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Church of St Michael

A Grade I Listed Building in Chagford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6727 / 50°40'21"N

Longitude: -3.839 / 3°50'20"W

OS Eastings: 270146

OS Northings: 87509

OS Grid: SX701875

Mapcode National: GBR QB.YX52

Mapcode Global: FRA 27V9.86K

Entry Name: Church of St Michael

Listing Date: 22 February 1967

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1308610

English Heritage Legacy ID: 94650

Location: Chagford, West Devon, Devon, TQ13

County: Devon

District: West Devon

Civil Parish: Chagford

Built-Up Area: Chagford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Chagford St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text

SX 7087 Chagford
6/120 Church of St Michael

Parish church. It appears to be a complete C15 rebuild of an earlier church (The
Church Wardens Accounts record work on the Lady Chapel in 1482); major renovation of
circa 1888 followed by a series of lesser works between 1888 and 1925, e.g. vestry
by J.W. Rowell and Son of Newton Abbot in 1891 and tower restored in 1915; roofs
repaired circa 1960. Coursed blocks of granite ashlar throughout; granite ashlar
detail, one window of limestone ashlar; slate roofs.
Plan: church is actually set on a north-east - south-west axis but for convenience
it is described as if it had a conventional east-west axis. Nave and chancel under
a continuous roof with full length north and south aisles, both with east end
chapels. The south aisle has the former Lady Chapel (now a Chapel of Remembrance to
the dead of the World Wars) and the 1891 vestry at the east end. At the east end of
the north aisle St Katherines Chapel was converted to the organ chamber and the
aisle was extended an extra bay. C15 south porch. Large C15 west tower.
Perpendicular style throughout and renovation work carried out in the same style.
Exterior. Tall west tower of 3 stages with internal stair turret in the south-west
corner. It has a chamfered plinth, setback buttresses and an embattled parapet
without corner pinnacles. Belfry has double lancets on each side to the belfry and
a single lancet on the north side to the ringing loft. On the west side the doorway
has a 2-centred arch with double chamfered surround. It contains a good quality oak
door carved with blind cusped arcades and carved with a Latin quotation and dated
1914. Directly above 3-light window with a pointed arch and containing simple
intersecting tracery and a hoodmould. Possibly this window was reused in the C15
from the earlier church. Above this window 2 small arch-headed niche contains a C20
carved figure of St. Michael and above that a painted clockface put there in 1867.
There are tiny slit windows on the south side lighting the newel stair.
The nave and aisles are similar in style. Their roofs are gable-ended with C19
shaped kneelers, coping and moulded finials. (The west end of the north aisle has
no finial). The roof is continuous over nave and chancel but the division is marked
by an old ridge tile surmounted by a crude beast (maybe a pig). The aisles have
soffit-chamfered eaves cornices and the south aisle has a chamfered plinth. Both
have set back buttresses on their corners and buttresses between the windows, all
with weathered offsets. The west ends of the aisles are blind although both contain
blocked features. The south aisle is roughcast but inside a tall 2-centred arch
shows. The north aisle contains a blocked doorway, a 2-centred arch with a double
roll moulded surround and above that is a presumably C19 segmental-headed window
embrasure. All the original windows have original Perpendicular tracery with plain
The south aisle and porch. The porch projects left of centre. It has set back
buttresses and an embattled parapet. 2-centred outer arch with moulded surround
and broach stops. This contains early C20 timber gates containing a row of open
quatrefoils containing rosettes along the top. There is a late C17 or C18 slate
sundial with a brass pointer. It has shaped corners and the borders are enriched
with scrolled foliage and garlands. The porch occupies one of the 5 bays this side.
The others contain 3-light windows, and there is another at the east end. In the
angle of the south aisle and chancel is the low 1981 vestry built of neater ashlar
than the original church. It has a flat roof and embattled parapet over a soffit-
moulded dripcourse. Each side contains a square-headed 2-light window with
cinquefoil heads and the south side contains a segmental-headed doorway with ovolo
surround. Above the vestry, a window built of limestone, with Decorated tracery and
hoodmould with carved labels.
The east end of the chancel has a large and impressive 5-light window with
Perpendicular tracery. It has moulded reveals with carved capitals and hoodmould.
The north aisle is 6 bays. The east end bay is a late C19 addition and contains
another limestone 2-light window with Decorated tracery, hoodmould and block labels.
Contemporary granite Tudor arch doorway in east end. The rest are original 3-light
windows similar to those on the south side. The division between aisle and organ
chamber (former chapel) is marked by a projecting rood stair turret.
Porch has a good interior. It has stone-flagged floor and benches along each side.
Stone vaulted 2-bay roof; the ribs springing from half-engaged piers and with good
carved bosses. The piers are granite and although the rest is painted the detail
suggests a softer stone, possibly Beerstone. The south doorway is a granite 2-
centred arch with double chamfered surround and pyrmaid stops. It contains an
ancient folding plank door with studded coverstrips, its original ferramenta and a
massive oak lock housing.
The roof was repaired circa 1960 but is essentially original. Nave and chancel have
continuous wagon roofs with moulded purlins and ribs, good carved oak bosses and a
moulded wallplate enriched with 4-leaf bosses. The break between nave and chancel
is now marked by the chancel only being ceiled and the timberwork there is painted.
Both aisles have similar smaller wagon roofs and must be contemporary with the nave
and chancel roof. Both are now open and the south chapel timbers have traces of
