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HER Number:MDV15638
Name:St Clement's Church, Townstal, Dartmouth


St Clement parish church, early 14th century with later additions and 19th century restoration.


Grid Reference:SX 869 514
Map Sheet:SX85SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishDartmouth
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishTOWNSTAL

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 5175
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX85SE/52
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 387197

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (Built, XIV - 1301 AD to 1400 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'St Mary Magdalene's Church' shown.

Watkin, H. R., 1911, The foundation and early history of Dartmouth and Kingswear churches, 149-53 (Article in Serial). SDV172950.

Church of St Clement in Townstal. Oldest ecclesiastical foundation in the district. Probably of Saxon origin though it is unrecorded in the Domesday manor of Dunestal. Evidence suggests Saxon place of worship having originally been placed on Townstall Hill. Present building possibly dates from 11th century, certainly from the 12th century. Dr Oliver gives dedication to St Mary Magdalene. Reclining effigy in Purbeck stone of founder's wife.

Thompson, A. H., 1913, Church Architecture in Devon, 459,464 (Article in Serial). SDV15387.

Chanter, J. F., 1927, Sixteenth Report on Church Plate, 96 (Article in Serial). SDV239594.

Church Plate at Townstal in Dartmouth included two chalices, two patens, a flagon, an alms dish and a posset cup.

Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: South Devon, 112-3 (Monograph). SDV336217.

St. Clement's is the parish church of Dartmouth.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 386 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Hoskins describes St Clement's as Dartmouth's mother church. Building over restored in 19th century. Mainly 14th century in date (a dedication date of 1318) with trace of Norman work.

Department of Environment, 1972, Dartmouth, 1 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV155627.

The original parish church. Dedicated 1316. Cruciform, with long transepts and one aisle. Restored 1884-5 and also probably earlier. Font, altar table, monuments.

Devon Religious Houses Survey, 1986, Photos taken on DRHS including Townstal Church (Ground Photograph). SDV358625.

Griffith, F. M., 1988, DAP/JO, 2 (Aerial Photograph). SDV177387.

Weddell, P. J. + Turton, S. D., 1992, Preliminary Archaeological Assessment of Dartmouth Sewage Treatment Works, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV176861.

McConnell, R., 2006, Part of former Heliport site, Townstal Road, Dartmouth: an archaeological desk-based assessment, 4 (Report - Assessment). SDV337976.

St Clements may incorporate traces of 11th century architecture.

Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

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

Parish Church. Norman font, basically early 14th century with 15th century or early 16th century tower, restored 1881-5 by Ashford. Local stone rubble with red sandstone, different cream-coloured freestones, and granite dressings; slate roof with pierced crested ridge tiles. Plan: Nave with north aisle, lower chancel, transepts and west tower. Small 19th century vestry to north of the chancel. Exterior: Tall west tower making decorative use of different-coloured stone dressings: 2 stages with diagonal buttresses rising above the embattled parapet to crocketed finials and, on south side, semi-octagonal stair turret; single and double lancets to the belfry; west doorway a red sandstone 2-centred arch containing a 19th century studded plank door with massive wrought-iron strap hinges (similar doors elsewhere); directly above a granite 4-light window with Perpendicular tracery and plain hoodmould; plaque high on south side commemorating the church wardens of 1700. South side of the nave contains an inserted 19th century three-light window with intersecting Y-tracery with hoodmould and uncarved block label stops. 19th century south porch to right: gabled with 2-centred outer arch, double chamfered, and door contains an ornamental cast-iron grille; gable, like all the others, with coping and apex cross. Other windows are 19th century replacements, Decorated tracery in the transept windows, and Early English tracery to the 2 windows on the south side of the chancel (with leafy capitals and nailhead ornament), east end has a 3-light window with ogival Perpendicular tracery in the blocking of a much larger window (some of the moulded jambs are exposed inside), and triple lancet in east side of the north transept. 19th century gabled vestry in Early English style. 3-bay north side of aisle divided by buttresses; windows with Perpendicular tracery and central doorway, a late 15th or 16th century granite Tudor arch with carved spandrels. 19th century cast-iron rainwater goods around the church. Interior: The nave, aisle and transepts have 19th century open wagon roofs with carved bosses. Ceiled wagon roof in the chancel with smaller carved bosses is probably earlier. Tall plain tower arch with imposts and plain chancel arch. Early 14th century three-bay arcade (including north transept) has octagonal piers with concave sides, shafts in the diagonals, and moulded capitals, shallow chamfers to the arches; similar to south transept. North side of chancel has large segmental arch to the organ, 2-centred arch doorway to the vestry and, alongside, a most unusual eye-shaped squint framed with zig-zag ornament. Piscinas in sanctuary (with cusped ogee head and shelf) and transepts. Various rere arches to the windows with nailhead ornament to the 19th century windows on the south side of the chancel and a broad roll moulding to the nave window. Plastered walls and stone flag floor including a couple of ledger stones and 19th century cast-iron grilles. Fittings: Unusual restored 17th century oak altar table, top supported on carved heraldic beasts. 19th century timber communion rail in Gothic style. Oak Gothic pulpit dated 1874 and lectern in same style. Most of stalls and benches are plain 19th century deal, but chancel includes two 19th century good oak prayer desks carved with blind Perpendicular tracery. Norman font on new circular stem, octagonal bowl with shallow blind arcade. Large timber boards in the chancel recording charitable bequests from 1548-1885. South transept screen, 1983 by SG Scardifield. Memorials: Several good monuments. Oldest is medieval under a low arch in south transept - very worn Purbeck marble recumbent figure in long robes. In chancel, good large marble monument in memory of Thomas Boone (died 1679) and his wife Dorothy (died 1657) - plaque with frame carved with buds and flowers rising to an heraldic cartouche in front of a double pediment (segmental in front of swans neck) on Corinthian columns, whole surmounted by urns and bottom shelf on fluted consoles with festoons and another cartouche between. Nearby a couple of smaller 19th century marble monuments with urns, in memory of William Barber who died at sea in 1817, and members of the Banfill family who died between 1790-1825; both are signed by Edward Wimser of Newton Abbott. Oval marble plaques on south wall of the chancel, in memory of 6-month old Sophia Brown (died 1777) and Richard and Dorothy Pillar who died with their daughter Elizabeth in 1814. Other good monuments in the south transept. An architectural plaque in memory of William Roope (died 1666) has Doric columns on a shelf with drapery between the consoles below and moulded cornice above surmounted by an heraldic achievement with remains of ancient colour. Good marble monument in memory of 12-year old Miss Mary Roope "a young lady of promising expectations" surmounted by a portrait medallion with putti holding open drapery to reveal it - an excellent unsigned work. Others in memory of Charles Hayne (died 1842) with mourning mother and child by Denman of London, Jane Jodrell (died 1821) with sunburst, and Allin (sic.) Gibbs (died 1838). Good brass with figure in civilian dress and rhyming epitaph in memory of Robert Holland (died 1611). Glass: 19th century glass in east window and the rest is 20th century. (The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Devon: London: P.322).

Waterhouse, R., Unknown, Dartmouth Conservation Area: Archaeology, 5 (Un-published). SDV355585.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV15387Article in Serial: Thompson, A. H.. 1913. Church Architecture in Devon. Archaeological Journal. 70. Unknown. 459,464.
SDV155627List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1972. Dartmouth. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 1.
SDV172950Article in Serial: Watkin, H. R.. 1911. The foundation and early history of Dartmouth and Kingswear churches. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 43. A5 Hardback. 149-53.
SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 386.
SDV176861Report - Assessment: Weddell, P. J. + Turton, S. D.. 1992. Preliminary Archaeological Assessment of Dartmouth Sewage Treatment Works. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 92.56. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV177387Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. DAP/JO. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2.
SDV239594Article in Serial: Chanter, J. F.. 1927. Sixteenth Report on Church Plate. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 59. A5 Hardback. 96.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336217Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: South Devon. The Buildings of England: South Devon. Paperback Volume. 112-3.
SDV337976Report - Assessment: McConnell, R.. 2006. Part of former Heliport site, Townstal Road, Dartmouth: an archaeological desk-based assessment. Context One Archaeological Services Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4.
SDV350785National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2013. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #81640 ]
SDV355585Un-published: Waterhouse, R.. Unknown. Dartmouth Conservation Area: Archaeology. Digital. 5.
SDV358625Ground Photograph: Devon Religious Houses Survey. 1986. Photos taken on DRHS including Townstal Church. Devon Religious Houses Survey. Photograph (Paper) + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV75014Parent of: Stone Table, New Quay (Monument)
MDV108505Related to: Dartmouth (Monument)
MDV74608Related to: Fox Chest Tomb, St Clement's Churchyard (Building)
MDV8551Related to: St Saviour's Church, Dartmouth (Building)
MDV15811Related to: Townstal Manor, Dartmouth (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4194 - Heliport Site, Townstal Road, Dartmouth

Date Last Edited:Dec 8 2017 10:10AM