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HER Number:MDV11211
Name:St Mary the Virgin Parish Church, Axminster.

Summary

Parish Church of St Mary in Axminster founded in the 10th century with a Norman doorway. The arches of the crossing are probably 13th century in date while the tower above has been dated to the 15th century.

Location

Grid Reference:SY 296 984
Map Sheet:SY29NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishAxminster
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishAXMINSTER

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 4944
  • National Monuments Record: SY29NE45
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY29NE/7
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 87656
  • Pastscape: 1024046

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (VIII to XVIII - 701 AD to 1800 AD (Between))

Full description

Unknown, Untitled Source, 17 (Un-published). SDV131260.


Swete, R. J. (Revd), 1793, 564M/9/92 (Record Office Collection). SDV348670.

Illustration.


Oliver, G., 1846, Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis, 75 (Monograph). SDV57424.


Pulman, G. P. R., 1865, The Book of the Axe, 655-75 (Monograph). SDV124122.

Detailed history of architecture and monuments.


Chanter, J. R., 1890, 2nd Report on Devon Records, 61-5 (Article in Serial). SDV131246.

Parish Church of St Mary and St John the Evangelist, Axminster. Cruciform with a central tower which was rebuilt in the 13th century. It was damaged in 1644 when the Royalists defended it against the Roundheads. The chancel is of this date, and the transepts were enlarged into aisles at a later date. The most ornately carved pulpit was once a three-decker complete with sounding-board, and was made in 1633. Sedilia in the chancel. A fine Norman doorway has been removed from another part of the church, and is now at the east end of the south aisle. It is dated 1150, and it has a chevron motif, and also the Royal arms. Chanter cites description by Powell after his visit in 1811, manuscript in British Museum.


Reichel, O. J., 1898, The Domesday Churches of Devon, 308 (Article in Serial). SDV863.

The original church of St John the Baptist is alleged to have been founded in AD927 by Athelston as a Prebendal church (citing Oliver).


Thompson, A. H., 1913, Church Architecture in Devon, 457,459,473,489 (Article in Serial). SDV15387.


Cornish, R., 1930 - 1931, Axminster Churchwardens' Accounts, 283-288,330-336,380-384 (Article in Serial). SDV131252.

Series of articles by Cornish of notes from the Churchwardens' Acounts of 1660-1802. Many references to expenses, alms, repairs and alterations to the church etc.


Wilkin, W. H., 1932 - 1933, Axminster Font and Stocks, 364-5 (Article in Serial). SDV131249.

The Font is said to be 17th century and the Parish Stocks are now in the church porch.


Rose-Troup, F., 1932 - 1933, Cynewulf and Cyneheard, 216-7 (Article in Serial). SDV131253.

The Saxon origins of the church are discussed.


Wilkin, W. H., 1934 - 1935, Prince Memorial in Axminster Church, 174 (Article in Serial). SDV131251.

There is a memorial to John Prince dated 1709.


Wilkin, W. H., 1934 - 1935, The Royal Arms in Churches, 57,59 (Article in Serial). SDV131250.

Contains example of 18th century Royal Arms, documentary evidence is given for arms being put up in 1660.


Wilkin, W. H., 1936 - 1937, Axminster Church: the dedication., 257-8 (Article in Serial). SDV131248.

The author supports the evidence of the church's true dedication being to St John the Baptist.


Wilkin, W. H., 1936 - 1937, Axminster Church: The Parvise, 312-3 (Article in Serial). SDV131254.

In the first half of the 19th century the parvise was turned into a kind of gallery.


Reichel, O. J., 1939, The Church and the Hundreds in Devon, 339 (Article in Serial). SDV15424.


Delderfield, E., 1976, Untitled Source (Article in Serial). SDV131259.


Department of Environment, 1983, Axminster, 19 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV117703.


Griffith, F. M., 1984, DAP/BX, 4-6 (Aerial Photograph). SDV131277.


Blaylock, S. R. + Simpson, S. J., 1985, A Survey of the Parapet of the North Chancel Aisle of Axminster Parish Church, 125-9 (Article in Serial). SDV131278.

