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HER Number:MDV185
Name:Braunton, St Brannock's Parish Church

Summary

St Brannock's Parish Church was mentioned in Domesday. Cruciform plan with 13th century fabric in the chancel and a 14th century doorway. Rebuilt in 15th century with 19th century restoration.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 489 370
Map Sheet:SS43NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBraunton
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRAUNTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 5214
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS43NE/12
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 98312
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS43NE 22

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (VIII to XXI - 701 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

Unknown, 1875, Untitled Source, 95-6 (Article in Serial). SDV83620.


Kerslake, T., 1877, Traces of the Ancient Kingdom of Dumnonia outside Cornwall, 417 (Article in Serial). SDV5885.

The survival of the ancient dedication to St Brannock is noted as evidence of ancient Dumnonia.


Reichel, O. J., 1898, The Domesday Churches of Devon, 309 (Article in Serial). SDV863.

The original church was a prebendal church founded before Domesday.


Chanter, J. F., 1910, Christianity in Devon before AD 909, 486,490 (Article in Serial). SDV870.


Chanter, J. F., 1910 - 1911, Cost and weight of a pre-reformation ring of bells, 222-3 (Article in Serial). SDV95293.

In the volume of the churchwardens accounts for Braunton, 1554-1610 is a note giving details of the cost and weight of a pre-reformation ring of bells. None of the bells mentioned is now in existence.


Cresswell, B. F., 1916 - 1917, Sittings in Churches, 117-9 (Article in Serial). SDV15403.

Remarkable early carved bench ends noted including one which depicts St Brannock with his cow.


Unknown, 1917, Proceedings at the 56th Annual Meeting, 19-20 (Article in Serial). SDV83606.

St Brannock Parish Church. Mentioned in Domesday. Curious shape, consisting of a nave of unusual width (without aisles); a north transept; a tower, forming a south transept; a chancel, with a late southern aisle and a vestry, with upper chamber on the north side of the chancel; and south-west and north porches. Mainly Early English or 13th century with a great deal of Perpendicular detail. Magnificent old carved oak seats, 1500-1600. Each seat has two carved bench ends. The gallery is Jacobean, dated 1619, as also pulpit and reading desk. The screen is somewhat early and of an unusual type, and up to 1850 had a gallery running along the top. The font is early Decorated on a modern pedestal, formerly cased in oak.


Druce, G. C., 1920, Medieval bestiaries and thier influence on ecclesiastical art, 59 (Article in Serial). SDV83607.

Church contains a medieval wood carving of a sow suckling her pigs.


Cresswell, B. F., 1927, Devonshire Churches: The Buildings and Builders, 155 (Article in Serial). SDV124362.

There is said to have been a 14th century broached spire, similar to St Peters Barnstaple.


Unknown, 1938, Proceedings at the 77th Annual Meeting held at Barnstaple, 14 (Article in Serial). SDV83612.

Brief mention of a visit by members to the church, where they were told the legend of St. Brannock and had their attention drawn to the font, the fine bench ends, the boss on the roof carved with the sow and farrow, and the palimpsest brass of Lady Elizabeth Bourchier, 1548.


Reichel, O. J., 1939, The Church and the Hundreds in Devon, 340 (Article in Serial). SDV15424.

Turning to North Devon we know of the existence of at least 5 churches. Braunton in Braunton hundred is specifically mentioned in Domesday as being endowed with a hide of land in the King's manor of Braunton.


Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 346 (Monograph). SDV17562.

St Brannoc, Welsh missionary saint of 6th century is buried in Braunton Church, possibly under the high alter. Unusual plan of church with its wide nave, fine roof, carved bench ends of exceptionally fine quality, Jacobean woodwork, early chancel screen and post-medieval monuments.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978 - 2005, SS43NE22 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV341446.

Braunton Church, dedicated to St Brannock, is one of the few churches in Devonshire mentioned in Domesday.


Department of Environment, 1985, Braunton, 33 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV73918.

