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HER Number:MDV6128
Name:Church of the Holy Trinity, Gidleigh


Church of the Holy Trinity at Gidleigh may have originated as a Saxon church with a later Norman church. The present church is mainly 15th century with later additions and alterations


Grid Reference:SX 670 883
Map Sheet:SX68NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishGidleigh
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishGIDLEIGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 5137
  • National Monuments Record: SX68NE170
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 619278
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68NE/15
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 94723

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (Constructed, VIII to XIX - 701 AD (Between) to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Keyser, C. E., 1898, On the Panel Paintings of Saints on the Devonshire Screens, 183-222 (Article in Serial). SDV134840.

Bligh Bond, F., 1903, Devonshire Screens and Rood Lofts. Part II, 460 (Article in Serial). SDV6113.

Rood screen. Perpendicular, groining missing. Repaired in 1848. Lower panels painted.

Ordnance Survey, 1906, 89NE (Cartographic). SDV275412.

Cresswell, B. F., 1918-1919, Sepulchral Slabs with Crosses in Devon Churches, 7 (Article in Serial). SDV273923.

In the churchyard near the north wall of the church, is a coffin-shaped stone with a raised cross.

Watkin, H. R., 1930-1934, Seven Hundred Years Ago, AD 1232, 213 (Article in Serial). SDV273924.

A Purbeck grave cover with inscribed cross mentioned by author. Possibly carved as a result of the sixth crusade.

Hughes, G. W. G., 1947, Gidleigh, 94-96 (Article in Serial). SDV273922.

May have been Saxon church on site. Small Norman church probably built later. Present church mainly 15th century. South wall of chancel is some 1.52 metres thicker than that of the south aisle, probably oldest part of church. Nave, arches, south aisle and tower added in 15th century. The church now consists of a nave continuous with the chancel, a barrel roof, a side aisle which probably contained an altar, an arcade of three arches, a tower at west end and a north porch. East window of chancel is of three-lights with coarse granite cusping. There are two two-light windows in south chancel wall with simple pointed heads and one in north wall. On outside of north wall is a priest's door, plastered over on inside. Rood screen, painted, of circa 1450. The tracery of the openings is of wood but the moulded ornament round the arches and across the beam are of gesso. Ornament Renaissance in character and probably added in 16th century. Lower panels have modern paper pictures of saints. On north side of screen is a small doorway with remains of steps to an opening above screen. May have been a rounded or square projection outside. Some 15th century stained glass in east window of south aisle. Pulpit and lectern are of granite, made 1853 by john Aggett. Reredos 1868 by same mason. Good tracery in west window of tower, some old bits of glass inserted in it. Four bells in belfry in 1553, cast by Robert Norton, an itinerant bell- founder who lived in Exeter in 1430. Just east of porch outside is an ancient gravestone on which is a raised triple-armed cross. Remains of a burial said to be underneath. Elizabethan chalice.

Department of Environment, 1987, Gidleigh, 145 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV275393.

Church of the Holy Trinity. Of Saxon or Norman origin, but completely rebuilt in the late C15th/early C16th, ostensibly of a single phase, although the tower and south chancel wall may be earlier. Plan of nave, chancel, south aisle, vestry and north porch. Grade I.

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 455-6 (Monograph). SDV325629.

Grumley-Grennan, T. + Hardy, M., 2000, Gidleigh. A Dartmoor Village Past and Present, 22-29 (Monograph). SDV359347.

Church is on the site where the original Saxon chapel is believed to have stood. The presence of 'Godwin the priest' before the Norman Conquest indicates that a church was already here at that time, though nothing remains of what must have been a simple building. Detailed information provided regarding history of the church and local traditions.

Fletcher, M. J., 2011, Archaeological report on the new works within the Chancel of: Holy Trinity Church. Gidleigh (Report - Watching Brief). SDV365157.

Record of the works that took place towards the end of 2011 which involved the remodelling of the interior of the chancel. Works comprised a new floor to replace the existing stepped altar platform and pew platforms located on either side of the aisle. The granite reredos will be lowered and wall panelling will be removed, restored and reassembled. See report for full details.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Shown on modern mapping.

English Heritage, 2012, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV348729.