Other details: Diagrams & photos.


Blaylock, S. R. + Simpson, S. J., 1985, St Mary's Church Axminster: Report on Survey of Parapet of North Chancel Aisle, 1985. (Report - Survey). SDV131275.


Blaylock, S. R. + Simpson, S. J., 1985, St Mary's Church, Axminster, 42, 45 (Article in Serial). SDV354908.

Survey of the parapet of the early 16th century north chancel aisle carried out in 1985 prior to replacement of the stonework which had become seriously decayed. The main façade of the church faces north and comprises an aisle running nearly the full length of the building with a central, two-storied porch. This is surmounted by a parapet of Ham Hill stone comprising a continuous sequence of pierced quatrefoils with central lozenges bearing foliage carving. The bay divisions and their centre points are marked by corbels bearing figure carvings. These support pinnacles, the upper parts of which were removed in the 1970s. The quatrefoils are occasinally separated by narrow blind panels with trefoil heads and shields bearing heraldic devices. The form of the parapet suggests a late medieval date. Reference is made to J. Davidson's History of Axminister Church (1835) in which he discusses the date of the parapet in relation to the heraldic devices.


Griffith, F. M., 1988, DAP/KH, 2a-4 (Aerial Photograph). SDV112469.


Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 145 (Monograph). SDV325629.


Chant, A. + Stoyle, M., 1993, Calendar of 'Stone's Cuttings', 35 (Report - non-specific). SDV131257.

In Book 14, page 65 of Henry Stone's collection of scrap-books, is a pitcure of Axminster Church.


Claydon, G., 1994, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV131279.

Other details: Notes.


Fisher, J., 1999, East Devon Conservation Area Appraisals: Axminster, 12 (Report - non-specific). SDV346144.

Much of the fabric is of 12th to 13th century origin. A Norman doorway, formerly a south doorway, has been reset in the east wall of the south chapel, and a chancel aisle was added by the Yonge family circa 1480, the north aisle circa 1530. The south aisle and clerestory windows are early 19th century additions and the north aisle roof is a facsimile of the medieval one dating from 1903.


Wessex Archaeology, 2003, Former Wilson Allen Garage Site, West Street, Axminster, 3 (Report - Watching Brief). SDV131258.

Minster church founded by the Kings of Wessex during the 7th to early 8th century. In AD755 the church is recorded as the burial place of the Saxon prince Cyneheard, at which time it was served by several priests.


Allan, J., 2005, The Ringing Chamber Floor of the Tower of St. Mary's Church, Axminster, 103-113 (Article in Serial). SDV344626.

The parish church is one of the few in Devon with a large central tower. Below the bell-chamber is the ringing chamber which stands over the arches of the crossing and reached by a spiral stair. The arches of the crossing probably date from the early 13th century while the tower above is Perpendicular in style, broadly datable to the late 14th to early 16th century. The ringing floor, which was examined in details during repairs, forms part of the second phase of the tower. Projecting courses were built into the north and south walls at the level and the walls above reduced in thickness providing ledges for the floor timbers. Dendrochronological evidence indiactes that it was probably constructed in the period 1425-57. The floor timbers are oak and all seem to have been newly prepared, there being no sign of any reused timbers. Four large beams spanning north-south provide the main structural support. They are moulded beneath and have mortice holes on the vertical faces to take the transverse floor timbers. The central square of the floor is of different construction with the joists being laid in open housings enabling this part of the floor to be dismantled easily to allow for bells to be hoisted into the tower above. Large bosses were afixed beneath at the junctions of the beams and principals. A major structural repair was undertaken in the 16th century to provide support for the southern end of the floor. Rough holes were dug into the east and west walls to take a large beam. Also, at some stage the mouldings of the principal timbers surrounding the central hatch were cut back to allow for a particularly large bell to be brought up to the bell chamber. The floor above the hatch had been renewed with 19th or 20th century timbers. See report for full details.


