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HER Number:MDV8394
Name:St. Peter's Parish Church, Cornworthy


Parish church, 15th century, (font is 12th century) circa early 17th century south porch, refitted in late 18th century and circa 1835; and other work of later 19th century.


Grid Reference:SX 829 555
Map Sheet:SX85NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishCornworthy
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishCORNWORTHY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 5157
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX85NW/3
  • Old Listed Building Ref (B): 100979

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (XV to XIX - 1401 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV159772.

Hoskins, w. G. /devon/(1954)377.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV159773.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV159774.

Masson phillips, e. N.(ed) + worth, r. H. /tda/111(1979)169/church geology.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV159775.

Thompson, a. H. /arch. J. /70(1913)471/church architecture in devon.

South Hams District Council, 2002, Cornworthy Conservation Area Appraisal (Report - non-specific). SDV356439.

The Church of St Peter is mostly 15th century with an early 17th century porch. It is notable for its late 18th century and circa 1835 refittings, with other work dating from the late 19th century. The font is 12th century and is all that remains of the earlier church building. There is a mounting block alongside the church wall that is still visible.

Woodcock, A., 2009, Honeysuckle and Red Sandstone: Some Characteristics of Romanesque Stonecarving in South Devon, 77-92 (Article in Serial). SDV361655.

Mid to late 12th century stone carving in Ashprington, Blackawton, Buckfastleigh, Cornworthy, Dartmouth (St Petrox), Denbury, Paignton, South Brent, Thurlestone, Ugborough and Wolborough.

English Heritage, 2013, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV350785.