Church of the Holy Trinity in Gidleigh was Listed on 22nd February1967. A Parish Church of modest size with Saxon or Norman origins and completely rebuilt in late 15th -early 16th century, some 17th century windows and 19th century additions. Large coursed blocks of granite ashlar with some granite stone rubble patching; granite ashlar detail, most of it original; slate roof (formerly thatch).
Plan: ostensibly a single phase church although the tower maybe earlier. Nave and chancel under a continuous roof; south aisle to nave only with 19th century vestry added to west end; west tower with internal stair; north doorway behind 19th century porch.
Exterior: tall unbuttressed west tower of two stages with embattled parapet, missing its corner pinnacles. Two-light belfry windows and west side has a two-centred arch doorway with moulded surround below a three-light window with Perpendicular tracery. Nave and chancel have mostly square-headed two-light windows; the lights are round- headed and there are sunken spandrels with hoodmoulds. The window in the nave was replaced by a tall 17th century three-light window with chamfered mullions. East end of chancel has a three- light window with elliptical head and hoodmould, the centre light only has a pointed arch head. Similar windows to south aisle. 19th century vestry flat-topped with embattled parapet and Transitional-style detail. Priests door in north side of chancel is a segmental pointed arch. 19Th century gabled north porch with roof of granite slabs has Norman style outer arch and similar north doorway. All the doors replaced in 19th century. Along the side of the nave a number of 17th and early 18th century grave slabs have been set upright; all are clearly legible.
Interior: nave and chancel have late 15th-early 16th century continuous ceiled wagon roof. In the nave only the ridge purlin shows but chancel has moulded ribs and purlins with some plain (maybe 19th century replacement) carved bosses. The south aisle roof is the same as the nave. Tall chamfered tower arch. Three-bay arcade with monolithic octagonal piers with soffit-chamfered caps and low arches with double chamfered arch rings. Plastered walls. The reredos (formerly from Church of St. Michael, Chagford) was made in 1868, pulpit and lectern were made in 1853; all are granite and carved in Gothic style by John Agget. They are most unusual. 19th century oak wainscotting in sanctuary 16th century in style. Plain 19th century Gothic timber altar rail and stalls and nave seating now 20th century chairs. South chapel altar is a 17th century oak table with heavy turned legs. 15th century granite font with octagonal bowl, moulded stem and chamfered plinth with probably 17th century ogival oak hood. Oak chancel screen is also original, but was altered in mid or late 16th century. It is five bays with central doorway. Blind ogival tracery on wainscotting and windows have delicate Perpendicular tracery (Persner's Type A). It seems that when rood gallery was removed (blocked door to stairs on north side) the coved parapet was removed. Spandrels then filled with applied foliate motifs separated by distinctively carved posts, all Renaissance in style. Two bands of the original undercut frieze reused but some secondary gesso work. Rear is devoid of ornamentation and missing the 19th century paint which adorns the front complete with transfer pictures of saints. No memorials. East window of aisle includes some 15th century glass featuring fragments of St John and Our Lady with flowers in a delicate grisaille. An attractive and little modernised Dartmoor church.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV134840Article in Serial: Keyser, C. E.. 1898. On the Panel Paintings of Saints on the Devonshire Screens. Archaeologia. 56. Unknown. 183-222.
SDV273922Article in Serial: Hughes, G. W. G.. 1947. Gidleigh. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 79. Unknown. 94-96.
SDV273923Article in Serial: Cresswell, B. F.. 1918-1919. Sepulchral Slabs with Crosses in Devon Churches. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 10 Part 1. Unknown. 7.
SDV273924Article in Serial: Watkin, H. R.. 1930-1934. Seven Hundred Years Ago, AD 1232. Transactions of the Torquay Natural History Society. 6. Unknown. 213.
SDV275393List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Gidleigh. Historic Houses Register. 145.
SDV275412Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1906. 89NE. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 6 inch Map. Map (Paper).
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 455-6.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #96762 ]
SDV348729National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2012. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV359347Monograph: Grumley-Grennan, T. + Hardy, M.. 2000. Gidleigh. A Dartmoor Village Past and Present. Gidleigh. A Dartmoor Village Past and Present. Hardback Volume. 22-29.
SDV365157Report - Watching Brief: Fletcher, M. J.. 2011. Archaeological report on the new works within the Chancel of: Holy Trinity Church. Gidleigh. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV6113Article in Serial: Bligh Bond, F.. 1903. Devonshire Screens and Rood Lofts. Part II. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 35. Digital. 460.

Associated Monuments

MDV33350Related to: Bovice Headstone at Gidleigh Parish Church (Monument)
MDV33351Related to: Brock Headstone at Gidleigh Parish Church (Monument)
MDV114029Related to: Castle Farm, Gidleigh (Building)
MDV33349Related to: Coffin Stone at Gidleigh Parish Church (Monument)
MDV113181Related to: Gidleigh Barton Farm (Monument)
MDV6112Related to: Gidleigh Barton Farmhouse (Castle House), Gidleigh (Building)
MDV114030Related to: Gidleigh Cottage, Gidleigh (Building)
MDV22801Related to: Sampson Headstone at Gidleigh Parish Church (Monument)
MDV33352Related to: Wall and Gateway at Gidleigh Parish Church (Monument)
MDV6144Related to: Worked Stone on road from Gidleigh Parish Church to Chapple (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8859 - Works within the chancel, Holy Trinity Church

Date Last Edited:Nov 8 2022 11:29AM