Bridge, M., 2005, Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers from Ringing-Chamber Floor to the Tower, Church of St Mary the Virgin, Axminster, Devon (Report - Scientific). SDV322723.

Four timbers from the main structure of the ringing-chamber floor in the tower of St Mary the Virgin parish church in Axminster had a likely felling date of AD 1425-57. A large beam against the wall of the tower which was inserted to support the floor structure had a felling date of AD1529-61.


Neophytou, M. + Goodwin, N., 2006, Archaeological Assessment of the Former Cattle Market Site, Axminster., 3 (Report - Assessment). SDV340798.

Other details: Site 10.


2006, Tree ring date lists 2006 (Article in Serial). SDV361590.

Tree-ring analysis of timbers from ringing chamber floor to the tower, Church of St Mary the Virgin, Axminster (citing M. C. Bridge, Council for Archaeology Report 53/2005. 13pp).


National Monuments Record, 2011, 1024046 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV131283.

Large parish church of Norman origins, although of the Norman period only a reset doorway survives. The piers of the crosswing and the West parts of the chancel are circa early 13th century. T he large crosswing tower was rebuilt in the 13th century and restored in 1896. North aisle and porch 1525-30, South aisle built in 1800. This is probably on the site of the earlier minster. Other details: SY29NE45. Record last updated: 1999.


Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.


English Heritage, 2011, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV347072.

Church of St. Mary. Large parish church of Norman origin, though of the Norman period only a reset doorway survives. The piers of the crossing and the west parts of the chancel are circa early 13th century. Chancel has Early English four-light east window and two-light north and south windows. Nave has 19th century square clerestory windows and five-light perpendicular early 15th century west window above the west doorway. Chancel south aisle circa 1480 with reset Norman doorway with two orders of nook shafts and zigzag in the arch. North aisle and porch of 1525-30, the aisle with quatrefoil parapet, gargoyles and three-light windows with reticulated tracery. The two-storeyed north porch has external stairs. The south aisle built in 1800 also has three-light windows with reticulated tracery. Large crossing tower rebuilt in 13th century and restored in 1896. Three stages with thin set back buttresses embattled parapet and two-light bell-openings with flat heads. Polygonal stair turret on south west corner with battlements and weathercock.
Interior: four-bay north and south arcades of early 15th century with foliated capitals, the capitals of north arcade replace in 1870 with carved angels. Early 14th century stepped group of sedilia and piscina in chancel. Squints through crossing piers. Two 13th century stone effigies in niches in north and south walls of chancel. Other monuments of circa 1800 by Gibbs of Axminster and Crane of London. Late 15th century timber screen to chancel north chapel. Rebuilt reading desk and octagonal pulpit of 1633. Jacobean carved panels reworked into chair stall. Brass candelabra of 1750. Board of charities with entablature and pediment. 19th century pews. Plastered segmental vaulted nave roof. Moulded timber chancel and aisle roofs. Date listed: 11th August 1950.


Smalley, R., 2013, Geophysical Survey Report: St Mary’s Church, Axminster (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV355715.

The geophysical survey undertaken at St Mary’s Church, Axminster has identified a number of anomalies beneath the floor level. Four features have been interpreted as inhumations and a number of areas of discrete anomalies which may be related to buried objects or inhumations. An area of complexity suggests the presence of disturbed ground possibly relating to buried structural debris in the Nave. The majority of features of interest have been identified in the Nave and in the Northern
and Southern Aisles.


Historic England, 2015-2016, NRHE to HER prototype (Website). SDV359652.


Historic England, 2015-2016, NRHE to HER prototype, 468051 (Website). SDV359652.

System_UID NBR Index Number 86883 HE NRHE Monument Inventory
System_UID Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid 87656 HE NRHE Monument Inventory
System_UID Unified Designation System UID 1333520 HE NRHE Monument Inventory
System_UID AREA STATUS LISTED BUILDING GRADE II* HE Ref Data

Summary description
Large parish church of Norman origins, although of the Norman period only a reset doorway survives. The piers of the crosswing and the West parts of the chancel are circa early 13th century. The large crosswing tower was rebuilt in the 13th century and restored in 1896. North aisle and porch 1525-30, South aisle built in 1800. This is probably on the site of the earlier minster (SY29NE20).