Parish church. C15, (font is C12) circa early C17 south porch, refitted in late C18 and circa 1835; and other work of later C19. Slate rubble with slate dressings, the hoodmoulds are of granite and the west doorway of the tower is red sandstone. Slate roof; the nave, chancel and north and south aisles have been reroofed under a single span with a gabled east end with slate coping and simple Latin cross at the apex.
Plan: Nave and chancel in one, west tower, 5-bay north and south aisles, porch at the west end of the south side of the south aisle; vestry formed in the east end of the north aisle which continues up to the east end of the chancel.
All that remains of the early church is the C12 font. The existing church is C15. The aisles might have been built at different periods in the C15 and the south porch is probably an early C17 addition. According to the Exeter Faculty Books the Church was entirely refitted in 1788 (Hoskins) but the box pews and window tracery appear to be C19 and Cresswell suggests that there was a restoration in circa 1835 when the box pews gallery and windows were more likely to have been installed. White's Directory of 1878 states that "the church was recently cleaned and beautified throughout at a cost of upwards of £400", but it seems to have largely escaped Victorian restoration. Exterior: Moulded slate wall plates and chamfered slate plinth moulding. The north aisle has a 6-bay north elevation, the left hand (east) bay is blind, the others have 2-centred arch windows with granite hoodmoulds, their tracery replaced with slender wooden intersecting tracery of circa 1835; buttresses with weathered set-offs between the windows, the end buttresses are diagonal. The south elevation of the south aisle is similar except that bay-5 towards the east end has a large polygonal rood stair turret and bay-l has a gable-ended porch, its circa early C17 round arch dressed slate doorway with a broad ovolo moulding is on the west die. The inner doorway has a moulded granite round arch with quatrefoils and mouchettes in the spandrels and convex stops, the hoodmould is missing but there is a corbel above for an image. The round-head flush-panel door is early C19. The east end window of the south aisle was blocked in circa 1611 when the Harris monument was built in a projection on the south wall of the chancel in the angle with the south aisle. The east end window of the chancel has a wide 4-centred arch window, its granite hoodmould has quatrefoils in the stops; the early C19 replacement tracery has been replaced again in the C20 with wooden intersecting tracery. The east end has diagonal buttresses on the corners and another buttress between the chancel and north aisle, all with weathered set-offs. Tall 3-stage west tower with set-back buttresses with set-offs and an embattled parapet with moulded coping; below the parapet a moulded cornice; the stages also have weathered string courses. The string courses and cornice continue around the polygonal stair turret at the centre of the south side; the turret rises above the tower and has an embattled parapet and window slits. The belfry has a single-light lancet to the left (east) of the stair turret, but the other sides have 2-light bell-openings with straight hoodmoulds, 3-centred arch lights and slate louvres. The middle stage has a clock face on the west side. The bottom stage has a chamfered 2-centred arch red sandstone west doorway with pyramid stops; the door is C20, and a 3-light 2-centred arch window above, its slender intersecting tracery is a C19 replacement.
Interior: The porch entered from the west side has a ceiled circa early C17 wagon roof with moulded ribs; around the inside of the porch a slate bench, the walls are limewashed. The internal wall of the church are plastered and the exposed Beerstone rear-arches are hollow chamfered. The floors are quarry tiled and concrete paved. The nave, chancel and aisle roofs are ceiled but may have early roof structures concealed. The 5 -bay north and south arcades have granite (except for the responds which are Beerstone) monolith A-type piers, moulded Beerstone 4 centred arches and moulded Beerstone capitals, some with foliage carving on the south side and flowers on the north side. The 2 western most arches on the south side and the easternmost arches and their capitals are of granite. The piers have been mutilated to take the rood screen and pulpit. The tall tower arch has an unmoulded 2-centred arch with chamfered imports. There is a chamfered 2-centred arch piscina in the south wall of the chancel south chapel and unmoulded hagioscopes at the east ends of the arcades in the chancel. C15 rood screen the full width of the church, the canopy is missing but it is otherwise largely intact and has some remains of colour including some foliage decorations in the traceried wainscot. The wainscots of the parclose screens are concealed or replaced by early to mid C19 panelling. Good early C18 octagonal pulpit from Ashprington church with fielded panels and pilasters on the corners; the stem has been rebuilt, but the fine sounding board, original to the church, has a carved cornice, ogee dome with a gilded trumpeting angel finial. The pulpit has a brass candelabra and there is a fine C18 brass candelabra in the nave. Circa 1835 panelled box pews in the nave and aisles; at the west end of the pews there are 4 large round corner ports with fluted pinnacles which probably formerly supported the gallery which has been removed. Dado panelling on the aisle walls is continued in the recess under the windows as seats. Good C12 red sandstone font has a short circular stem with a moulded base and hemispherical bowl carved with a frieze of palmettos and a narrower frieze above of saltire crosses. The altar is late C20 and there is no reredos.
Stained Glass: Mid C19 coloured glass in the margins of the north and south windows and mid C19 patterned stained glass in the west window. The east window has clear glass.
Monuments: large early C17 monument to Sir Thomas Harris in recess on south side of chancel dated 1611, beerstone, the chest has large brackets with 2 kneeling figures, above the chest 2 recumbent effigies in contemporary costume and Corinthian columns supporting an entablature with a strapwork frieze, modillion cornice and a pediment with volutes and pilaster flanking a cartouche with an inscription. Slate monument to the right to Lucy Sperway, died 1687 and another to Frances Newton, died 1744. On the south wall of the chancel a slate and marble monument to Thomas Trist died 1742 and a Gothic monument to John F P Phillips died 1865. At the east end of the north aisle a monument to Rickman died 1685?, a wreath around the inscription, pilasters and a round pediment with arcs and a skull below. In the chancel south chapel a large marble wall monument to John Seale, died 1777, with fluted Corinthian columns and was above, signed by W. Pinder of London. On the north wall of the north aisle an alabaster First World War memorial. Bells: The Church Good Commissioners reported 3 bells in the tower. The six existing bells were cast in 1781 by John Christopher Pennington. The interior of the tower was not inspected, but it is said to contain a late C18 clock

Sources / Further Reading

SDV159772Migrated Record:
SDV159773Migrated Record:
SDV159774Migrated Record:
SDV159775Migrated Record:
SDV350785National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2013. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV356439Report - non-specific: South Hams District Council. 2002. Cornworthy Conservation Area Appraisal. South Hams District Council. A2 Folded + Digital.
SDV361655Article in Serial: Woodcock, A.. 2009. Honeysuckle and Red Sandstone: Some Characteristics of Romanesque Stonecarving in South Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 141. Paperback Volume. 77-92.

Associated Monuments

MDV104290Parent of: War Memorial in St. Peter's Church (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Sep 27 2018 3:38PM