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Church of St Mary

A Grade I Listed Building in Lifton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6425 / 50°38'32"N

Longitude: -4.2836 / 4°17'0"W

OS Eastings: 238634

OS Northings: 85019

OS Grid: SX386850

Mapcode National: GBR NP.8X4D

Mapcode Global: FRA 17XC.P10

Plus Code: 9C2QJPR8+XH

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 21 March 1967

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1317823

English Heritage Legacy ID: 92386

ID on this website: 101317823

Location: Lifton, West Devon, PL16

County: Devon

District: West Devon

Civil Parish: Lifton

Built-Up Area: Lifton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Tagged with: Church building

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2/142 Church of St Mary

Parish church. C12 font, parts of the chancel and chancel chapel arches C14, the
rest C15 and C16. Mostly dressed stone brought to course, ashlar masonry porch,
slate roof, granite dressings. Largely Perpendicular church of nave, chancel, south
aisle, south chancel chapel, west tower, north porch and north east vestry. Of the
C12 church only the font remains. The C14 church had a south chancel chapel and the
surviving respond and arch of the chancel and a respond to the chancel chapel arch
are close enough to work at Kelly church (q.v.) to suggest the same shop of masons.
In the late C15 the nave, chancel and chancel chapel were remodelled and the west
tower was built. It is said that during the 1871 restoration evidence of an earlier
tower was discovered on the north side. The south aisle and south porch are post
Reformation (Honey) financed by William Harris of Hayne who purchased the manor in
1555. Documentation of 1836 refers to work on a "transept". Before the major
restoration of 1871 the fabric, with the exception of the tower, was described as
"very unsatisfactory" and the 1871 work comprised the rebuilding of the chancel and
chancel chapel arches, the lowering of the nave floor and a reseating. The east wall
of the chancel has a coped gable and a deeply-recessed 3-light arched Perpendicular
window with Y tracery, some stonework replaced. The roof has been widened and there
is evidence of rebuilding in the gable. The south chancel chapel has a coped east
gable and a deeply-recessed 3-light Perpendicular east window with a hoodmould and a
square-headed 3-light C16 south window with hoodmould, label stops and replaced
mullions. An arched granite priest's door on the south side looks late C19 or C20.
The south aisle of roughly-dressed coursed stone with some slate lacing has 2 C19
buttresses with set-offs and 4 3-light square-headed C19 stone windows and one 3-
light square-headed C16 granite window all with hoodmoulds and label stops. The west
wall of the aisle has a coped gable and a 3-light Perpendicular arched granite widow
with hoodmould, label stops and replaced mullions. 3-light square-headed granite
north window to the chancel has hoodmould, label stops and replaced mullions. The
rectangular 1871 vestry has a chamfered granite doorway on the east side, and a 3-
light square-headed window on the north side with hoodmould and label stops, the
heads of the lights look C16. To the west of the vestry is an arched chamfered
pulpit window. 2 square-headed granite 3-light Perpendicular windows to the nave
have hoodmoulds and label stops, 5 mullions replaced. Large 2-storey C16 porch with
embattled parapet has a polygonal corner stair turret on the west side and moulded
arched doorway with carved spandrels under a square-headed hoodmould with carved
label stops. An ogee-headed statue niche above the doorway is crowned with an
engaged finial. The fine C15 3-stage embattled west tower has ashlar set-back
buttresses with set-offs and an internal north-west stair turret with quatrefoil
lights. The tower has a plinth below a moulded string course, strings marking the
stages and large octagonal corner pinnacles with crocketted finials. The arched
moulded west doorway has carved spandrels below a square-headed hoodmould with carved
label stops. A deeply-recessed 4-light Perpendicular west window (mullions replaced)
has a hoodmould, label stops and a frieze of blind quatrefoils in roundels above the
sill. The south face of the tower has a chamfered 4-centred arched opening at the
bellringers' stage. 3-light Perpendicular traceried belfry opening with hoodmoulds
and label stops to all 4 faces of the tower.
Interior 6-bay Perpendicular granite south arcade, 2-bays to the chancel. The
piers are monoliths of 4 shafts and 4 hollows with moulded capitals of various
designs. The C14 moulded freestone chancel arch is carried on a moulded freestone
north respond with a carved capital (q.v. Kelly church) and on a large granite corbel
to the south. The C19 granite arch into the south chancel chapel has a similar
arrangement with a C14 respond to the south and a C19 granite corbel to the north.
The heavily-moulded tower arch springs high up from carved capitals on moulded
shafts. Ceiled waggons to the nave and to the chancel are boarded, with ribs with
fleurons and carved bosses and look largely medieval. The south aisle and chancel
chapel ceiled waggon roofs look C19. The chancel has a gabled timber reredos of 1910
with blind tracery and pinnacles flanked by stone communion panels with an ambitious
architectural stone surround of circa 1840 with pinnacles, crocketted finials and
tabernacle work. A trefoil-headed piscina on the south wall could be C14. C19
tiling to chancel. Fine C12 font with a square bowl with chamfered corners below 4
carved heads with angular profiles, the sides of the bowl carved with intersecting
round-headed blind arcading, leaves and dog tooth ornament. The bowl is on an
octagonal plinth and base. 5-sided timber drum pulpit of 1910 has pierced tracery
sides on a stem with struts. 1871 rectangular bench ends and contemporary choir
stalls with poppy heads. 1910 timber eagle lectern on elaborate pinnacled base. 2
C16 panels with arabesque carving, possibly part of a screen, fixed to the west wall.
A C17 monument in coloured marbles to members of the Harris family dominates the
north wall of the chancel. 3 alabaster three quarter size figures kneel on a moulded
half-chest on a plinth. The figures are divided by 4 Roman Ionic columns supporting
an entablature crowned by 4 obelisks and 3 tall gabled inscription panels with putti
lounging on the pediments. The monument is probably 1630 and commemorates Sir
William, Sir Arthur and Lady Florence Harris, died 1590, 1618 and 1631. An
inscription states that it was repaired and beautified in 1762 and 1795. a monument
on the south wall of the chancel chapel commemorates John and Margaret Dynham of
Wortham (q.v.) died 1641 and 1649. A central cartouche with an armorial bearing in
relief is flanked by Corinthian columns supporting a pediment containing a bearded
figure, putti and obelisks above, inscription panel below. Some ancient colour
survives. A brass plaque to John Harris de Hayne, died 1657 with armorial bearings
above an inscription is fixed to the north wall of the chancel chapel. East window
of circa 1905 is probably by Drake of Exeter, north chancel window by Beer and
Driffield. Royal arms of William IV on the north wall of the nave.
Beatrix Cresswell 'Churches in the Deanery of Tavistock' MS in West Country Studies
St Mary's Church Lifton History (1978)
Devon Nineteenth Century Churches Project

Listing NGR: SX3863385016

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