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HER Number:MDV2124
Name:Zeal Monachorum, St Peter's Parish Church


St Peter's parish church in Zeal Monachorum mainly 14th century with earlier features, later additions and restored in the 19th and 20th centuries


Grid Reference:SS 719 040
Map Sheet:SS70SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishZeal Monachorum
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishZEAL MONACHORUM

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 5248
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS70SW/4
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (XII to Early 20th Century - 1101 AD to 1912 AD (Between))

Full description

NMR, SS70SW20 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV338922.

Reichel, O. J., 1898, The Domesday Churches of Devon, 310 (Article in Serial). SDV863.

It is presumed that the abbey had an oratory here at the time of the Domesday survey.

Chanter, J. F., 1910, Christianity in Devon before AD 909, 489, 492 (Article in Serial). SDV870.

Chanter suggests that the original dedication was to St Petrock and that it was changed under Saxon and Norman influence. Zeal Monachorum formed part of the lands of Buckfast Abbey.

Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: North Devon, 172 (Monograph). SDV336196.

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

Parish church of St Peter in Zeal Monachorum. Fabric mainly 14th century; south aisle 15th century; medieval screen and box pews removed in 1854. Much restored in 1913 when a cast-iron chancel screen was inserted.

Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/FP, 12 (Aerial Photograph). SDV4830.

Department of Environment, 1986, Zeal Monachorum (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV43775.

Parish church of St Peter The Apostle in Zeal Monachorum. 12th century core, 13th century south aisle, much rebuilt in 15th century and early 16th century, major restorations of 1850-3 and 1907-12, and chancel roof was restored in 1965. The nave of random local stone rubble; the rest is mostly local mudstone including some granite and volcanic trap and tending to rough courses; porch includes many larger blocks of red or purple coloured mudstone and grey granite; granite dressings and detail, both original and restoration, otherwise Bathstone restoration detail; slate roofs. Plan comprises nave and lower chancel on a slightly different axis, north transept, south aisle, west tower and south porch. Decorated and Perpendicular styles. West tower is probably late 15th-early 16th century but all detail is 19th century replacement granite including most of the weatherings on the buttresses and the coping of the parapet. It is low (once apparently it was higher), 2 stages, with low diagonal buttresses and embattled parapet. Internal stair turret. The belfry has twin lancet windows each side and south side has a slit window to the ringing loft. On the west side of the tower is a 2-centred arch doorway containing a 19th century door with distinctive wrought-iron strap hinges, and above it a 2-light window with Decorated style tracery. The large iron openwork clockface on the south side of the tower was erected in 1912. The south aisle is probably 13th century according to somoriginal Decorated-style granite tracery exposed inside. However all the present windows are 19th century Bathstone replacements but set in the original embrasures with granite sills, reveals and hoodmoulds. Both gable ends include 3-light windows; the west one has Perpendicular style tracery, the east one has Decorated-style tracery. The south front is 4 bays between diagonal buttresses. The porch, left of centre, is probably early 16th century and the south door is blocking a window which retains its original Decorated tracery inside and some of the hoodmould shows outside. All the windows are 2 lights; that to left of the porch has Perpendicular-style tracery, and the 2 to right have Decorated style tracery and are separated by a buttress. There is a soffit-chamfered granite wall plate. The porch is gable-ended with a late 15th-early 16th century 2-centred granite outer arch with moulded surround and hoodmould. The south side of the chancel has a possibly late 15th-early 16th century granite priests door; it is tiny with 4-centred arch cut from a single slab. To right is a 19th century Bathstone trefoil-headed lancet. The east gable end has a large 19th century Bathstone 3-light window with Decorated-style tracery and a moulded hood with carved medieval king and queens head labels. There is the 19th century vestry against the north side which contains a Bathstone 2-light window with Decorated-style tracery and moulded hood with scroll labels. The gable end of the north transept and the north side of the aisle both include a 19th century Bathstone Decorated-style 2-light window. Interior: the south doorway is an early 16th century granite 2-centred arch with moulded surround and ramshead stops. It contains a good 18th century fielded panel door. Inside the door can be seen to block a 13th century window and some of its tracery is exposed. The blind embrasure now contains a list of former rectors. The nave has a much-restored open 15th century barrel-vaulted roof. The chancel, transept and aisle have ceiled barrel vaults of unknown date. All the roofs have probably early 20th century wall plates. Tall plain tower arch with simple imposts. No chancel arch. 15th or early 16th century granite arcade of 4 bays with 1 overlapping the chancel. The piers are moulded (Pevsner's Type A) with caps to the shafts only. The windows of the south aisle have their original hollow-chamfered inner arches. The east window of the chancel is flanked by Bathstone half-engaged shafts with carved foliate caps and an internal moulded hood with the labels carved as a medieval king and queens heads. The floor, laid in 1913, is of plain tile but includes panels of encaustic tile in the chancel near the altar. Circa 1965 the floor of the south chapel was paved. Nearly all the fittings are circa 1913 including the oak altar rail on twisted standards, the deal stalls and benches, and the chancel screen and parclose (oak linenfold wainscotting with wrought-ironwork above). The oak drum pulpit is a First World War Memorial. The font however is Norman; it is a bucket font of purple basalt with a fillet around the rim of which the lower half is carved to a zigzag. It is encircled halfway down by a projecting broad cable. It has a restored late 17th-early 18th century oak ogee cover surmounted by a plaster 'dove'. It has broken off and lies on the nearby window-shelf. The font was reinstated in 1853 after being found in the graveyard and set on a piece of limestone also dug up but in 1912. Near the font are some old pieces of oak; the remains of the village stocks and a couple of pieces of chip-carved oak board found during the restoration of the roof. The mural memorials are marble but plain; on the south wall in memory of Mary Snell-Hill (died 1845) with a triangular top end enriched with a band of guilloche; and on the north wall in memory of Joseph Arscot (died 1823) with a moulded cornice and drapery and apparently missing a triangular pediment. The glass is probably the most interesting feature of the church. The east window of the chancel has good (though faded) glass by Hardman, dated 1851. The south window of the chancel is also mid 19th century and includes an interesting monochrome representation of the Virgin and Child designed by Francis Wilson Ollifant and made by Clayton and Bell. The east end of the aisle has attractive patterned glass by Drake and most of the rest is good quality early 20th century stained glass also by Drake.