Parish Church, 13th century fabric to chancel with 3 lancets on north wall and 14th century doorway cut out of walling beneath middle lancet. Unmoulded pointed arch to north transept and similar but much deeper arch to south transeptal tower. Cruciform plan. Two lancets at east end of nave flanking double-chamfered chancel arch possibly indicate former aisles, but 15th century rebuild removed them to make impressively wide buttressed nave with single waggon roof. Chancel chapel also added 15th century. Mostly 19th century refenestration, and south, north and west porches all probably rebuilt in 19th century. Chancel restored 1887. Rubble throughout, mainly uncoursed but some roughly squared masonry in south wall of south chancel chapel and dressed stone quoins to chancel. Slate roofs with
coped ashlar gables and stone crosses at the apexes. Broach spire and tower of 2 stages with angle buttresses and large central buttresses all with offsets. Single narrow slit openings in north and west wall of bottom stage. To south is square-headed window with mouchette tracery and head mould with returned ends over buttress with hollow-chamfered lancet to right. Plain pointed arch opening above in second stage. Lead clad broach spire has four gabled 2-light lucarnes between the broaches. Stair turret sits in north-east angle of tower with three slit openings on east side. The nave has symmetrical disposition of window openings with single 3-light Perpendicular style windows, all partially recut to each side of north and south porches. Both porches have plain pointed arches and doorways with plain
chamfers, the base of the jambs recut on south doorway. Ancient pointed arch plank door to south with square framing and ledging and old pointed arch door to north. To right of south porch entrance is reset wall tablet with weathered inscription and stopped hood mould. Large external buttresses with off-sets towards west end and smaller ashlar buttresses bonded in at corners. West porch has unmoulded pointed arch and 19th century ceiled waggon roof. Double chamfered pointed west doorway with plain hood mould. Double-leaved ancient door. Wooden charity board on north wall and stocks used as bench on south wall. Large 19th century west window in Perpendicular style with corbelled hood mould. Between north transept and north porch is a low slated lean-to roof to outshut with external stone steps in front leading to organ gallery door in transept west wall. Its north wall has 2-light 19th century window and to east is reset 13th century pointed arch window with Y bars. The vestry has 19th century cusped 2-light window to north and small square window above 2 light window with shouldered jambs to east. Elaborate Perpendicular style chancel window with corbelled hood mould, tracery
recut but architrave mostly intact. Slightly smaller chancel chapel east window has recut long and short jambs and mouchette tracery. Hood mould has stopped ends but also weathered label stops outside these indicating large opening formerly extending up to empty niche near the gable apex. Two rainwater heads at east end dated 1872. Chancel chapel to south has 2-light Decorated style window and single-light Decorated style opening each side of 4-centred arch doorway with hollow chamfer, floriated stops to the hood moulds and plank door.
Interior: Unaisled nave spanned by massive unceiled waggon roof with ornately carved bosses in the intersections of ribs and longitudinal members. Ceiled waggon roof to south chancel chapel and plank ceiled waggon roof to chancel with similar arrangement of bosses: chancel also has angel busts spaced along the wall plates. Two bay arcade of 'B'-Type Pevsner piers with lipped capitals. Fine l7th century turned communion rails and altar table. Panelled reredos resembling l7th century chimneypiece dated 1653 with 5 angels busts in the central projecting bay. Chancel screen, 4-light sections with Perpendicular tracery, ogee-arched to centre and original headrail to rear.
South chancel chapel has 20th century dado panelling. Small pointed head piscina near base of east wall of tower. Anglo-Saxon (?) burial stone forms lintel of slit windows. North transept contains carved panelling to organ gallery dated 1619. Lectern reuses portion of one of the turned pedestals of existing l7th century panelled pulpit which now has its tester as a base. Font near north door has square bowl on squat column, probably late 13th/early 14th century, with base of column and corner colonettes being replacements. Bowl carved with human heads at each corner and ox and human face on east and north sides enriched with Decorated style traceried surround. Nave has 3 brass Flemish chandeliers. Excellent complete set of 23 pairs of 16th century variously carved bench ends complete with benches and moulded rails. Single 16th century bench end in south chancel chapel, pew front carved 1887 but reusing l7th century panelling. Two further bench ends with new pews in tower chapel. Armada Box in south chancel chapel with male and female figures in Portugese costume circa 1560 with initials and inscription and 16th century chest in nave.
Wall monuments. On south chancel chapel wall is hinged brass palimpsest 'reinstated 1908' originally from chapel floor. Nave south wall from east. Early classical style wall monument to Peter Shepherd of Fulbrook and his son, died 1558 and 1591. Also monument to Nicholas Hooper Wood also in classical Ionic style. Large late l7th century wall monument to Robert Incledon (died 1558) and other members of
family. Large entablature with semi-circular arched head and angel figures over trophies outside classical colonettes supported on cherubs heads. These flank principal tablet with skull below with painted decoration. Small wall monument to Peter Calverley 'Chyrurgeon' (died 1799). Oval medallion with fern surround, skull and armorial bearings above, cherubs below. Early 19th century marble wall tablet above
South Doorway to Webber Family 1807-1822. Fluted pilasters flank inscription with Classical Urn above. Marble wall monument to Frances Baker (nee Webber: died 1782). Scrolled surround to carved tablet with tapering crown surmounted by Classical urns. Cluster of 3 cherub heads at base flanked by urns and brackets. Wall monument extreme west end of south wall of panels containing shields flanked by three
superimposed orders of fluted Ionic columns to the lower 2 tiers with heads in the capitals of the upper tier and pilastered single tier above. North wall from east. Marble wall tablet. Anthemiom acroteria above inscription to Henry Webber 1823 and 1833. To left of organ gallery, Doric columns each side of 1758 tablet with classical urn over. Reset stone wall tablet dated 1622 wall tablet to right of north door to Margaret Allyn died 1709. Cherubs heads over tablet with wreathed surround to skulls head below. Over north door wall tablet to husband and wife died 1839 and 1870. Pilaster to each side of marble wall tablet with shield over. To left of north door, marble wall monument by T Jewell of Barnstaple to Hale family circa 1737. Doric pilasters and classical urn. One stained glass east chancel end lancet has window by Percy Bacon 'Artist of most of the stained glass in this Church'. East window of South Chancel chapel by W F Dixon Pinx 18 University St.
London. Other details: 11/68.


