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HER Number:MDV1473
Name:St. Mary's Parish Church, Burlescombe


Parish church dating to the 15th century and which originally belonged to Canonsleigh Abbey.


Grid Reference:ST 076 166
Map Sheet:ST01NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBurlescombe
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBURLESCOMBE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 4925
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: ST01NE/7
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (VIII to Post Medieval - 701 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

GUIDE LEAFLET, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV42957.

Church originally in the charge of the abbess of canonsleigh abbey, earliest form probably nave + chancel only; later a s aisle was added, and in the 15th century the n aisle was built and the chancel extended eastwards. The tower was rebuilt in 1637-8. The font is octagonal, and of ham hill stone. The church is built of stone from the westleigh quarries (st01ne/32), with dressings of beer and ham hill stone (guide leaflet).

BUCKLE, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56657.

The church belonged from its foundation to canonsleigh abbey. The oldest object is the tomb on the south side of the chancel. The lower part of the tower and the sw window of the chancel date to c.1400. About 1500 the nave + chancel church was much enlarged. At the s. End of the s. Aisle is the porch - an unusual position. The e. End of the n. Aisle was the ayshford chapel. The lower part of the tower was altered in jacobean times, a tablet recording the dates 1638 and the five bells were recast in 1638 (buckle).

PSANHS 1861-2, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56658.

Field visit to church. Some features of interest mentioned (psanhs 1861-2).

ANON,PSANHS 1912, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56659.

Visit to church noted in 1912. Brief description given (anon,psanhs 1912).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56661.

Elworthy, f. T. /tda/24(1892)376/canonsleigh.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56662.

Des=chantry rolls of devon and cornwall/37/henry viii (1546).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56663.

Birch, w. G. /jbaa/28(1872)45-64/on three lists of monasteries compiled in the 13th century.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56664.

Hoskins, w. G. /devon/(1954)358.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56665.

Pevsner, n. /the buildings of england: north devon/(1952)65.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56666.

Des=guide leaflet in parish file.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56667.

Buckle et al. /psanhs/38(1892)37-39/burlescombe church.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56668.

Anon/psanhs/11(1861-1862)42/burlescombe church.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56669.

Anon/psanhs/58 part i(1912)42-47/burlescombe church.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56670.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56671.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56672.

Cherry, b. + pevsner, n. /buildings of england:devon/(1989)239.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56673.


Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV56674.

Aph=dap/ui 11-12(15/5/1991).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV177625.

Nave + 2 aisles with original wagon-roofs. Perpendicular windows and west tower. Red sandstone (pevsner).

Department of Environment, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV325908.

Listed grade i. See doe for full details (doe).

Elworthy, F. T., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV32996.

Parish church. Chantry found by prioress and convent of canonsleigh to pray for soul of aysheforde of ashforde. Dedicated to st. Mary (elworthy).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV335.

15th century, dedicated to st. Mary. N aisle known as the ayshford aisle (hoskins).

Birch, W. G., 1892, On Three Lists of Monasteries Compiled in 13th Century (Article in Serial). SDV131388.

Appears as berdlescume, on a list of monasteries compiled in the 13th century (birch).

Exeter Archaeology, 1996, Town Farm, Burlescombe proposed Quarry Extension: Archaeological Assessment and Evaluation Report, 11 (Report - Assessment). SDV338195.

Scott Wilson, 2008, Hanson Town Farm, Devon. Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment, 10 (Report - Assessment). SDV344495.

Other details: Site 10.

Brine, M. E., 2013, War Memorials (Website). SDV351333.

The Burlescombe war memorials consist of plaques within the parish church. The First World War Memorial inscription reads:
Below the Great War Memorial is fixed a small matching marble plaque commemorating the six men who died in the Second World War.

Historic England, 2018, National Heritage List for England, 1106465 (National Heritage List for England). SDV360653.