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 927 (Monograph). SDV325629.

Griffith, F. M., 1990, DAP/TP, 11-12 (Aerial Photograph). SDV267567.

Blaylock, S. R., 2002, Observations at St Nicholas' Church, Brushford, Somerset, 6 (Report - non-specific). SDV338883.

A parish history of Zeal Monachorum shows that the church had a shingle roof from at least the 17th century until as late as 1860.

Dodd, M., 2004, Dean Milles Parochial Survey. Questionnaire (1747-1762) (Un-published). SDV162499.

Respondent to Dean Milles Questionnaire noted in the mid 18th century that it was 'covered in timber in the manner of slate'.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV162499Un-published: Dodd, M.. 2004. Dean Milles Parochial Survey. Questionnaire (1747-1762). Dean Milles Parochial Survey. Questionnarie (1747-62). Digital.
SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback.
SDV267567Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1990. DAP/TP. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 11-12.
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 927.
SDV336196Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: North Devon. The Buildings of England: North Devon. Paperback Volume. 172.
SDV338883Report - non-specific: Blaylock, S. R.. 2002. Observations at St Nicholas' Church, Brushford, Somerset. Exeter Archaeology Report. 02.68. A4 Stapled + Digital. 6.
SDV338922National Monuments Record Database: NMR. SS70SW20. NMR Index. Card Index.
SDV43775List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1986. Zeal Monachorum. Historic Houses Register. A4 Bound.
SDV4830Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/FP. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 12.
SDV863Article in Serial: Reichel, O. J.. 1898. The Domesday Churches of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 30. A5 Paperback. 310.
SDV870Article in Serial: Chanter, J. F.. 1910. Christianity in Devon before AD 909. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 42. A5 Hardback. 489, 492.

Associated Monuments

MDV2125Parent of: St Peter's Parish Church, Font (Monument)
MDV2126Related to: Cross Base at St Peter's Parish Church in Zeal Monachorum (Building)
MDV2127Related to: Socket Stone at St Peter's Parish Church in Zeal Monachorum (Monument)
MDV40848Related to: St Peter's Parish Church, Chest Tombs (Building)
MDV40847Related to: St Peter's Parish Church, Graveyard Walls (Building)
MDV40849Related to: St Peter's Parish Church, Headstone (Building)
MDV40850Related to: St Peter's Parish Church, Memorial (Building)
MDV40851Related to: St Peter's Parish Church, Memorial Stone (Building)
MDV40846Related to: St Peter's Parish Church, West Gate (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Feb 6 2020 3:17PM