Full description
(SY 2963 2549) Ch [NAT]. (1)
Church of St mary. Large parish church of Norman origins, although of the Norman period only a reset doorway survives. The piers of the crosswing and the West parts of the chancel are ca early C13th. The large crosswing tower was rebuilt in the C13th and restored in 1896. North aisle and porch 1525-30, South aisle built in 1800. Grade II. (2-3)

Sources
1 VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION OS 1:10560, 1963.
2 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest DOE (HHR) District of East Devon, Jun 1983 19.
3 VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION Cherry B and Pevsner N (1989) Buildings of England: Devon. London: Penguin 145.

Monument types, periods and evidence
PARISH CHURCH Norman origins 1066 MEDIEVAL 1170 MEDIEVAL EXTANT BUILDING
PARISH CHURCH Remodelled 1200 MEDIEVAL 1299 MEDIEVAL EXTANT BUILDING
PARISH CHURCH Altered 1525 MEDIEVAL 1530 MEDIEVAL EXTANT BUILDING
PARISH CHURCH Restored 1800 POST MEDIEVAL 1800 POST MEDIEVAL EXTANT BUILDING
PARISH CHURCH Restored 1896 POST MEDIEVAL 1896 POST MEDIEVAL EXTANT BUILDING

Related monuments
is associated with 449574

Related events
None recorded

Related archives/objects
is related to BF086883 ST MARY'S CHURCH, TRINITY SQUARE, AXMINSTER