Church of St Mary the Virgin. Parish church. Whole is C15 but not all the same phase, some C16 modernisation, tower and porch refurbished in 1677. Local stone rubble with quoins of larger dressed blocks but there is also some red sandstone and purple volcanic ashlar included, particularly in the north aisle; Hamstone and Beerstone ashlar detail; concrete tile roof, formerly slate. Plan: nave and chancel under a continuous roof, north and south aisles, west tower and north porch. The original nave and chancel probably occupied tne present nave and both aisles were built full length. The north aisle still contains the remains of the Ayshford Chapel. Present chancel was built in the late C15. Exterior: west tower of 2 stages with angle and diagonal buttresses and embattled parapet. Semi-octagonal stair turret in north-west corner surmounted by wrought iron weather vane. 2-light Hamstone belfry windows have stone grilles. Good Hamstone west doorway; round-headed with moulded surround, capitals and keystone and containing the original studded oak door with ovolo-moulded coverstrips. Hamstone plaque directly above has an egg and date frame. The inscription has mostly weathered away but it contains two legible dates. The earliest 1638 accords with the known date that the bells were rehung and therefore the date of 1677 is thought to be that of the doorway. Above the plaque is a Hamstone 3-light window with Perpendicular tracery and a hoodmould with label stops carved as human heads. The south aisle overlaps the tower and at this point there is a large blocked Beerstone 2-centred arch of unknown function. Above the tiny Beerstone window is a C20 replacement. Both aisles contain Beerstone 3-light windows with Perpendicular tracery. The chancel contains Hamstone windows also with Perpendicular tracery, one on the south side is square-headed and there is also a narrow blocked priests doorway there. South aisle rood stair turret converted to a chimneystack in C19. Near the right (west) end of the north aisle is a gabled porch. The round-headed Hamstone outer arch is a simpler version of that in the tower and is probably contemporary (1677). Above, a probably C15 Beerstone niche with crocketted canopy and above that a Beerstone panel carved with sunken quartrefoils containing heraldic arms. The north doorway is a Tudor arch with moulded surround and contains C19 doors. Interior: nave and chancel have a continuous ceiled wagon-like roof, apparently C 19 with applied strips as purlins and ribs and plain block bosses. The wall plate in the chancel however is the original; carved as foliage and interrupted by a series of angels holding shields. Both aisles have C15 ceiled wagon roofs with moulded purlins and ribs and carved oak bosses; some of them have been replaced, particularly in the north aisle. The south aisle roof has a moulded wall plate but the north aisle wall plate is carved and interrupted by carved angels holding shields. Tall plain tower arch. No chancel arch. Both sides of the nave are 3-bay Beerstone arcades with moulded columns (Pevsner's type B) but the capitals and bases are different. In the C19 the rood stair was converted to a chimneystack but in the C20 the rood stair was restored to its original form with plain Beerstone doorways; it is in the south aisle. In a corresponding position in the north aisle there is a round-backed alcove. The walls are plastered. The floor is stone-flagged and includes some graveslabs in the Ayshford Chapel (north aisle). The sanctuary floor is made up of patterns of C19 encaustic tiles. The plain Beerstone piscina in the sanctuary is probably original. Sandstone reredos carved in Gothic style was erected in memory of Isabella Macritchie (died 1891). Ornately-carved C18 altar table with claw feet. C19 oak altar rail with wrought iron standards. C19 stalls in Gothic style. A part of the original oak rood screen has been set across the front of the present chancel. It is 5 bays with panelled wainscotting with square-headed windows containing slender Perpendicular tracery; it has a replacement cornice. In front of it is a rare example of a front stall, possibly contemporary with the screen; it is in the same style. The Gothic style sandstone pulpit was erected to commemorate the 1887 Jubilee. Oak C19 eagle lectern. C19 oak benches, their ends carved with blind Gothic tracery. Good C15 Hamstone font; octagonal bowl carved with sunken quatrefoils, panelled stem with corner pilasters and 2-step plinth. The Ayshford chapel altar is a good C17 table with carved bulbous legs and inlaid marquetry frieze. Monuments: in the sanctuary an undated chest tomb in memory of William Ashford (died 1508). Black marble lid and the Beerstone sides are carved as a blind crocketted arcade containing a series of angels with shields. The paint is C19 or C20. Two good C17 mural monuments in the Ayshford Chapel. Both are built of different marbles and painted. They feature carved figures kneeling each side of a prayer desk and set in ornate architectural frames surmounted by the Ayshford arms. One is in memory of Regery Ayshford (died 1610), the other in memory of Elizabeth Ayshford (died 1635). The chancel contains a C19 painted board featuring the Lords Prayer and the tower arch is flanked by C19 Commandment boards. There are also 2 bolection-framed panels which have been painted over. Most of the stained glass is C19 but some earlier glass is preserved in the tracery.
Date first listed: 5th April 1966

