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HER Number:MDV1274
Name:St Thomas of Canterbury, Thorverton


Church dating to the 15th century or earlier but which underwent major restorations and rebuilding during the course of the 19th century.


Grid Reference:SS 924 021
Map Sheet:SS90SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishThorverton
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTHORVERTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 4896
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS90SW/35
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 439080

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (XIII to XIX - 1201 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

J.B., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV41497.

The symbolism on the central boss in the church porch is discussed (j. B. ).

Uglow, J., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV43389.

A reference in arch. J. Corrects oman's article: the lectern is iron and is an 18th/19th century casting (uglow).

OMAN, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV44047.

Brass lectern type "a". Four lions around the base facing right. Probably late xv century (oman).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV44051.

Oman, c. C. /arch. J. /87(1930)127.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV44052.

J. B. /dcnq/26(195-1955)88/thorverton church porch.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV44053.

Hoskins, w. G. /devon/(1954)494.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV44054.

Uglow, j. /pers. Comm june 1983.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV44055.

Anon/arch. J. /88(1931)227.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV44056.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV44057.

Cherry, b. + pevsner, n. /buildings of england:devon/(1989)803.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV44058.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV335.

Parish church. St. Thomas becket. Late 15th century, rebuilt 16th, restored 1834, when nave rebuilt (hoskins).

Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

Marked as St Thomas a Becket's Church.

Historic England, 2018, National Heritage List for England, 1240595 (National Heritage List for England). SDV360653.

Church of St Thomas of Canterbury. Parish Church. West tower probably C15 (although a C13 date has been suggested) C15 porch; major rebuilding of 1834-40 (architect unknown to date); reseating of 1840 by John Hayward of Exeter (contemporary with his building of the new vicarage); restoration of 1864 initiated by Archdeacon Freeman including pulpit, reseating and north transept; vestry rebuilt 1884 ; tower restored 1905; further restorations 1953- 55 and 1971-72. Dressed local volcanic stone, brought to course; dressings mostly Bathstone; slate roof. Plan and Development: Present plan of west tower, nave, north and south aisles, shallow chancel, north transept, north-west vestry, south porch. Perpendicular style details but, with the exception of the tower and south porch, thoroughly rebuilt 1834-40 with the walls heightened and the nave and aisles re-roofed under one span with embattled parapets. This early restoration programme is of considerable historic and architectural interest, preceding the fully developed Gothic Revival in the County. In 1864 the north transept was built, the late C18 west end gallery removed and the interior re-fitted with high quality furnishings. Subsequent restorations have had a less dramatic impact on the building. Exterior : Early C19 proportions to nave and chancel. The shallow chancel with diagonal buttresses has a pediment-like gable crowned with a cross and pierced with a tranceried roundel; 5-light transomed mullioned Perpendicular style east window with a king mullion and hoodmould with carved animal label stops. Embattled lean-to north and south aisle roofs, the south aisle with diagonal buttresses and buttresses with set-offs and pinnacles between the bays. 3-light C19 Perpendicular style south windows; similar 3-light east window; 2-light west window; similar north aisle with 3-light west window; battlemented north transept of 1864 of snecked local volcanic stone with Perpendicular style windows with carved label stops, east and west windows 2-light, north window 4-light. Flat-roofed north-west vestry, rebuilt in 1884, with buttresses, an ogival west doorway and a 1-light cusped west window. 3-stage battlemented west tower without pinnacles; diagonal buttresses, those on the north and south faces taller than those on the west face. Chamfered moulded arched volcanic west doorway below 3-light Perpendicular style west window, the jambs probably medieval the tracery replaced, hoodmould and carved label stops. 2-light belfry openings on west, north and south faces; 2-light opening at bellringers' stage on south face. Projecting C15 2-stage 3-sided stair turret on north face with coped roof. Fine 2-storey battlemented south porch with set back buttresses and a north west stair turret. 2-light first floor square headed west window with arched hights and hollow-chamfered mullions. C19 Bathstone round-headed moulded outer doorway with big cushion stops. The interior of the porch is of particular interest with a stone-vaulted Beerstone roof with some local volcanic infill and fine carved bosses and corbels. The central boss probably depicts the Trinity and is similar to the porch boss at Sidbury church, the subsidiary bosses depict the 4 evangelists and Latin Fathers of the church. Moulded stopped inner doorway ; 1884 commemorative tiling on floor. Coleridge family memorials at east end of south aisle. Interior : Good proportions dating from the rebuilding of 1834-40; high quality fittings. Plastered walls; no chancel arch; plain tower arch springing from chamfered imposts. Tall 6-bay north and south arcades, 2 bays to the chancel, rebuilt and raised but preserving some medieval capitals. The piers have corner shafts and support moulded Tudor arches. The 2 westernmost capitals have traces of ancient paint. Plain plastered wagon roofs, the aisle roofs keeled. Wide depressed north arch into transpet springing from clustered demi-shafts with foliage carving on the capitals and in the spandrels. Arched brace transept roof, boarded behind, the principal rafters springing from Angel corbels carrying symbols of the Beatitudes. Fittings : The chancel has good fittings of the early C19 restoration : a circa 1840 stone arcaded reredos, brattished and flanked by painted stone communion tablets in ogee-headed stone frames with pinnacles ; a co-eval east window with stained glass by Beer of Exeter and altar rails and credence table. The choir stalls date from 1864-66 by Messrs. Rattee and Kett of Cambridge with poppy head finials and carved figures ; fine gilt memorial corona by Skidmore to John Duke Coleridge, incumbent 1834-58; eagle lectern of 1843 in brozed iron by W and J Cooper of Kings Lynn, a copy of the lectern in Kings Lynn Church. 1864-6 high quality polygonal stone pulpit with Early English blind arcading and stepped buttresses on angel corbels. The nave has 1864-6 poppyhead bench ends with open traceried panels, the aisle bench ends are plainer. The front has a medieval octagonal bowl on shafts with a plinth. C15 doorway to room over porch with rounded arch, rebated for a door. Lady Chapel refurbished 1971-72 ; 4 medieval bench ends; corona commemorating Archdeacon Freeman, incumbent 1856-75, by Willy of Exeter. Early C20 Lady Chapel screen originally in St Edmund's Exeter. There is said to be a particularly interesting carillon of C16 or C17 dates, recently repaired and put into working order.
Date first listed: 5th April 1966

Sources / Further Reading

SDV335Migrated Record:
SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #80628 ]
SDV360653National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2018. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1240595.
SDV41497Migrated Record: J.B..
SDV43389Migrated Record: Uglow, J..
SDV44047Migrated Record: OMAN.
SDV44051Migrated Record:
SDV44052Migrated Record:
SDV44053Migrated Record:
SDV44054Migrated Record:
SDV44055Migrated Record:
SDV44056Migrated Record:
SDV44057Migrated Record:
SDV44058Migrated Record:

Associated Monuments

MDV87732Parent of: Thorverton Roll of Honour Frame, St Thomas a Becket Church (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Apr 7 2021 3:13PM