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HER Number:MDV15168
Name:St. James Church, Teignmouth


St. James Parish Church was originally built in the mid 13th century but it was rebuilt 1821, and restored 1890. The tower is the only part of the original building still standing.


Grid Reference:SX 939 730
Map Sheet:SX97SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTeignmouth
Ecclesiastical ParishWEST TEIGNMOUTH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 5005
  • National Monuments Record: 447778
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX97SW/75
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 461123

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Lake, W. C., 1890, Notes on the Origin of the Streets of Teignmouth, and on their Nomenclature, 382 (Article in Serial). SDV291838.

The Church of St James-the-Less, West Teignmouth. Was cruciform, of early Perpendicular date. Original tower and reredos remain.

Jordan, M.I., 1904, West Teignmouth Church, 265-277 (Article in Serial). SDV350572.

The old West Teignmouth church was a very ancient structure of solid stone, covered with slate. Cruciform. The tower is the only part of the original building still standing. It has four bells. Church has a sculptured altar piece. The screens were removed circa 1757 to make the church lighter. There is an inscribed tombstone dated 1504.

Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: South Devon, 280-1 (Monograph). SDV336217.

Unbuttressed tower with Norman windows. An octagon added with large windows.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 492 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Rebuilt about 1820, except for medieval tower. Slender cast-iron pillars support a vaulted roof.

Bulley, J.A., 1956, Teignmouth as a Seaside Resort, 52 (Article in Serial). SDV350516.

Old church pulled down in 1819 and new church consecrated in 1821.

Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft, 184 (Report - Survey). SDV341346.

The church, as the southern end of Exeter Street, stands within a small churchyard that is well-buttressed above modern street levels. Only the Norman west tower excaped the reconstruction of the building in 1820.

Department of Environment, 1983, Teignmouth, 19 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV338952.

1268, 1821 and 1890s. Tower of original medieval church remains and is considered to be the earliest building in Teignmouth. Square red sandstone tower in three stages with slit windows and buttresses. The rest of the medieval building was pulled down and rebuilt in 1821 by Andrew Patey of Exeter in Commissioners' Gothic style. It is breached through the tower and a short passage. Octagonal in shape built of sandstone random rubble with octagonal buttresses. Crenellated parapet. Central crenellated octagonal lantern. The interior has a vaulted plaster ceiling supported on eight slender cast iron columns, and organ loft supported on two columns. Originally there were galleries all round. The stone alterpiece is the original 1821 design but the pulpit and font are of the 1890's remodelling. 18th century wall tablets from the earlier church.

Pearson, A., 1985, Visitor's Guide to Teignmouth, South Devon, 91 (Monograph). SDV300876.

The tower, dating from 1268, is the oldest building in town. It was repointed in the 1970s. Human remains found behind a block during restoration may have been disturbed from an earlier Saxon burial during construction of foundations.

Wilson, V., 1994, Teignmouth Historic Walkabout (Pamphlet). SDV354751.

The unusual octagonal part of the building dates from 1819, the tower is 13th century. The marine artist Thomas Luny is buried in the churchyard.

Devon County Council + Teignbridge District Council, 1994, Teignmouth Townscape Assessment, 7, 8 (Report - Assessment). SDV351926.

Exeter Archaeology, 2004, Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Fire Station on Land off the A379 Teignmouth, Devon (Report - Assessment). SDV361709.

Dedicated to St James, the church is said to have been consecrated in 1268 and the tower is believed to have been part of the town's defences. The body of the church was rebuilt in 1820 by Andrew Patey on the model of Ely Cathedral, and restored in 1890 and again in 1953 after bomb damage to the east end. The gates and walls are Listed Grade II.

Fletcher, M., 2011, Archaeological Monitoring of the Project to Install New Facilities at St James Parish Church, Teignmouth, Devon (Report - Watching Brief). SDV347917.

The excavation revealed that the sub-floor of the passage that links the 19th century nave and the 13th century tower had been extensively disturbed and dug over in the past with a thick layer of crushed material inserted under the slab floor. There were no finds. The external trench exposed no features of archaeological significance; the loose fill indicates extensive disturbance.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

English Heritage, 2012, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV348729.

