered 4-centred arches. Plastered barrel-vaulted aisle roof with moulded
wooden wall plate. Mid-C19 round chancel arch with moulded front and rear edges,
moulded imposts and small moulded corbels. Chancel roof with scissor-braced turned
rafters, ashlar pieces and moulded wooden wall plates. Windows with segmental rear
arches, with jambs stripped of plaster in nave.
Fittings: mid C19 painted wooden reredos flanking east window, of 4 panels, the
lower 2 with the Lord's Prayer and Creed and the upper 2 with the commandments and
Tudor-arched heads, moulded plinth and cill string and moulded cornice carried up
over the window. C19 wooden altar, flanked by large free-standing C20 wooden
candlesticks. Wooden dado panelling to chancel, ramped up to east end,
incorporating a well-carved medieval bench end depicting a swan with crown around
its neck, lettering above and trefoil with shield below. C19 choir stalls. C19
trefoil-arched arcaded altar rails. Probable old rectangular stone piscina with
chamfered drain, on C20 wooden frame. Fine chancel screen of circa 1700 with
panelled lower part, turned balusters above, chamfered square posts with scrolled
stops, top rail with carved egg and dart ornament, small turned urns above balusters
and large urns above posts, and wide open triangular pediment above with carved
acanthus modillions alternating with carved square pateral, egg and dart enrichment
etc. C19 pews and matchboarded dado in nave and aisle. C19 carved wooden octagonal
pulpit with carved stem and foliage panels, and reader's desk with traceried front.
C19 carved wooden lectern. C19 octagonal stone front with trefoil-headed panels to
step, moulded base, bowl with carved quatrefoil panels, and painted wooden cover
with carved quatrefoil panels and pyramidal top with finial. Old organ at east end
of aisle: "CASSON'S PATENT/POSITIVE ORGAN CO. LTD/LONDON/OP. 127". Painted royal
coat of arms (George IV) on west wall of nave with date (1837) at corners of wooden
frame and painted inscription: "GUEIELMUS IV BRITT REX". Below coat of arms is
carved wooden Prince of Wales feathers mounted on board with motto and date, 10th
March 1863. Pair of C19 brass candlesticks fixed to north wall of nave.
Monuments: pair of painted C18 wooden tablets on north wall of nave with original
colour, including gilding, marbling etc. Left-hand one illegible, consisting of
lugged architrave, pedimented top with cherub and scrolled brackets below. Right-
hand one in memory of Christopher Slocombe Asheon (d. 5 February 1781, aged 39
years), consisting of flanking fluted pilasters with cornices and globe finials
above and resting on scrolled brackets, around top with cherubs and shaped base with
shield. Stone tablet on south wall of nave in memory of John Fry of Wilsham (d. 3
November 1762, aged 47 years) with painted shaped head and cherub. In 1832 the old
chancel and tower still survived. The Revd. W. S. Halliday began Glenthorne (q.v),
his house nearby in 1829 and carried out much work on the estate in the following
years including the virtual rebuilding of the Church. N. Pevsner Buildings of
England North Devon, p.79; Beatrix F. Cresswell, Notes on Devon Churches, Deanery
of Shirwell, pp. 84 - 91.
Listing NGR: SS7471549769
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