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Church of St Saviour

A Grade I Listed Building in Dartmouth, Devon

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Latitude: 50.3512 / 50°21'4"N

Longitude: -3.5789 / 3°34'44"W

OS Eastings: 287764

OS Northings: 51329

OS Grid: SX877513

Mapcode National: GBR QS.RB47

Mapcode Global: FRA 38D3.MJN

Plus Code: 9C2R9C2C+FC

Entry Name: Church of St Saviour

Listing Date: 14 September 1949

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1293197

English Heritage Legacy ID: 387192

Location: Dartmouth, South Hams, Devon, TQ6

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmouth

Built-Up Area: Dartmouth

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Dartmouth Townstal

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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673-1/8/64 Church of St Saviour


Church. Dedicated in 1372 as a chapel of ease under the Church
of St Clement at Townstal (qv). Church building had commenced
earlier in the C14 but it was enlarged in the late C14/early
C15. The town corporation owned the advowson between 1585-1835
and were responsible for the major refurbishment of 1633-7.
Vestry of 1883. A plaque records the expenditure of over ยป3400
in 1887-8 by EH Sedding, architect. Further renovation in
1891-3 by Ashworth; later repairs in 1932 and 1956. Local
stone rubble with Bathstone and Salcombe stone dressings, the
various builds show in the different styles of rubble masonry;
slate roofs with pierced and crested ridge tiles.
PLAN: Nave and chancel with transepts, north and south aisles
extending into the chancel and flanking west tower, north and
south porches, vestry on south side of the chancel. Eastern
end of the nave rebuilt in the late C15 with a new rood screen
(1496), possibly with the transepts. In 1633-7 the tower
heightened, new windows to the aisles and the gallery erected
as part of major refurbishment. In the late C19 a major
restoration in 2 phases in which the church was reroofed, the
chancel stripped of its C17 furnishings and "restored", the
organ "enlarged", and the vestry built.
EXTERIOR: Tall unbuttressed west tower, its upper stage from
the C17 with embattled parapet and corner pinnacles. Belfry
has mullioned round-headed windows under continuous hoodmould.
Older double-lancet belfry windows below and large C19
clockfaces. Restored west doorway, a 2-centred arch with
shafts and carved arch under hoodmould, contains C19 door.
4-light window above with ogival tracery. Gabled ends to
aisles, like most other gables, with coping and apex crosses.
C19 gabled north porch with offset buttresses, 2-centred outer
arch, boarded wagon-style roof, and C19 north doorway is a
moulded 2-centred arch and contains a Gothic-style door. South
porch of c1630 has embattled parapet and moulded 2-centred
outer arch with hoodmould and contains probably original
timber panelled gates with crest of twisted iron spikes; worn
stone plaque above, which formerly displayed the town arms
with the date; inside are stone benches and plain vaulted
roof. South doorway a C17 two-centred arch with ovolo-moulded
surround. North and south aisles have C17 windows with unusual
tracery of intersecting curves and large cinquefoil roundels
to the gallery. The hoodmoulds on the south side are dated
1932. Gable-ended transepts running parallel to the church:
both have 4-light west windows with intersecting tracery,
outer C19 windows with Perpendicular tracery and blocked east
windows. Chancel with C19 Perpendicular windows and, on the
northern side, a thicker wall including a small blocked
window. Vestry in Gothic style with embattled parapet and tall
chimneyshaft (rebuilt in the late C20) and dated 1888 on
rainwater head.
INTERIOR: One of the best in Devon. Uninterrupted roof to nave
and chancel; C19 boarded vault. Similar roofs to aisles and
contemporary intersecting beam ceilings to the transepts. All
are painted and feature gold stars in the transepts and
chancel. Tall plain tower arch. No chancel arch. 5-bay arcades
including one bay across the transepts and another overlapping
into the chancel. They are not the same. Western 2 bays are
C14. South side has octagonal piers with moulded capitals,
north side similar but with shafts to the corners. Eastern 3
bays rebuilt in the C15 with taller arches, Pevsner's B-type
profiles to the piers, carved capitals and carved fleurons and
other motifs to the arches (one has an almost continuous leaf
Chancel has combined piscina and sedilia - 4 bays with
crocketed ogee tops. Other piscinas in the transepts, low
cinquefoil head and projecting bowl below a row of 3 plain
niches in the north transept, and a double cusped ogee arch
with carved tracery in the spandrels with traces of old
painted colour in the south transept. Tudor-arch doorway from
the south chapel to the vestry containing a Gothic-style door.
Windows have hollow-chamfered rere arches, except east window
which has a moulded rere arch. Plastered walls.
Nave and aisles have flagged floors including a large number
of C17 and C18 ledger stones. Section at the east end, a
series of C19 brasses have a border of polychrome marble.
Black and white chequered marble in the sanctuary.
Rood screen: 1496 according to the church accounts. Very high
quality carved oak. 11 bays across nave and aisles. Stone
stairs each end with round-headed doorways to the rood loft.