ancient colour. The bosses are noteworthy some featuring the spiral symbol of the
Gorges family and others the tinners mark of 3 rabbits.
Church Fabric. Tall tower arch with a narrow chamfered surround and soffit-
Chamfered imposts. Inside tower small 2-centred arch doorway to newel stairs but
floor to ringing loft replaced 1915. Either side of the tower arch are the blocked
apertures described above. Each aisle has an identical 5-bay arcade with 1
overlapping into the chancel. The arches have double chamfered arch rings.
Octagonal granite piers made from single pieces of granite and have soffit-chamfered
caps and chamfered bases, now on pedestals since the floor has been lowered. The
floor is of stone slabs and includes some grave slabs in the chancel (see below).
The walls are of exposed granite ashlar. In the south aisle, close to the chancel
screen, there is an arch-headed blocked opening for the rood stair.
Furniture and fittings. In the chancel the reredos dates from 1888 along with the
rest of the sanctuary decoration. It is a painted and gilded triptych; Christ in
majesty is flanked by panels containing the Evangelists and the wings contain
saints. The wall behind is lined with good polychrome tiles of 1888. The oak
stalls (dating from 1913) are in a Tudor Gothic style with blind arcading across the
front and carved angel finials. The sedilia dates from 1894. The chancel screen is
a fine piece of work. It was erected in 1925 in memory of the young flying officer
Noel Hayter-Hames. It is an expert recreation of a C15 Perpendicular oak chancel
screen with blind tracery on the wainscotting, Perpendicular tracery to the windows,
Gothic cusped coving and a frieze of delicately undercut bands of foliage. The
parclose screens are painted and it may be that they are actually C15; built of oak
and simpler versions of the main screen. The pulpit (dated 1928) is also built of
oak and in the same Perpendicular style; it has an octagonal drum nodding ogee arch
on the sides and undercut foliage on the corners, base and frieze. In the former
St. Katherines Chapel the late C19 organ has been restored to its original painted
scheme. The former Lady Chapel was lined with panelled wainscotting when converted
to a Chapel of Rememberance circa 1925. The contemporary figures on the Riddel
posts are the patron saints of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Brass lecturn
is dated 1871. The benches are also Gothic in style; the bench ends have tracery
patterns framed with wreathed foliage. They probably date from the reseating of
1864 and most have been dedicated to members of the congregation who died in the
C20. Granite Perpendicular style octagonal font carved by a local mason, John
Aggett, and dedicated to the memory of Katherine Hayter-Hames who died less than a
year old in 1856. The oak coved canopy is richly carved in Gothic style.
Memorials. The oldest and best in the church is the table tomb in the sanctuary in
memory of Sir John Wyddon (d. 1575). It is remarkable for its early Renaissance
decoration. The tomb base is 3 bays divided by pilasters which are carved with
foliage and with a frieze of wreathed foilage. Each bay carved with foliage and
with a frieze of wreathed foliage. Each bay contains a frame of formal foliage.
Central bay contains an heraldic achievement and the flanking bays have Renaissance
vases with cherubs and grotesques. Marble lid with black letter inscription around
the edge. Any effigy is now missing. 2-bay arcade above with round arches enriched
by scrolled cusping and supported on baluster columns. The arches and spandrels are
richly carved with Renaissance ornament. Moulded frieze above and moulded
entablature with carved crestwork is supported by carved scroll consoles. The back
of the arcade is also richly carved with heraldic achievements surrounded by a dense
pattern of expertly carved ornament featuring mermen, grotesques and foliage.
Nearby, on the sanctuary steps is a graveslab in memory of Mary Whiddon who died on
her wedding day in 1641.
South aisle contains a good mural monument in memory of Sir John Prouz (d.1664).
Built most of Beerstone, it contains an inscribed rectangular marble plaque flanked
by free-standing marble columns with Corinthian caps and entablature with modillion
frieze surmounted by a cartouche containing the Prouz arms flanked by other heraldic
cartouches. The soffit-moulded sill is supported by scroll brackets carved as
grotesque lions heads and with an apron between enriched with strapwork and
containing a carved oak heraldic achievement. Above the monument is suspended a
helmet bearing the Prouz crest. All the paintwork is C20. To south of the
sanctuary a granite recess with double ogee arch in memory of Constance Hayter-Hames
(d.1890) and several C19 mural monuments to other members of the same family but the
best monument from this period is a mural plaque in memory of Captain John Evans who
died aged 23, in 1861 after an active service life. The plaque is a white marble
scroll with a symbol of liberty at the top. It is carved as if the scroll is
pinned to the end of a chest tomb on which lies his sword and an open Bible and over
this is his regimental arms. The black ground has a pointed arch and a moulded
limestone frame. It is signed Bedford Sc. 256 Oxford Street, London.
Over the south door a board is painted with the arms of Charles II (much restored).
To right a painted Benefaction board dated 1791 over an inscribed Beerstone tablet
recording the benefactions of the Reverend John Hayter and John Hooper in 1790.
Glass. The window of the north chapel contains fragments of C15 glass; St. Andrew
and some heraldic achievements. The rest of the stained glass is C19 and most are
memorials to members of the Hayter-Hames family.
Summary. This is a good C15 granite church although the interior is largely the
result of the several late C19 and early C20 renovations. The best feature is the
remarkable Whiddon table tomb.
Sources. Devon C19 Church Project. Church Guide. (n.a.)

Listing NGR: SX7014287510

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

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