Pearce, S. M., 1985, The Early Church in the Landscape: The Evidence from North Devon (part), 270-2 (Article in Serial). SDV336495.

According to William of Worcester (circa 1450) and John Leland (circa 1540) St Brannoc's body lay in the church. His cult was observed until the beginning of the 17th century. Pearce argues that the church was originally a post-Roman monastic site (see MON 41903). The church was at the centre of the estate of "Brannocminster" which Aethelbald granted to Glastonbury Abbey in AD857. Edgar repossessed "Brancminstre" in circa 973 and established a priest to officiate in the church, maintained by land which appears as the Hide of Algar in Domesday.


Haggerty, F. M., 1991, St. Michael's Chapel, Braunton: A Survey of the Standing Remains, 12 (Un-published). SDV83681.

St. Brannock is reputed to be buried in Braunton, and the church was a place of pilgimage in the middle ages. The present church was built by the Normans around 1310.


Wessex Archaeology, 2000, St Brannock's Church Spire, Braunton, Devon: Recording of the timber-framed structure, iii (Report - Survey). SDV83617.

The church is one of three around Barnstaple with medieval broach spires, and parts of the original timber framed structure have been dated to the 13th century. This suggests that it is the earliest timber spire in Britain, and therefore of national importance. However the timber is deteriorating and requires substantial repair and weather protecion. Recording of the internal timber framed structure of the spire was undertaken in June-August 2000 to aid structural analysis before repair work began. Documentary research shows there is a virtually complete record of expenditure from 1554-1921. Other details: Photographs, drawings.


Wessex Archaeology, 2002, St Brannock's Church Spire, Braunton, Devon: Further Building Recording (Report - Survey). SDV83618.

Further recording of the octagonal timber-framed medieval spire was undertaken, including a photographic survey. It was clear, from the physical evidence and documentary research, that the boarding and leadwork had undergone much replacement and repair with lead inscriptions from the late 18th, mid 19th and early 20th century. The weathercock was found to have an inscription of the letters I..B..T.. C and the date 1694.


English Heritage, 2004, Centre for Archaeology Report Summaries Volume 8: July to December 2004 (Report - non-specific). SDV355620.


English Heritage, 2004, Centre for Archaeology Report Summaries Volume 8: July to December 2004 (Report - non-specific). SDV355620.


Tyers, I., 2004, Tree-ring analysis of oak timbers from St Brannock Church, Braunton, 5 (Report - non-specific). SDV319846.

Oak timber samples were taken from the nave roof and from dismantled pews at St Brannock's Church for tree-ring analysis. Assuming the timbers were felled for immediate usage, the nave roof dates from the end of the 14th or beginning of the 15th century. The pew planks were dated to the last quarter of the 15th or the earlier 16th century, and some were found to be inscribed with carpenters numbers. Damaged tenons and peg holes suggest they have been dismantled on at least one previous occasion, and the planks and bench ends exhibit distortions that indicate that these were first used whilst still green. Chronologies from the 2 groups of samples indicate the source of timber for the nave roof may be different from that used for the pews.


2005, Tree ring date lists 2005 (Article in Serial). SDV361592.

