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HER Number:MDV14988
Name:Pyworthy, St. Swithun


Pre-Conquest foundation, early 14th century alterations to chancel, north and south aisles built with clerestorey, tower added circa 1400. South aisle refenestrated in 15th century, and north aisle in early 16th century. Extensively restored in 1885.


Grid Reference:SS 312 028
Map Sheet:SS30SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishPyworthy
Ecclesiastical ParishPYWORTHY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 5069
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS30SW/1
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 91967

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (XIV to XIX - 1301 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

NMR, SS30SW17 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV342531.

McCallum, D., 04/02/1994, St Swithuns Church Pyworthy (Personal Comment). SDV17386.

Tower rendered to level of buttresses, 1994, owing to very poor condition of stonework. Two putlog holes and slit opening observed prior to rendering. These are also visible from inside.

Cresswell, B. F., 1927, Devonshire Churches: The Buildings and Builders, 158 (Article in Serial). SDV124362.

Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: North Devon, 138 (Monograph). SDV336196.

St. Swithun's church, Pyworthy. Unusual in having a clerestory. Nave separated from south aisle by 14th century arcade. Original unceiled wagon-roofs. Plain octagonal font. West tower strengthened at foot by angle buttresses.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 468 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Large church for a small village. It is interesting structurally being almost entirely a rebuilding of 1300-1330. Carved bosses and wall-plates associated with 15th century. Wagon-roof.

Department of Environment, 1989, Pyworthy, 40 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV17385.

Anglican parish church. Pre-Conquest foundation, early 14th century alterations to chancel, north and south aisles built with clerestorey, south aisle refenestrated 15th century and tower added circa 1400, north aisle refenestrated early 16th century, extensive restoration of 1885 including reroofing, reseating, reflooring and many windows renewed by R. Medley Fulford of Exeter. Random rubble local stone, Hatherleigh stone dressings, slate roofs, coped verges, decorative ridge tiles. Three bay chancel, four-bay nave with north and south aisles and clerestorey, west tower, south porch. four-stage tower with angle buttresses to second stage, no parapet, small, plain pyramid finials, two-light louvred bell openings, clock, stairlight on south front, two-light window above 19th century trefoil-headed doorway approached by external flight of stairs in south-east corner, no west door or west window. Buttressed south aisle: 19th century three-light windows west gable end and to west of single storey porch, bevelled arched opening, barrel vault roof with enriched ribs restored and dated 1885, pointed arch opening, also bevelled to south aisle with 19th century door with decorative ironwork; uncusped three-light windows to left of porch, 19th century three-light window east gable end, south wall of chancel 19th century priest's door beside remains of blocked window opening, two 19th century two-light windows, 19th century four-light East window, slate tablet to Samuel Parsons died 1791 with good lettering, north wall three two-light windows, east gable end of north aisle three-light window, north wall three three-light mullioned windows under square hoodmoulds, pointed arch doorway between first and second bays west, 19th century rose window west gable end. Interior: rendered. Chancel arch chamfered in two orders and dying into imposts, double chamfered pointed arch openings to arcades with octagonal piers, clerestorey with depressed pointed arch openings, tower arch depressed pointed arch openings. Rood stair depressed segmental opening with square-headed roof loft opening above. Early 14th century piscina and sedilia in chancel extensively restored in 19th century. Roofs: chancel and nave 19th century ceiled wagon roof with enriched beams and bosses, chancel roof with angels on wallplate; open wagon roofs in aisles with remains of original enriched beams and bosses. Nineteenth century fittings including internal porch. Norman octagonal granite font on 19th century base. The church was dedicated by Bishop Grandisson of Exeter in 1334. (White's Devonshire, 1878; Kelly's Directory, 1910; J.M.Slader, The Churches of Devon, 1968) Other details: LBS 91967.

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 697-8 (Monograph). SDV325629.

Exeter Archaeology, 2003, Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Wind Turbine Site at Carn Brae, Pyworthy, Holsworthy, Devon, 89 (Report - Assessment). SDV342530.

Other details: Site 7.

Allso Yarham Associates, 22/10/1993, St Swithuns Church Pyworthy: Proposed Rendering Between Buttresses on West Face of Tower (Plan - measured). SDV358702.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV124362Article in Serial: Cresswell, B. F.. 1927. Devonshire Churches: The Buildings and Builders. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 33. Unknown. 158.
SDV17385List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1989. Pyworthy. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound. 40.
SDV17386Personal Comment: McCallum, D.. 04/02/1994. St Swithuns Church Pyworthy.
SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 468.
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 697-8.
SDV336196Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: North Devon. The Buildings of England: North Devon. Paperback Volume. 138.
SDV342530Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2003. Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Wind Turbine Site at Carn Brae, Pyworthy, Holsworthy, Devon. Exeter Archaeology Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 89.
SDV342531National Monuments Record Database: NMR. SS30SW17. NMR Index. Unknown.
SDV358702Plan - measured: Allso Yarham Associates. 22/10/1993. St Swithuns Church Pyworthy: Proposed Rendering Between Buttresses on West Face of Tower. Architect's Drawing. A1 Folded + Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Dec 7 2017 12:41PM