Perpendicular window tracery above wainscotting with blind
tracery (right end bay replaced with panelling dated 1598).
Carved Gothic coving and intricately carved and undercut
frieze and low crest. Ancient painted colour including defaced
saints on the wainscotting. C20 replacement rood. Later
parclose screens, bearing the arms and initials of James
Pelliton, mayor in 1567-8, standard tracery with carved frieze
to match the rood screen.
West gallery: Dated 1633. Oak carving in same style as
contemporary fronts of merchants' houses. Richly carved
bressummer. Frontal divided into bays by standards carved as
Ionic columns, panels (painted with the arms of mayors,
recorders and other prominent Dartmouth men) with richly
carved rails and muntins under a grille of tiny turned
balusters to the handrail. Good early C18 stair, open string
with carved stair brackets, slender turned balusters with
blocks and moulded flat handrail.
FITTINGS: South door, although dated 1631, has excellent
probably C15 ironwork featuring 2 lions across a tree with
large leaves. Remarkable painted altar table made in 1893 from
a late C16 communion table using carvings of the Evangelists
as the legs. Wooden communion rail of 1956. Late C19 oak
stalls with Gothic-style ornament. Rococo organ case of 1789
by Micheau of Exeter. South chapel lined with C17 panelling (a
section cut away to reveal a small brass) and some later
panelling. Rare C15 painted stone pulpit, tall and encrusted
with carved decoration - slender octagonal panelled stem
widens above like a palm to octagonal drum (with timber door)
which has broad bands of foliage top, bottom and up the
corners, narrow panels originally undecorated but symbols of
royal authority added with the initials of Charles II. C19
timber eagle lectern with carved decoration to stem and base.
Brass lectern in south transept chapel. Low screen to south
transept made up from pieces of C17 panelling, and chapel
there includes a panelled stall dated 1630. South transept has
altar dating from 1902 and contemporary ornate reredos built
in same style and colour scheme as nearby rood screen and
includes a ceramic mosaic. North transept altar and reredos
erected 1957. Gothic-style municipal benches of 1815 have been
moved from the chancel to the nave. Plain C14 stone font with
circular stem and octagonal bowl. C19 gas lights with ornate
wrought-iron brackets. Brass candelabra in nave from 1708.
Towards west end of nave, a C19 timber arch with Gothic
decoration under the gallery, probably contemporary with the
glazed tower screen and vaulted ceiling to the tower porch. At
west end of the south aisle 2 large painted charity boards
recording charitable bequests between 1490-1700, the larger
one a former reredos surmounted by a wooden model of a bible
open at Luke VII, and flanked by Commandment boards; above it
a very large painting, "The Widow's Son" by William Brockedon
(1787-1854) of Totnes; also here an ancient chest and the old
municipal fire engine, a Newsham model of 1737. Chancel and
nave have hatchments of the Seale family.
MEMORIALS: The chancel floor includes one of the most
important brasses in Devon, commemorating John Hawley,
shipowner, 3-times mayor of Dartmouth and major benefactor of
the church, (died 1408); he is represented in armour flanked
by his 2 wives under an arcade of tall cusped ogee canopies.
Nearby another brass commemorating the death of Gilbert
Staplehill in 1637. Several good ledger stones, but the oldest
and most interesting is a fragment of a slate slab near the
pulpit engraved with the figure of a priest in eucharistic
vestments. Oldest mural monuments are in the chancel - on the
north side, small monument to Nicholas Hayman (died 1606) has
pilasters enriched with ribbonwork and cartouche below carved
with emblems of mortality; on south side, large marble
memorial to Walter Jago (died 1733) has Corinthian pilasters
to open pediment, fluted consoles and cartouche, and smaller
one below to Edward Hanbury (died 1767), shaped with urn at
the top and arms below. Good monument in north transept to
Roger Vavasoir (died 1696) and son Henry (died 1727), signed
by Jo. Westone; Corinthian pilasters to moulded cornice and
open segmental pediment with central flaming urn and allegoric
figures on the pediment, tearful putti on the sill, and
massive console brackets flanking a heraldic cartouche. Large
late C17-style monument in the south transept apparently
commemorating the refurbishment of the chapel in 1902 by
William Taylor and his wife Elizabeth. Other C19 monuments in
the gallery.
GLASS: Much of the glass was blown out by bombs in 1943. Some
C19 glass survived and subsequent C20 glass, notably in south
chapel, 1969 by A Attwood. Only fragments survive of C17
heraldic glass in the aisles and includes an oval glass plaque
recording the payment for window glass by the merchant Thomas
Pagge in 1634.
The church forms the focus for the New Quay area of Dartmouth
where several houses survive with architectural parallels to
the C17 carpentry and joinery in the church. Some of the
houses were occupied by the merchant families who are
commemorated in the church.
(The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Devon: London: P.322-3;
Freeman, Ray: Dartmouth and its Neighbours: Phillimore: 1990-:
P.27-32; Church guide).

Listing NGR: SX8776651330

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