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Lavington United Reformed Church

A Grade II* Listed Building in Bideford, Devon

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Latitude: 51.02 / 51°1'11"N

Longitude: -4.2063 / 4°12'22"W

OS Eastings: 245351

OS Northings: 126826

OS Grid: SS453268

Mapcode National: GBR KJ.J46S

Mapcode Global: FRA 262F.343

Entry Name: Lavington United Reformed Church

Listing Date: 19 April 1993

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1355163

English Heritage Legacy ID: 375761

Location: Bideford, Torridge, Devon, EX39

County: Devon

District: Torridge

Civil Parish: Bideford

Built-Up Area: Bideford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bideford St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text


842-1/5/31 (North side)
Lavington United Reformed Church


Chapel. 1856-9 by EM White of Bideford. Coursed stone rubble
with details in limestone (possibly Beer stone). Slate roof.
A simple oblong plan with vestibule at south (entrance) end
and small square apse (now containing the organ) on the north;
main body of chapel galleried, with rostrum at north end.
Exotic design in Gothic style. Front has 3-window gabled
centre with low gabled entrance-porch below the middle window.
At either side a square, projecting tower with octagonal
steeple, each corner of the tower carrying a tall octagonal
Entrance-porch has pointed-arched doorway with multiple
mouldings springing from paired shafts; double-doors with
traceried panels and ornate strap-hinges. Porch buttressed at
either side; gable has kneelers and carved finial, the latter
surmounted by a cross. Behind it, 3 very tall windows with
pointed arches, the centre window with 3 transomed lights,
those at either side with 2; all have head-tracery, including
the lower lights of the centre window. All 3 windows have
coloured leaded glass. In the gable a small traceried light
with pointed head; carved stone cross on the apex above it.
Towers each have a 2-light window, a plainer version of those
in the centre; above it a round stone panel enclosing a
quatrefoil. On the inner face of each tower is a doorway with
4-centred arch; plank door with ornate iron strap-hinges.
Towers finished with heavily-moulded cornices having at each
front corner and the 2 outer rear corners (the others not
visible) a large gargoyle in the form of male and female
heads; above the cornices open traceried balustrades with
crenellated tops. Finials are plain, consisting of a base with
moulded cornice, from which rises an obelisk. Spires divided
into 6 stages by moulded stringcourses, the lowest stage with
4 lucarnes; carved finials at the top, that to right carrying
an elaborate iron cross.
On the base of the left tower is a stone plaque inscribed THE
GREAT MEETING-HOUSE WAS BUILT A.D. 1696. In a similar position
on the right tower is a plaque inscribed THIS PLACE OF WORSHIP
WAS ERECTED A.D. 1856. E. M. W. ARCH. Rear elevation, visible
from the Ropewalk, has a large 3-light traceried window in the
apse and a round traceried window at either side.
INTERIOR: pew-ends, gallery and rostrum-fronts with wood
Gothic panelling; gallery carried on triple-shafted cast-iron
columns. Organ has elaborate wooden Gothic case. Roof of main
body of chapel low-pitched with moulded beams; that of apse
has arch-traced trusses with open Gothic tracery in the
spandrels. For a brief description of the interior soon after
it was built, see The Bideford Weekly Gazette, 24.12.1861, p4.
The chapel is said to contain a clock which is a relic of the
'Great Meeting'.
White was both the architect and the builder. The chapel,
which was originally called the Lavington Chapel (after Samuel
Lavington, pastor of the Bideford 'Great Meeting', 1753-1807),
replaced the Independent Chapel of 1696 on the same site;
together with the adjacent schoolroom it was estimated to have
cost about ¯2000. Alterations, mainly a new heating system and
an enlargement of the organ gallery, were made by RT Hookway
of Bideford in 1884.
(Bideford Weekly Gazette: 1858-1884: 4.5.1858,24.4.1859; The
Great Meeting, Bideford 1648-1948: Bideford: 1948-; Billing M:
Directory of Devon: 1857-: P.326).

Listing NGR: SS4535126826

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

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