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HER Number:MDV1223
Name:Bickleigh Castle Chapel


A private chapel, the earliest parts of which probably date from the 12th century. A cross stands on the gable end of the chapel.


Grid Reference:SS 936 068
Map Sheet:SS90NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBickleigh (MD)
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBICKLEIGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS90NW/11
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 96623
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CROSS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))
  • CHAPEL (XII to XV - 1101 AD to 1500 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, SS90NW2 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV351671.

Good south door, old wagon roof. Chapel reconstituted, refurbished and rededicated first half 20th century.

Radford, C. + Radford, C. A. R., 1927, Sixth report on ancient monuments, 67 (Article in Serial). SDV342059.

Bickleigh Court. Dr. Sawden of Bickleigh Court has cleared out and restored the Norman chapel standing between the gate house and the river, the south door is a good specimen of 12th century work in local stone and there is a small window with an external rebate for the shutter in the south wall of the chancel. The narrow east window is preserved. The roof of the chancel retains its medieval woodwork. During the excavation of the floor some fragments of 15th century alabaster, probably the remains of a reredos, were discovered.

Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: South Devon, 50 (Monograph). SDV336217.

Architectural drawings of the chapel made by A. W. Everett in 1959 are in the Devon Record Office. A Norman chapel of nave and chancel outside the gatehouse of the castle. Chancel roof etc 15th century.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 334 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Everett, A. W., 1959, 3116Z/3 (Record Office Collection). SDV351674.

Department of Environment, 1959, Tiverton RD, 4 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV54004.

A small 12th century with 15th century alterations.

Higham, R. A., 1979, The Castles of Medieval Devon, 161-163 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV336189.

Chapel stands in a detached enclosure immediately outside the castle enclosure to the east.

Department of Environment, 1987, Bickleigh, 5 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV351679.

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 170-172 (Monograph). SDV325629.

Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P., 1996, Devon Castles (Draft Text), Gazetteer (Monograph). SDV354350.

Reed, S. J., 2000, Archaeological Assessment of SWW Butterleigh to Bickleigh Water Main Rehabilitation Phase 1, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV336288.

Watson, A., 2007-2017?, Devon Crosses, 27, (Vol 1) sketch, photograph (Un-published). SDV360833.

Bickleigh Chapel SS936068
A cross stands on the gable end of the 12th century thatched chapel, east of Bickleigh Castle (across the road). The chapel stands inside a cob walled enclosure, it is thought to have belonged to a 12th century manor house, of which there is no trace. A cross of square section, set in weather-worn socket stone; it appears to be ancient.
Colour photograph of the cross (un-dated) included with report.

Waterhouse, R. E., 2009, Report on Visit to Bickleigh Castle, Bickleigh (Site Visit). SDV359732.

Period 1 c.1150-120
Primary build of chapel appears to date from this period, with basic two-cell plan, built from Posbury stone ashlar. Several unglazed single light windows and south doorway survive from original fabric.

Chapel re-used as cattle shelter with adjoining courtyar in the 19th century.

Partial restoration of chapel before 1883.

Side walls of nave in chapel may have been damaged during the Civil War of 1642-46 and nave roof lost.

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

English Heritage, 2013, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV350785.

Bickleigh Castle chapel - including walls to enclosure to south and west. Private chapel. Nave and chancel fabric probably C12; chancel roof C15, restoration of 1929, further restoration, including re-roofing the nave, in 1970. Local volcanic rubble with volcanic dressings; thatched roof, gabled at east and west ends. Plan: nave and chancel with an entrance on the south side of the nave. The chancel retains Romanesque windows, the nave has circa late C15 Perpendicular style windows, which may be co-eval with the chancel roof. For a period prior to 1929 the building was in use as a cattle shed and the west end gallery may derive from a fodder loft added for agricultural purposes. The chapel was restored in 1970 including replacing the nave roof with a copy of the plain collar rafter roof trusses which may themselves have replaced a more elaborate late medieval roof. There is evidence of patching on the north side masonry and the ashlar north and south west corners indicate rebuilding. A plinth on the south side of the nave returns round the west end, suggesting that there may have been some reconstruction of the south wall although the date at which this took place is uncertain. The chancel has a very narrow round-headed C12 slit east window, deeply splayed to the interior, and a shorter, wider round-headed 1-light C12 window on the south side. The north side of the nave has a 3-light Perpendicular window inserted in C20 with cinquefoil-headed lights and a square-headed hoodmould; 2 similar 2-light west window. The narrow C12 south doorway has an outer and inner round-headed arch with a continuous hoodmould. Interior Whitewashed walls with exposed stone dressings; chancel arch formed by junction of nave and chancel roof; stone floor; west end gallery with ladder access largely 1971 but retaining 1 roughly chamfered cross beam. C15 unceiled waggon roof to chancel with moulded ribs and carved bosses. Utilitarian collar rafter nave roof, a 1971 copy of the previous roof structure with pegged trusses. Font with splayed octagonal bowl with a brattished moulding on a plain octagonal stem, stem and bowl not necessarily co-eval. The chancel has an ogee-arched aumbry with blind tracery. The narrow east window is filled with a stained glass vine trail; the south window in the chancel with a Virgin and Child in the C14 manner. Furnishings, introduced from elsewhere, include a probably C16 carved chest with panels of blind flamboyant tracery used as an altar; re-used bench ends, 1 with poppyhead finials and carved arm rests; a C17 lectern with traces of ancient colour on the barleysugar stem andCl7 folding chairs. Loose fragments of high quality alabaster were found when the chapel floor was excavated this century. Cob and stone rubble walls form an enclosure to the south and west of the chapel and are important to its setting. A rare example of a circa C12 private chapel forming a group with Bickleigh Castle.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 334.
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 170-172.
SDV336189Post-Graduate Thesis: Higham, R. A.. 1979. The Castles of Medieval Devon. University of Exeter Thesis. Unknown. 161-163.
SDV336217Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: South Devon. The Buildings of England: South Devon. Paperback Volume. 50.
SDV336288Report - Assessment: Reed, S. J.. 2000. Archaeological Assessment of SWW Butterleigh to Bickleigh Water Main Rehabilitation Phase 1. Exeter Archaeology Report. 00.53. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV342059Article in Serial: Radford, C. + Radford, C. A. R.. 1927. Sixth report on ancient monuments. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 59. A5 Hardback. 67.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #80439 ]
SDV350785National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2013. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV351671Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. SS90NW2. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV351674Record Office Collection: Everett, A. W.. 1959. 3116Z/3. Devon Record Office Collection.
SDV351679List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Bickleigh. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 5.
SDV354350Monograph: Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P.. 1996. Devon Castles (Draft Text). Devon Castles. A4 Unbound + Digital. Gazetteer.
SDV359732Site Visit: Waterhouse, R. E.. 2009. Report on Visit to Bickleigh Castle, Bickleigh. Digital.
SDV360833Un-published: Watson, A.. 2007-2017?. Devon Crosses. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. 27, (Vol 1) sketch, photograph.
SDV54004List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1959. Tiverton RD. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 4.

Associated Monuments

MDV1202Related to: Bickleigh Castle, Bickleigh (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7047 - Site Visit, Bickleigh Castle, Bickleigh, Mid Devon

Date Last Edited:Apr 9 2020 4:22PM