Actors
Compiler ROD FITZGERALD HE NRHE Monument Inventory 06-01-1992 06-01-1992

Metadata
When created: prior to 01-APR-1999
Created by Inventory

Sources / Further Reading

SDV112469Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. DAP/KH. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2a-4.
SDV117703List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1983. Axminster. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 19.
SDV124122Monograph: Pulman, G. P. R.. 1865. The Book of the Axe. The Book of the Axe. Unknown. 655-75.
SDV131246Article in Serial: Chanter, J. R.. 1890. 2nd Report on Devon Records. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 22. A5 Hardback. 61-5.
SDV131248Article in Serial: Wilkin, W. H.. 1936 - 1937. Axminster Church: the dedication.. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 19. Unknown. 257-8.
SDV131249Article in Serial: Wilkin, W. H.. 1932 - 1933. Axminster Font and Stocks. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 17. Unknown. 364-5.
SDV131250Article in Serial: Wilkin, W. H.. 1934 - 1935. The Royal Arms in Churches. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 18. Unknown. 57,59.
SDV131251Article in Serial: Wilkin, W. H.. 1934 - 1935. Prince Memorial in Axminster Church. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 18. Unknown. 174.
SDV131252Article in Serial: Cornish, R.. 1930 - 1931. Axminster Churchwardens' Accounts. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 16. Unknown. 283-288,330-336,380-384.
SDV131253Article in Serial: Rose-Troup, F.. 1932 - 1933. Cynewulf and Cyneheard. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 17. Unknown. 216-7.
SDV131254Article in Serial: Wilkin, W. H.. 1936 - 1937. Axminster Church: The Parvise. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. Unknown. 312-3.
SDV131257Report - non-specific: Chant, A. + Stoyle, M.. 1993. Calendar of 'Stone's Cuttings'. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 93.54. A4 Stapled. 35.
SDV131258Report - Watching Brief: Wessex Archaeology. 2003. Former Wilson Allen Garage Site, West Street, Axminster. Wessex Archaeology Report. 54291.01. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3.
SDV131259Article in Serial: Delderfield, E.. 1976. Express & Echo. Newspaper/Magazine Cuttin.
SDV131260Un-published: Unknown. Scrapbook. Volume 6. A3 Stapled. 17.
SDV131275Report - Survey: Blaylock, S. R. + Simpson, S. J.. 1985. St Mary's Church Axminster: Report on Survey of Parapet of North Chancel Aisle, 1985.. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. Occasional Paper. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV131277Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1984. DAP/BX. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4-6.
SDV131278Article in Serial: Blaylock, S. R. + Simpson, S. J.. 1985. A Survey of the Parapet of the North Chancel Aisle of Axminster Parish Church. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 43. Paperback Volume. 125-9.
SDV131279Personal Comment: Claydon, G.. 1994. Not Applicable.
SDV131283National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2011. 1024046. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV15387Article in Serial: Thompson, A. H.. 1913. Church Architecture in Devon. Archaeological Journal. 70. Unknown. 457,459,473,489.
SDV15424Article in Serial: Reichel, O. J.. 1939. The Church and the Hundreds in Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 71. A5 Paperback. 339.
SDV322723Report - Scientific: Bridge, M.. 2005. Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers from Ringing-Chamber Floor to the Tower, Church of St Mary the Virgin, Axminster, Devon. English Heritage Centre for Archaeology Report. 53/2005. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 145.
SDV340798Report - Assessment: Neophytou, M. + Goodwin, N.. 2006. Archaeological Assessment of the Former Cattle Market Site, Axminster.. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.71. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3.
SDV344626Article in Serial: Allan, J.. 2005. The Ringing Chamber Floor of the Tower of St. Mary's Church, Axminster. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 63. Paperback Volume. 103-113.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #71556 ]
SDV346144Report - non-specific: Fisher, J.. 1999. East Devon Conservation Area Appraisals: Axminster. East Devon District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 12.
SDV347072National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2011. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV348670Record Office Collection: Swete, R. J. (Revd). 1793. 564M/9/92. Manuscript.
SDV354908Article in Serial: Blaylock, S. R. + Simpson, S. J.. 1985. St Mary's Church, Axminster. Exeter Archaeology 1984/5. A4 Stapled + Digital. 42, 45.
SDV355715Report - Geophysical Survey: Smalley, R.. 2013. Geophysical Survey Report: St Mary’s Church, Axminster. Stratascan Report. J3308. Digital.
SDV359652Website: Historic England. 2015-2016. NRHE to HER prototype. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/home. Website. 468051.
SDV361590Article in Serial: 2006. Tree ring date lists 2006. Vernacular Architecture. 37. Unknown.
SDV57424Monograph: Oliver, G.. 1846. Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis. Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis. Unknown. 75.
SDV863Article in Serial: Reichel, O. J.. 1898. The Domesday Churches of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 30. A5 Paperback. 308.

Associated Monuments

MDV11212Parent of: Bells in St Mary the Virgin Parish Church, Axminster (Find Spot)
MDV11213Parent of: Drake Memorial, St Mary the Virgin Parish Church, Axminster (Monument)
MDV11214Parent of: Rood Screen, St Mary the Virgin Parish Church, Axminster. (Monument)
MDV81787Parent of: War Memorial Board in St Mary's Church (Building)
MDV71633Related to: Chest Tomb in St Mary the Virgin Parish Churchyard, Axminster (Building)
MDV11215Related to: Roman Coins from St Mary the Virgin Parish Church, Axminster (Find Spot)
MDV45752Related to: Saxon Minster Church, Axminster. (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV2173 - Report on Survey of Parapet of the North Chancel Aisle of Axminster Parish Church.
  • EDV2174 - Devon Aerial Reconnaissance
  • EDV2175 - Devon Aerial Reconnaissance Project
  • EDV2176 - Tree-ring Analysis of Timbers from Ringing Chamber Floor to the Tower, Church of St Mary the Virgin, Axminster
  • EDV4412 - Assessment of Former Cattle Market, Axminster
  • EDV4718 - Recording of the Ringing Chamber Floor, Axminster Parish Church
  • EDV6366 - Geophysical Survey of St Mary's Church, Axminster (Ref: J3308)
  • EDV2172 - Watching Brief at the Wilson Allen Garage Site, West Street, Axminser.

Date Last Edited:Jul 19 2018 4:10PM