History in Structure

Church of St Winifred

A Grade I Listed Building in Branscombe, Devon

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 50.6902 / 50°41'24"N

Longitude: -3.1403 / 3°8'25"W

OS Eastings: 319547

OS Northings: 88462

OS Grid: SY195884

Mapcode National: GBR PC.73MF

Mapcode Global: FRA 4798.4D4

Plus Code: 9C2RMVR5+3V

Entry Name: Church of St Winifred

Listing Date: 22 February 1955

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1309398

English Heritage Legacy ID: 88690

Also known as: St Winifred's Church, Branscombe, Devon, England
Saint Winifred's Church, Branscombe, Devon

ID on this website: 101309398

Location: St Winifred's Church, Branscombe, East Devon, EX12

County: Devon

District: East Devon

Civil Parish: Branscombe

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Branscombe St Winifred

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Church building Norman architecture

Find accommodation in



7/18 Church of St Winifred

Parish church. Parts maybe Saxon. Otherwise the church shows a continuous
development from the early C12 to the early C17, carefully restored according to
SPAB principles circa 1911. Local Salcombe stone rubble, it is neater in places,
almost like ashlar, and laid to courses; Beerstone detail; slate roof.
Plan: unusual cruciform plan church with large central tower. The tower has the
oldest fabric. The base of it could be Saxon. The main part of the tower however
is early C12, so too is most of the nave. Mid C13 transepts but west of the tower,
and the nave was lengthened at the same time. Chancel was rebuilt in the early C14
and there are Decorated windows elsewhere. East window was replaced in the time of
Bishop Neville of Exeter (1458-64) and the whole church was apparently refurbished
then. The top of the tower and the south porch are also from this time. The west
end was refurbished in the early C17 with a west gallery gained by an external
flight of stone steps. Thus there is here to see Saxon, Norman, Early English,
Decorated and Perpendicular styles.
Exterior: the masonry at the base of tower shows herringbone chiselling and is
thought by some to be Saxon, and this includes, on the south side, a blocked doorway
with monolithic jambs and head. Tower of 3 stages with semi-circular stair to it
projecting to north. C15 parapet on top of a Norman corbel table of carved heads.
Belfry windows are a series of tall round-headed lancets. The south side lower
stage has a 2-light window with Decorated tracery. The main part of the nave also
has a Norman corbel table of carved grotesque heads and the C14 extension continues
with shaped corbels. The north side is blind but the south side includes a C13
lancet and a 3-light window with Perpendicular tracery. To left of them is the
gabled south porch with segmental outer arch and behind it the south doorway is a 2-
centred arch with chamfered surround and it contains a C17 2-panel door complete
with original ferramenta and oak lock housing. Left (west) of this a flight of
stone steps up to the gallery, entered by Tudor arch doorway. West end contains a
2-centred arch doorway with moulded surround and hoodmould below a restored 3-light
window with Decorated tracery. North transept still lit by an original lancet but
the south transept has a C14 2-light window with Decorated tracery. The doorway
below is dated 1911. The blocked embrasures of more lancets are revealed inside.
The chancel has set back buttresses. Each side are two 2-light windows with
original Decorated tracery. The western ones have shuttered shoulder-headed
openings below, now glazed. They are supposed to have been for ringing a handbell
from at Communion. East window is a large 5-light window with Perpendicular tracery
and hoodmould. It is dated by the arms of Bishop Neville on the label stops. The
buttress of the south-east corner of the chancel forms the gnomon of an unusual
sundial which casts a shadow up till midday on the wall and the hours are marked by
Roman numerals.
Good interior: nave has a C15 open wagon roof with moulded ribs and purlins and
carved oak bosses. The transepts, chancel and porch have common rafter roofs with
straight arch braces. They are now open and were renovated in 1911. Tower has a
C19 ceiling to the ringing floor. Each end of the tower are tall plain 2-centred
arches with soffit-chamfered imposts. The tall arches from nave to transepts have
double-chamfered arch rings springing from moulded corbels which act as capitals for
half engaged clustered piers. On the south side of the nave the blocked remains of
a late Norman doorway is exposed and it has traces of original paint on it. Most of
the window reveals are plain but the east window has half engaged shafts with
capitals carved as angels holding shields and the head is moulded. A projecting
string course around the chancel dips below the lower western windows. The south of
the sanctuary remains of a good C14 4-step sedilia and piscina with cusped ogee
arches. One arch was replaced in 1911 and another has fragments of a C16 text
painted on it. The original chancel screen appears to have been at the west end of
the tower and therefore the rood door comes off the tower stair. Both doorways
survive, the lower one with an ancient plank door. North transept has a C13 piscina
and an aumbry; the oak door of the latter is late C19 but apparently incorporates
some C17 carving. Flag floor incorporates some ancient graveslabs. The walls are
plastered and the north wall includes a part of the good C16 wall painting supposed
to represent the sin of lust.
The altar table is C19 but it is fenced in Laudian style by the C17 oak altar rails
with twisted balusters. Early C20 stalls in Gothic style. Chancel screen at east
end of the tower is late C17 and comprises a grille of turned oak balusters on a low
Beerstone wall with contemporary double doors. Good late C17 'three decker' pulpit;
the lower clerks. desk is pine, the rest is oak. Some contemporary box pews in the
north transept. Lectern is dated 1912. Early C20 benches. At the west end an
early C17 oak gallery carried on turned oak posts and panelled oak front enriched
with carving. Do the Tudor roses put this back into the late C16? Good C15
Beerstone font; octagonal bowl with quatrefoil panels enriched with fourleaf motifs
and shields, around the bottom a bold wreath of foliage coming from the mouth of a
"green man" and stem of blind panels. However, it was brought here from East
Teignmouth in 1911. There is some C17 furniture, notably a carved oak bench end and
a panelled chest inlaid with marquetry. After the collapse of tne 1911 vestry a new
one was built in 1951 under the gallery. It is lined with C17 panelling.
Good monuments the oldest is a graveslab erected in the sanctuary. It is inscribed
with a cross and may be C13. The best however has been re-erected in the north
transept. It commemorates Joan Wadham who died 1583. On a plain table tomb is a
Beerstone plaque flanked by pilasters with pedimented head. On it are carved in bas
relief her 2 husbands facing each other and kneeling in prayer. Behind each of them
is a smaller figure of Joan and behind each of these her children. Alongside is
simpler copy bearing a coat of arms only and erected in memory of Elias Holcombe who
died in 1585. In the south transept is a good Beerstone monument in memory of Anna
Bartlett (d.1660). It comprises a chest tomb carved with cartouches and the lid is
supported on pairs of Ionic columns. The plaque above has an architectural frame in
similar style. The inscription includes an interesting epitaph. The nave includes
the 2 impressive Stuckey marble mural monuments with a board painted with their arms
between; William and Mary Stuckey died 1773 and 1763, and John Stuckey died in 1810.
Several other interesting mural plaques particularly in the chancel.
This is probably one of the best churches in Devon, probably because it belonged to
the Benedictines of Exeter Cathedral and bishops have evidently taken an interest in
Source: Devon SMR.
An excellent guide is available in FC Butler's Branscombe, the Parish and Church

Listing NGR: SY1954288463

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.