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Church of St Nectan

A Grade I Listed Building in Hartland, Devon

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Latitude: 50.995 / 50°59'41"N

Longitude: -4.5165 / 4°30'59"W

OS Eastings: 223503

OS Northings: 124743

OS Grid: SS235247

Mapcode National: GBR K3.KPP0

Mapcode Global: FRA 16FH.288

Plus Code: 9C2QXFVM+XC

Entry Name: Church of St Nectan

Listing Date: 20 February 1958

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1333125

English Heritage Legacy ID: 91258

ID on this website: 101333125

Location: St Nectan's Church, Stoke, Torridge, Devon, EX39

County: Devon

District: Torridge

Civil Parish: Hartland

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Hartland St Nectan

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Church building

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SS 22 SW

3/192 Church of St Nectan



Parish Church. A Collegiate church was founded here by Gytha in circa 1050 and
dedicated to St Nectan, the main fabric dates from the C14 and C15. Restored circa
1850 and 1910-11. Coursed rubble walls with stone coping to gables. Gable ended
slate roofs.
Plan: Nave, chancel, north and south aisles, transept chapels and porches, west
tower. the main style of the church is Perpendicular but the traceryof the windows
has largely been replaced and the nave, chancel and tower at least are likely to be
C14. The date of aisles and north and southporches is more problemmatic and they
are not necessarily contemporaneous but likely to have been built between the 2nd
half of the C14 and the later C15. A restoration of c.1850 replaced the tracery of
the windows when the parclose screens were also put in. In 1910-11 Mr Herbert Read
made a careful restoration of all the decayed and missing portions of the roof in St
Mary's Chapel (north, faithfully copying designs and colours of the original work
and retaining all that was sound.
Exterior: Imposing 4 stage tower 128' high - reputedly the tallest in Devon with set
back buttresses with gargoyles at the top, embattled parapet and large corner
pinnacles. 2-light transomed belfry openings of Decorated style. On the east face
of the tower in a canopied niche is the figure of St Nectan probably medieval but
with the head replaced by that of a bishop. Original moulded west doorway with
almost semi-circular head terminating in carved angels, each holding a shield and
clothed in tne habit of a monk with hood. Restored window above with probably C20
tracery in Decorated style of Doulting stone. Both north and south aisles are
embattled and windows restored in c.1850 with Perpendicular tracery, apart from east
window of south aisle, which is Decorated style. Chancel has C18 lead rainwater
head on south wall. Large Perpendicular gabled 2 storey north porch has simple
outer doorway with pointed arch and double hollow moulded 4-centred inner arch. In
east wall on 1st floor original 2-light window survives with square head and jambs
grooved for shutters, the central moulded mullion has been re-used. South porch
carries datestone of 1786 commemorating the rebuilding of its front wall with a
simple flattened arch and a sundial above date 1804.
The large south doorway is C14 with a 2-centres head and double row of mouldings
in between which are small carved fleurons. Both porches retain their medieval wagon
roofs and have stone benches. Their doors are in fact early constructed of oak but
encased with deal.
Interior: Walls are plastered, much of it ancient with signs of old colour but the
surface emulsion painted. 6 bay north and south aisles of 4-centred chamfered
arches, slender piers of 4 clustered shafts with low moulded cup capitals. N
chancel arch. Tall tower arch of 3 orders with 4-centred head and projecting
imposts. Plain plastered 4-centred arches to transept chapels. C14 trefoiled
piscina in chancel. Medieval wagon roofs throughout restored in varying degrees.
That to nave has ornamental bosses, moulded ribs, carved wall-plate and painted
decoration; the east half is ceiled with decorated panels renewed in C20. North and
south aisle roofs have moulded ribs, carved wall-plates and bosses - the western
portion of the north aisle roof was destroyed by fire and reconstructed with new
bosses symbolizing the Christian's progress through life. The roof of the north
(Lady) chapel is particularly ornate with most of the bosses original and the
decoration in each panel is of a different design. Very fine C15 rood screen
extending the whole width of the Church, eleven bays long with Pevsner A-type
tracery and rich foliage carving to coling, with evidence of ancient colouring
throughout. Parclose screens are C19. High quality benches with carved ends in
south chapel which according to documentary evidence were originally installed in
the Lady Chapel circa 1540 by Hugh Prust of Thorny. Other pews largely C17 with
some C19 restoration and all those in south transpet being C19. Restored medieval
pulpit on renewed stone base. In the chamber over the north porch are the preserved
panels of a Jacobean pulpit, a list of the allotments of seats in 1613 and pieces of
medieval tiles and glass as well as the parish stocks. Very fine late Norman font
with square-base and bowl ornamented with intersecting arcading and a stem with
cable mouldings separated by incised zig zags. Carved heads at the corners. All
the glass is C19 or early C20, the east one designed by Christopher Webb, apart from
one in the Lady Chapel which has 3 roundels of which the central one is C14
depicting the Virgin Mary. Bells cast in 1826, inside the base of the tower are 2
early C19 benefaction boards. Sited in the chancel is an ornate late C14
elaborately carved altar tomb of Catacleuse stone removed from Hartland Abbley in
1848. It served as an altar and communion table until 1931. Throughout the church
are 60 mural monuments on walls and floors of which a few are of considerable
interest. In the chancel floor is an incised metalwork cross and border with finely
incised inscription, now illegible, heraldic shield at centre. On the north aisle
wall are 2 particularly good wall memorials. One has a segmental pediment over the
slate plaque surmounted by heraldic shield with cherub at either side and with 2
Corintian columns below, in memory of John Velly, d.1694. The other has a damaged
pediment with relief of grieving mother and child, slate plaque with richly
decorated surround and foliated volutes either side, dated 1723. Both memorials
have ancient colouring. In the south aisle is a smaller wooden memorial with Ionic
columns to either side of a plaque surmounted by a heraldic shield and retaining its
original colours.
This is one of the finest churches in North Devon, its interior little altered by
restoration and retaining much of its early fabric and features.
Sources: The Book of Hartland, R Pearse Chope, Church Guide, F K Lewis and H Prust.

Listing NGR: SS2350524742

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