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HER Number:MDV8368
Name:Slapton, St James


St James Parish Church in Slapton built in the 14th to 15th century with 13th century origins and later alterations


Grid Reference:SX 821 449
Map Sheet:SX84SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishSlapton
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSLAPTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 5199
  • National Monuments Record: 1571773
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX84SW/4
  • Old Listed Building Ref (B): 99889

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (XIII to XX - 1201 AD to 2000 AD (Between))

Full description

Unknown, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV342110.

The church was damaged in military operations on 8th December 1945. Some people believe the secular college at Slapton was separate from the parish church.

Thompson, A. H., 1913, Church Architecture in Devon, 464,485 (Article in Serial). SDV15387.

Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: South Devon, 263 (Monograph). SDV336217.

Low west tower with plain broach spire. Chancel with 14th century windows. Aisles are later.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 479 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Yallop, H. J., 1959, Slapton College, 138-48 (Article in Serial). SDV342109.

The parish church at Slapton was dedicated to St James the Greater and beside it there was the chapel of St Mary which was probably the private chapel of the lords of the manor. Earliest reference to the church is in 1274 when the patron was Guy de Brian. It has a medieval spire and is mainly 14-15th century.

Department of Environment, 1960, Stokenham (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV158220.

The fabric is of 13th century origin. The tower has the broach spire characteristic of the area. Porch is two storeyed. Rood screen across the church in three sections; it is daubed with brown paint obliterating the original colour and the vaulting is missing. Square framed parclose screen on north and south of chancel. Plain 15th century font with 17th century cover. The pulpit is late medieval with carved spandrels and old colour in red and white.

Department of Environment, 1967, Stokenham (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV321701.

Church of St James parish church in Slapton built in the 13th or early 14th century with tower. Early 14th century chancel and 15th or early 16th century nave, aisles and north porch; restored in 1905. Slate rubble, slate roofs with stone-coped gable ends. Plan and development: The existing church comprises:- nave and chancel 4-bay north and south aisles, 2 storey north porch with stair turret in the north west angle and west tower with spire. Bishop Stapledon dedicated the altar in 1318 and the chancel is of this date. The west tower is probably 13th century (the first rector 1274-5) or also early 14th century. After the foundation of the Collegiate Chantry in 1372 the parish church lapsed into poverty, its tithes being appropriated to the Chantry, one of whose priests was appointed to the church. The nave was rebuilt when the north and south aisles and north porch were added in the 15th or early 16th century. According to Davidson (1842) west galleries were erected in 1832. The church was restored in 1905 at a cost of £1,000.
Exterior: North aisle has one 3-light and two 4-light 19th century restored Perpendicular windows with buttresses and polygonal stair turret between; similar 3 and 4-light east and west windows in north aisle have gabled 2 or 3-storey porch on right (west) end of north side of aisle with polygonal stair turret in west angle with moulded embattled parapet and small lancet; massive roll-moulded and hollow chamfered almost round arched doorway with trefoils in spandrels and label; 2 tier window above with round-headed lights and hood mould with corbel above. Inner doorway has double ovolo and fillet moulded 2-centred arch Beerstone frame and Medieval studded door with large wrought-iron hinges and circa 17th century cover moulds. The south aisle has 19th century 3 and 4-light perpendicular windows similar to those on north aisle and with buttresses between with set-offs; similar windows in east and west ends of south aisle. Small north doorway with doublecyma 2-centred arch. On each of north and south sides of chancel a 14th century 2-centred arch 2-light cusped tracery window with hood mould; small priest's doorway on south side has double ovolo 2-centred arch with hoodmould and broach stops. 3-light east window with restored circa 15th century tracery and hood mould. Chamfered slate plinth around whole of church except for chancel. Unbuttressed west tower with slight batter and diminished top stage with stone octagonal spire with rendered broaches and moulded finial with weathervane. The top stage has slit bell-openings with slate louvres and similar slits below on north and south sides. Large 3-light west window with 19th centruy Perpendicular tracery and small 19th century Perpendicular window below probably block doorway. In the angle of the tower and south aisle a circa late 19th century lean-to outshut. Against the porch chamber stair turret is what appears to be a short section of a cross shaft with chamfered corners.
Interior: The walls are plastered, the floors paved in slate. Hollow chamfered Beerstone rear arches. Beerstone 4 bay north and south arcades of Type A with wide 2-centred arches, shafts at the corners of the piers, the chamfer between rising into the arches (hollow chamfer on the north arcade and wide recessed chamfer on the south side); carved foliage capitals to the shaft only and with moulded bases. Very tall narrow 2-centred tower arch with chamfered imposts. Late 19th century arch-braced roof on wooden corbels to nave aisles and chancels. The east window has nook-shafts. Small 13th or 14th century piscina on south side of chancel with cusped moulded arch with broach stops. Rood stair doorway restored. Porch chamber doorway has double ovolo 2-centred arch. Small 2-centred arch piscina on south side of east end of south aisle. Good but restored carved wooden screen across nave and aisles complete with parclose screens in east bays of arcades but canopy missing. Construction of rood stair is said to be unusual. Plain stone octagonal font with thick octagonal stem with broach stops and 18th century font cover in form of an ogee dome with a finial. Davidson states (1842) that the old font "recently reduced in size". Mid to late 19th century benches in nave, south aisle and choir. Late 19th and 20th century carved wooden reredos, communion table, altar rail, octagonal pulpit, eagle lectern, font rails and tower screen. Charles II Royal arms over south doorway, painted on board with shaped head. There are no important monuments. East corridor of chancel has 20th century glass but some armorial glass was restored in 1911. 5 bells, 4 of 1775 and 1 of 1858. Other details: LBS Number 99889.

Knowles, D. + Hadcock, R. N., 1971, Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, 418, 439 (Monograph). SDV323253.

Slapton had a secular college which was situated in the parish church.

Griffith, F. M., 1984, DAP/DX, 12-13 (Aerial Photograph). SDV342111.

Unknown, 2007, Stokenham '07 (Report - Excavation). SDV342104.

Pink, F., 2014-2015, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment (Interpretation). SDV357736.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV15387Article in Serial: Thompson, A. H.. 1913. Church Architecture in Devon. Archaeological Journal. 70. Unknown. 464,485.
SDV158220List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1960. Stokenham. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 479.
SDV321701List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1967. Stokenham. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV323253Monograph: Knowles, D. + Hadcock, R. N.. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales. Unknown + Digital (part). 418, 439.
SDV336217Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: South Devon. The Buildings of England: South Devon. Paperback Volume. 263.
SDV342104Report - Excavation: Unknown. 2007. Stokenham '07. University of Exeter. A4 Stapled.
SDV342109Article in Serial: Yallop, H. J.. 1959. Slapton College. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 91. A5 Hardback. 138-48.
SDV342110Personal Comment: Unknown.
SDV342111Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1984. DAP/DX. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 12-13.
SDV357736Interpretation: Pink, F.. 2014-2015. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1

Associated Monuments

MDV8369Parent of: Rood Screen at St James Parish Church, Slapton (Building)
MDV107079Parent of: Slapton World War I Roll of Honour (Monument)
MDV107080Parent of: Slapton World War II Roll of Honour (Monument)
MDV8370Parent of: Stained Glass at St James Parish Church, Slapton (Find Spot)
MDV8350Related to: St Mary's College Tower at Slapton (Building)
MDV8349Related to: St Mary's College, Slapton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4480 - Excavation in Manor Field, Stokenham
  • EDV4483 - Slapton Parish Churchyard Survey

Date Last Edited:Dec 8 2017 10:50AM