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HER Number:MDV19601
Name:St Matthew's Church, Lee, Ilfracombe


Originally built as a Chapel of East in 1833, The Church of St Matthew was rebuilt in 1860 incorporating some of the fabric from the earlier chapel.


Grid Reference:SS 485 463
Map Sheet:SS44NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishIlfracombe
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishILFRACOMBE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 5226
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS44NE/31
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CHURCH (Post Medieval to XXI - 1540 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1938, Revision of 1932 with additions in 1938, 4NE (Cartographic). SDV74386.

English Heritage, 1951, Ilfracombe (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV325669.

Church of St Matthew at Lee. Anglican church. 1860, by John Hayward, incorporating some of the fabric of a Chapel of Ease of 1833. Narrow coursed slate; Welsh slate roofs. Plan: nave with west porch and bellcote, low but deep chancel. Very small, built into the hillside. Exterior: 13th century style. 2-bay nave with 2-light plate tracery windows and diagonal buttresses. West end with roundel containing sunk quatrefoil; porch flanked by 2-light windows. North side with square-headed 2-light windows. Interior: all over stencilling decorative scheme (fleur-de-lis to chancel, framed roundels to nave). Roofs: nave with wide boarded wagon, chancel has side purlins and wind braces. Tiled floors. 3-bay stone reredos with trefoil-headed niches. Seating of 1913. In addition to the 19th century decoration, the interior is notable for a large collection of re-used early-17th century woodwork that must have been brought to the church from a large house, and now forms bench and choir stall and gallery frontals, pulpit, dado, and reading desk etc. Some heraldic and figure work (a shield containing 3 Saracens' daggers). Other details: LBS No 390138.

Barnes, R., 1959 - 1961, The dedication of the Church of St Matthew, 327-9 (Article in Serial). SDV85108.

The dedication of the church of St Matthew and St Wardrede at Lee is discussed. Author believes the Wardrede element to have its origins in a celtic saint who lived nearby.

Department of Environment, 1973, Ilfracombe UD, 16 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV85109.

Church of St Matthew, Lee. Rebuilt in 1833 in Gothic style. Pulpit and internal fittings 17th century.

Kestell-Cornish, G., 20/05/2015, St. Matthews Church, Lee (Website). SDV358347.

The church of St. Matthew, or more fully St. Matthew and St. Wardrede was built in 1833-4 as a Chapel of Ease. It became a parish church in 1869. Notable features include 16th-17th century carved oak panelling, Victorian wall decorations and the 19th century organ. On the north wall of the nave is a memorial to Martin Richards, the first Parish Clerk whose father had been a notorious wrecker and smuggler.

Richards, A., 2006, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV325668.

St Matthew's Church is marked on the First Edition 25 inch Ordnance Survey (1880s -1890s) map to the east at SS48794632 (see MDV 72467) and the building in Lee is shown on the north side of the road next to a 'School' with no text .

Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J., 2007, The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report, No. 1406 (Report - Assessment). SDV339712.

Church of St. Matthew, Lee. Rebuilt in 1833 in gothic style. Pulpit and internal fittings C17. HER record as listed Grade C. Church dedicated in 1835. The architect was John Hayward of Exeter. It became the parish church in 1869.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325668Personal Comment: Richards, A.. 2006.
SDV325669List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 1951. Ilfracombe. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV339712Report - Assessment: Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J.. 2007. The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.22 (rev.1). A4 Stapled + Digital. No. 1406.
SDV358347Website: Kestell-Cornish, G.. 20/05/2015. St. Matthews Church, Lee. http://www.leebay.co.uk/the_church.htm. Website.
SDV74386Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1938. Revision of 1932 with additions in 1938. 6 inch Provisional Edition. 4NE.
SDV85108Article in Serial: Barnes, R.. 1959 - 1961. The dedication of the Church of St Matthew. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 28. 327-9.
SDV85109List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1973. Ilfracombe UD. Historic Houses Register. 16.

Associated Monuments

MDV96871Related to: Boundary wall and gatepiers to Church of St. Matthew and the Old Schoolroom (Monument)
MDV31204Related to: Dripping Well, Lee, Ilfracombe (Monument)
MDV72467Related to: Site of St Matthews Church, Lee, Ilfracombe (Monument)
MDV31206Related to: The Old School House, Lee, Ilfracombe (Building)
MDV112204Related to: War Memorial, Lee, Ilfracombe (Monument)
MDV11892Related to: Well at Chapel Cottage, Lee (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Dec 8 2017 11:58AM