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HER Number:MDV2209
Name:Holy Trinity Parish Church, Ilfracombe


The church is mainly 14th and 15th century in date although parts including the transeptal tower are 13th century. It was restored in the 19th century.


Grid Reference:SS 514 473
Map Sheet:SS54NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishIlfracombe
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishILFRACOMBE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 5223
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS54NW/3
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Department of Environment, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV326028.

Mainly c14 and c15. Earlier tower originally standing clear of the church is now enclosed in the north aisle. Re-cut norman font (doe).

SLADE KING, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV76476.

Church consists of chancel, nave, n and s aisles, extending the whole length of the church. Originally norman - both font and tower are norman, the latter enclosed within the n aisle. Pulpit jacobean. In 1322 the church was enlarged by order of bishop stapledon and the present chancel built. Recast 1400. A portion of the present churchyard was the parochial bowling green and wrestling ring. Two of the church windows have glass by kempe. Name: holy trinity (slade-king).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV76521.

Slade-king, mrs. /tda/11(1879)165/the older times of ilfracombe.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV76522.

Thompson, a. H. /arch. J. /70(1913)464.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV76523.


Chanter, J. F. + Reed, H., 1907, Second Report of the Church Plate Committee, 121 (Article in Serial). SDV70301.

Details of church plate including two chalices, one bearing the date letter 1639, two 19th century patens, an inscribed flagon with the date 1737 and an alms dish with the date letter 1775. The latter was presented to the church by Emma Cutcliffe at Easter 1850. One of the patens also bears an inscription stating that it was presented by Emma Cutcliffe, Easter 1856. See article for full details.

Timms, S., 1987, The Archaeology of North Devon Towns, 3 (Un-published). SDV354573.

The parish church is set well back from the town centre and harbour.

English Heritage, 2015, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV357602.

Parish Church of Holy Trinity. Anglican parish church. Transeptal tower and other masonry C13; enlarged c1321 by order of Bishop Stapledon (lengthening of the nave and addition of aisles); aisles widened C15; N chancel aisle added C15; restoration by John Hayward, 1861-4. Vestry, 1894 by Henry Wilson. MATERIALS: mostly random rubble slate walls, some rendered; limestone dressings; Welsh slate roof. PLAN: nave with aisles of 4 bays; chancel of 4; N and S chancel aisles; N transeptal tower (now partially internal due to widening of N aisle); SE vestries. EXTERIOR: windows entirely renewed by Hayward, mostly 4-light in conventional Perpendicular style. One or two dressed features survive from before this time including a small blocked window set low at W end of S aisle. Sundial dated 1788 over porch doorway. Plaque dated 1864 commemorates rebuilding of S wall. Storeyed vestries set transeptally with polygonal stair turret; 2-light window to each floor, that to 1st under moulded pointed arch. The strangely detailed doorway arch, the rainwater hopper and the weather vane on the small spire that surmounts the turret are free Arts and Crafts in style (cf the lych gate to S also by Wilson). INTERIOR: fully described in Pevsner and Cherry. Special attention may be drawn to the fine set of wagon roofs, substantially renewed and adapted over the chancel by Fellowes Prynne in 1899. Nave roof rests on stone corbels representing mythical beasts that may be older than the timber roof. The Victorian glass (all attributed in Pevsner and Cherry) form an extremely interesting and varied collection. (The Buildings of England: Pevsner N and Cherry B: Devon: 2nd ed.: London: 1989-: 501).

Wapshott, E. + Boyd, N., 2017, Holy Trinity Church, Ilfracombe, Devon. Historic Building Recording. (Report - Survey). SDV360685.

South West Archaeology Ltd. was commissioned to undertake building recording at Holy Trinity Church, Ilfracombe, Devon.

The parish church of the Holy Trinity is Grade I Listed, with a 12th century Norman church and tower, enlarged in the 1320s and the 15th century, before considerable renovations in the 19th century. The church of the Holy Trinity is the mother church to St. Peter’s on Highfield Road.

The roofs at the eastern end of the church were stripped and reslated as part of a wider restoration project. The opening up of the roof allowed further analysis and information gathering, to add to the record of the Grade I Listed building. The areas viewed during the visit were the north aisles, north section beyond the tower and the north side of the chancel.

The observed roof works confirmed or highlighted the known phasing within the building, as interpreted by Pevsner. For example, the timbers of the north chancel aisle are of a lighter scantling than those to the widened north nave aisle and the south aisle. This matches the expected phasing of
the north chancel aisle as a later addition, when the chancel was further extended in the early 15th century. The widening of the rest of the aisles occurred in the later 15th century. This confirms a slow
expansion and aggrandisment of the church from the 13-15th centuries.

Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV326028Migrated Record: Department of Environment.
SDV354573Un-published: Timms, S.. 1987. The Archaeology of North Devon Towns. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3.
SDV357602National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2015. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #83292 ]
SDV360685Report - Survey: Wapshott, E. + Boyd, N.. 2017. Holy Trinity Church, Ilfracombe, Devon. Historic Building Recording.. Southwest Archaeology. 171006. Digital.
SDV70301Article in Serial: Chanter, J. F. + Reed, H.. 1907. Second Report of the Church Plate Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 39. A5 Hardback. 121.
SDV76476Migrated Record: SLADE KING.
SDV76521Migrated Record:
SDV76522Migrated Record:
SDV76523Migrated Record:

Associated Monuments

MDV104326Parent of: War Memorial in Holy Trinity Church, Ilfracombe (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV3086 - CHURCH PLATE (XVI to XIX - 1501 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV7482 - Historic Building Recording: Holy Trinity Church, Ilfracombe, Devon. (Ref: 171006)

Date Last Edited:May 9 2019 12:57PM