Sources / Further Reading

SDV131388Article in Serial: Birch, W. G.. 1892. On Three Lists of Monasteries Compiled in 13th Century. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 28. Unknown.
SDV177625Migrated Record:
SDV325908Migrated Record: Department of Environment.
SDV32996Migrated Record: Elworthy, F. T..
SDV335Migrated Record:
SDV338195Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 1996. Town Farm, Burlescombe proposed Quarry Extension: Archaeological Assessment and Evaluation Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. 96.08. A4 Stapled + Digital. 11.
SDV344495Report - Assessment: Scott Wilson. 2008. Hanson Town Farm, Devon. Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment. Scott Wilson Report. D118857. A4 Stapled + Digital. 10.
SDV351333Website: Brine, M. E.. 2013. War Memorials. http://www.devonheritage.org/WarMemorials.htm. Website.
SDV360653National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2018. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1106465.
SDV42957Migrated Record: GUIDE LEAFLET.
SDV56657Migrated Record: BUCKLE.
SDV56658Migrated Record: PSANHS 1861-2.
SDV56659Migrated Record: ANON,PSANHS 1912.
SDV56661Migrated Record:
SDV56662Migrated Record:
SDV56663Migrated Record:
SDV56664Migrated Record:
SDV56665Migrated Record:
SDV56666Migrated Record:
SDV56667Migrated Record:
SDV56668Migrated Record:
SDV56669Migrated Record:
SDV56670Migrated Record:
SDV56671Migrated Record:
SDV56672Migrated Record:
SDV56673Migrated Record:
SDV56674Aerial Photograph:

Associated Monuments

MDV1474Parent of: ROOD SCREEN in the Parish of Burlescombe (Monument)
MDV104306Parent of: War Memorials in St. Mary's Church (Monument)
MDV76492Part of: Headstone to Richard Culme in St. Marys Churchyard, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV76491Related to: Chest Tomb in Memory of Peter Wicare in St. Marys Churchyard, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV76487Related to: Chest Tomb in Memory of William Shippard, St. Marys Churchyard, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV76493Related to: Chest Tomb of Benjamin Culme in St. Marys Churchyard, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV16326Related to: COMMEMORATIVE MONUMENT in the Parish of Burlescombe (Monument)
MDV76486Related to: Gateway and Boundary Wall of St. Marys Church, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV76495Related to: Headstone to James Hewitt in St. Marys Churchyard, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV76489Related to: Headstone to John Woodbury in St. Marys Churchyard, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV76490Related to: Headstone to Nicholas Hitchcock in St. Marys Churchyard, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV76496Related to: Headstone to William Pecardy in St. Marys Churchyard, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV76488Related to: St. Marys Churchyard, Burlescombe (Monument)
MDV76497Related to: Two Adjacent Chest Tombs in St. Marys Churchyard, Burlescombe (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4635 - Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment of Hanson Town Farm, Devon

Date Last Edited:Jan 4 2018 12:24PM