BRAUNTON, St Brannock Church (SS 489 371) Tree ring dating from this church yielded the following results:
(a) Nave roof Felling date range: 1388–1413
(b) Pews Felling date: after 1475


Orme, N. + Webster, M., 2010, The Medieval Church in North Devon, 49-72 (Article in Serial). SDV361663.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV124362Article in Serial: Cresswell, B. F.. 1927. Devonshire Churches: The Buildings and Builders. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 33. Unknown. 155.
SDV15403Article in Serial: Cresswell, B. F.. 1916 - 1917. Sittings in Churches. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 9: Part 1. Unknown. 117-9.
SDV15424Article in Serial: Reichel, O. J.. 1939. The Church and the Hundreds in Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 71. A5 Paperback. 340.
SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 346.
SDV319846Report - non-specific: Tyers, I.. 2004. Tree-ring analysis of oak timbers from St Brannock Church, Braunton. English Heritage Centre for Archaeology Report. 81/2004. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5.
SDV336495Article in Serial: Pearce, S. M.. 1985. The Early Church in the Landscape: The Evidence from North Devon (part). Archaeological Journal. 142. A4 Stapled + Digital. 270-2.
SDV341446Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978 - 2005. SS43NE22. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV355620Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2004. Centre for Archaeology Report Summaries Volume 8: July to December 2004. English Heritage Centre for Archaeology Report. Vol. 8. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV361592Article in Serial: 2005. Tree ring date lists 2005. Vernacular Architecture. 36. Unknown.
SDV361663Article in Serial: Orme, N. + Webster, M.. 2010. The Medieval Church in North Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 142. Paperback Volume. 49-72.
SDV5885Article in Serial: Kerslake, T.. 1877. Traces of the Ancient Kingdom of Dumnonia outside Cornwall. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 33. Unknown. 417.
SDV73918List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1985. Braunton. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound. 33.
SDV83606Article in Serial: Unknown. 1917. Proceedings at the 56th Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 49. A5 Hardback. 19-20.
SDV83607Article in Serial: Druce, G. C.. 1920. Medieval bestiaries and thier influence on ecclesiastical art. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 26. Unknown. 59.
SDV83612Article in Serial: Unknown. 1938. Proceedings at the 77th Annual Meeting held at Barnstaple. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 70. A5 Hardback. 14.
SDV83617Report - Survey: Wessex Archaeology. 2000. St Brannock's Church Spire, Braunton, Devon: Recording of the timber-framed structure. Wessex Archaeology Report. 48142.01. A4 Stapled + Digital. iii.
SDV83618Report - Survey: Wessex Archaeology. 2002. St Brannock's Church Spire, Braunton, Devon: Further Building Recording. Wessex Archaeology Report. 48143.01. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV83620Article in Serial: Unknown. 1875. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 31. Unknown. 95-6.
SDV83681Un-published: Haggerty, F. M.. 1991. St. Michael's Chapel, Braunton: A Survey of the Standing Remains. A4 Stapled + Digital. 12.
SDV863Article in Serial: Reichel, O. J.. 1898. The Domesday Churches of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 30. A5 Paperback. 309.
SDV870Article in Serial: Chanter, J. F.. 1910. Christianity in Devon before AD 909. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 42. A5 Hardback. 486,490.
SDV95293Article in Serial: Chanter, J. F.. 1910 - 1911. Cost and weight of a pre-reformation ring of bells. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 6. Unknown. 222-3.

Associated Monuments

MDV191Parent of: Church Plate in St Brannock's Parish Church, Braunton (Find Spot)
MDV193Parent of: Cross at St Brannock's Parish Church, Braunton (Monument)
MDV4461Parent of: Monumental Brass at St Brannock's Parish Church, Braunton (Find Spot)
MDV7331Parent of: St Brannock's Church Bell, Braunton (Find Spot)
MDV74783Parent of: St. Brannock's Church Organ (Find Spot)
MDV74783Related to: St. Brannock's Church Organ (Find Spot)
MDV16296Part of: Braunton (Monument)
MDV194Related to: Macehead found in Braunton Cemetery (Find Spot)
MDV5358Related to: St Brannock's Church Cross, Braunton (Monument)
MDV41903Related to: St Brannock's Monastery, Braunton (Monument)
MDV74783Parent of: St. Brannock's Church Organ (Find Spot)
MDV74783Related to: St. Brannock's Church Organ (Find Spot)
MDV192Related to: Sundial at St Brannock's Parish Church, Braunton (Monument)
MDV189Related to: The Palm Cross, St Brannock's Churchyard, Braunton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV311 - St Brannock's Church spire, Braunton: Recording of the timber-framed structure
  • EDV312 - St Brannock's Church spire: Further building recording
  • EDV314 - Tree-ring analysis of oak timbers from St Bannock Church, Braunton

Date Last Edited:Aug 2 2018 9:23AM