Church of St James (Parish Church of West Teignmouth)
Parish Church. Mid 13th century, rebuilt 1821, restored 1890 by WH Lloyd of Birmingham, and 1953 after second World War bombing of the east end. 1821 church designed in Picturesque Gothic style by WE Rolfe of London, built by Andrew Patey of Exeter.
Materials: red sandstone rubble 13th century tower, strap-pointed squared grey Plymouth stone with cream limestone and rendered dressings to the rest.
Plan: square-plan tower, octagonal plan nave of 1821 connected to the tower by a short two-storey passage.
Exterior: the three-stage tower, restored 1929, approximately 10 metres square at the base, has a moulded pointed arch to the planked west door, a high rendered plinth, two wide buttresses up to the first stage of the east front and one to the south corner, and the parapet all probably 1929. The second-stage has one lancet window and a wider belfry opening above, the top of which is partly covered by an 1896 open wrought-iron clock face; the second stage of the left return has a segmental arch to a blind window and a similar clockface; the right return has a 20th century leaded lancet window to the base, a blocked window with limestone jambs to the second stage and a similar clock face over a louvred lancet opening to the third stage. The octagonal nave to the rear of the tower has a rendered castellated parapet and octagonal buttresses to each angle. Tall pointed-arched leaded windows of pale green glass have hollow-moulded mullions and some transoms to two and three-light windows with intersecting tracery. The nave is crowned by a central octagonal slate-hung lantern with a castellated parapet and wide pointed-arched windows with lace-like tracery. The late 19th century vestry to the south-east angle is more traditional in style. Plymouth stone with freestone parapet, heavy sill string course and architraves. Four granite steps up to a central planked door in a chamfered architrave with roll-moulding and curved upper corners flanked by cinquefoil-headed two-light windows, one to the left, paired to the right. The late 19th century south porch in the style of the 1821 building, though smaller in scale, has a door in the left return of two rows of three trefoil-headed panels.
Interior: remodelled and re-pewed in 1890 when the gallery, except for that at the east end, was removed. The roof is exceptional; supported by a circle of eight ribbed cast-iron columns approximately 10 metres high, cast-iron rib vaults fan out from each to form an umbrella-like strucure. The central lantern has similar vaulting; eight panels below the windows each have paired hemi-spherical-arched niches with trefoil heads flanked by moulded panels. The walls of the tower are approximately 1.5 metres thick at the base.
Fittings: include a massive medieval 6.7 metres high oak ladder to the north-west corner of the tower up to the belfry, with stiles of pit-sawn wych-elm 0.26 metres by 0.13 metres and oak rungs 0.11 metres by 0.05 metres; the central panels of the 14th century Decorated-style Massy stone reredos are flanked by 19th century panels dating from 1891 restoration. Font, pulpit, organ, bells, hatchments etc are 19th or 20th century.

Pink, F., 2014-2015, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment (Interpretation). SDV357736.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 492.
SDV291838Article in Serial: Lake, W. C.. 1890. Notes on the Origin of the Streets of Teignmouth, and on their Nomenclature. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 22. A5 Hardback. 382.
SDV300876Monograph: Pearson, A.. 1985. Visitor's Guide to Teignmouth, South Devon. Visitor's Guide to Teignmouth, South Devon. A5 Paperback. 91.
SDV336217Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: South Devon. The Buildings of England: South Devon. Paperback Volume. 280-1.
SDV338952List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1983. Teignmouth. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 19.
SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital. 184.
SDV347917Report - Watching Brief: Fletcher, M.. 2011. Archaeological Monitoring of the Project to Install New Facilities at St James Parish Church, Teignmouth, Devon. Martin Fletcher Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #81470 ]
SDV348729National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2012. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV350516Article in Serial: Bulley, J.A.. 1956. Teignmouth as a Seaside Resort. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 88. A5 Hardback. 52.
SDV350572Article in Serial: Jordan, M.I.. 1904. West Teignmouth Church. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 36. A5 Hardback. 265-277.
SDV351926Report - Assessment: Devon County Council + Teignbridge District Council. 1994. Teignmouth Townscape Assessment. Devon County Council + Teignbridge District Council. A4 Unbound + Digital. 7, 8.
SDV354751Pamphlet: Wilson, V.. 1994. Teignmouth Historic Walkabout. Leaflet.
SDV357736Interpretation: Pink, F.. 2014-2015. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV361709Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2004. Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Fire Station on Land off the A379 Teignmouth, Devon. Exeter Archaeology. 04.23. A4 Stapled + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV84674Related to: Churchyard Gates, Gate Piers and Walls to St James Church (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV5367 - Archaeological Monitoring at St James Parish Church

Date Last Edited:Aug 23 2018 2:36PM