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HER Number:MDV345
Name:St Peter's Church, Tawstock


The church was remodelled in the early 14th century but the nave and chancel probably retain 12th century fabric. Further alterations were made in the late 15th and 16th centuries and the building was restored by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1867-8. It contains a fine collection of monuments.


Grid Reference:SS 559 299
Map Sheet:SS52NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTawstock
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAWSTOCK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 5232
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS52NE/1
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 437098

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (Built, XII to XIV - 1101 AD to 1400 AD (Between))

Full description

DAY, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV69247.

Accounts of the church mention fragments of armour preserved in a chamber above the vestry where the parish armour was kept (cresswell). Brief reference to the armour (day).

BAYLEY, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71351.

Keen notes the occurence of post-medieval relief tiles from north devon in the south chancel chapel of tawstock church (keen). Bayley notes the mid-seventeenth century elaborate painted pedigree-type heraldic panel of the bold family in tawstock church (bayley).

ANON IN TDA,1938, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71352.

The many associations with the bourchier family are described including the family pew (roberts). Brief mention of a visit to the church (anon in tda,1938).

MESSENGER + BENSON, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71353.

Detailed notes on all the heraldic trappings in the church, with genealogical and biographical notes (messenger + benson).

A.L.R, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71354.

There is armour said to be locked in room over the vestry (a. L. R. ).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71358.

Delderfield, e. /express and echo/10-7-1976.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71359.

Hoskins, w. G. /devon/(1954)489-490.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71360.

Pevsner, n. /the buildings of england: north devon/(1952)151-154.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71361.

Keen, l. /jbaa/32(1969)144-170 figs. Pls. /a series of seventeenth and eighteenth-century lead-glazed relief tiles from north devon.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71362.

Bayley, t. D. S. /antiq. J. /35(1955)75,77,85/painted heraldic panels.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71363.

Smith, j. T. /arch. J. /115(1958)126 fig127.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71364.

King, c. R. B. /tda/38(1906)377-379/ancient oak altar in st. Peter's church, tawstock.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71365.

Roberts, j. /tda/102(1970)76,83-84/the armada lord lieutenant pt.1.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71366.

Roberts, j. /tda/103(1971)121/the armada lord lieutenant pt 2.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71367.

Anon. /tda/70(1938)14/proceedings at the 77th annual meeting held at barnstaple.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71368.

Messenger, a. W. B. + benson, j. /tda/83(1951)130-171/the heraldry of tawstock church.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71369.

A. L. R. /dcnq/11,pt.1(1920-1921)93/armour, helmets, etc. In devon and cornwall.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71370.

Chope, r. P. /dcnq/15(1928-1929)58-59/hinkypunk.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71371.

Cresswell, b. F. /dcnq/10 part1(1918-1919)85/armour, etc, in devon and cornwall churches.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV71372.

Day, f. /dcnq/10 part1(1918-1919)86/armour, etc, in devon and cornwall churches.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV177625.

Pevsner describes the church as architecturally very interesting with few parallels in devon. The architecture and fittings are described at length (pevsner).

Chope, R. P., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV33437.

A carving on a bench-end in the church is discussed (chope).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV335.

Tawstock church contains the finest collection of monuments in devon, and one of the most noticeable in england. Oldest monument is a 14th century effigy in oak. Other monuments testify to the parish's being the seat of the bourchier family and they are described by hoskins. The cruciform plan of the church, with its central tower, unusual in devon, is also noted. The church is almost purely 14th century (hoskins).

Delderfield, E., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV58755.

St. Peters church. Sundial over porch. Cruciform building with 14th cent. Tower. In north transept is some italian work on the ceiling and some medieval glass. Squire's box pew.16th century gallery which leads to the belfry. The lectern is a splendid oak eagle and affixed to the pulpit is a metal hand on a swivel that held the hour glass. Notable monuments (delderfield).

Bligh Bond, F., 1903, Devonshire Screens and Rood Lofts. Part II, 489, Pl. 3 (Article in Serial). SDV6113.

Rood screen in St. Peter's. Screen stands in chancel opening east of transepts. Screen from Wrey Chapel to south transept. Italian detail. Figures in medallions in spandrels of doorway. Manorial pew of jacobean date and fine bench-ends, Henry VIII.

Department of Environment, 1987, Tawstock, 61-63 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV76335.

Parish church. Probably 12th century fabric to nave and chancel, entirely remodelled in early 14th century when the crossing tower, north and south transepts and and aisles were added. Aisles heightened in late 15th century with alterations to the tower and addition of 2-storey vestry at same time. Early 16th century south chancel aisle. Restored 1867-8 by Sir Gilbert Scott. Stone rubble, dressed to south chancel chapel, roughly coursed to vestry, wityh collar dressings. Slate roofs with coped gable ends and apex crosses. Embattled parapets to south and north aisle, vestry and tower. Basically cruciform on plan with nave, chancel, crossing tower, north and south aisles and transepts, south chancel aisle and 2-storey vestry. See DoE list for full details.

University of Southampton, 2018, North Devon Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment, No. 53 (Interpretation). SDV361978.

Rood screen in chancel opening.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV177625Migrated Record:
SDV33437Migrated Record: Chope, R. P..
SDV335Migrated Record:
SDV361978Interpretation: University of Southampton. 2018. North Devon Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. RCZAS. Digital. No. 53.
SDV58755Migrated Record: Delderfield, E..
SDV6113Article in Serial: Bligh Bond, F.. 1903. Devonshire Screens and Rood Lofts. Part II. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 35. Digital. 489, Pl. 3.
SDV69247Migrated Record: DAY.
SDV71351Migrated Record: BAYLEY.
SDV71352Migrated Record: ANON IN TDA,1938.
SDV71353Migrated Record: MESSENGER + BENSON.
SDV71354Migrated Record: A.L.R.
SDV71358Migrated Record:
SDV71359Migrated Record:
SDV71360Migrated Record:
SDV71361Migrated Record:
SDV71362Migrated Record:
SDV71363Migrated Record:
SDV71364Migrated Record:
SDV71365Migrated Record:
SDV71366Migrated Record:
SDV71367Migrated Record:
SDV71368Migrated Record:
SDV71369Migrated Record:
SDV71370Migrated Record:
SDV71371Migrated Record:
SDV71372Migrated Record:
SDV76335List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Tawstock. Historic Houses Register. 61-63.

Associated Monuments

MDV96324Parent of: World War I Memorial Tablet, St Peter's Church (Monument)
MDV96316Parent of: World War II Memorial Tablet in Tawstock Parish Church (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Feb 4 2019 12:17PM