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HER Number:MDV8607
Name:Holy Trinity Church, Torbryan


Fifteenth century church with a 19th century vestry.


Grid Reference:SX 819 668
Map Sheet:SX86NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishDenbury and Torbryan
Ecclesiastical ParishTORBRYAN

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 15883
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX86NW/10
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 431865

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (Built, XV - 1401 AD to 1500 AD (Between))

Full description

MORRIS, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV24281.

In 1931, action was taken against dampness. Green mould was also removed from the church. Box pews with candlesticks struck along the top were to remain as the only form of lighting.18th century interior (morris).

TATE, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296920.

Short article on the altar, which may have been converted from use as a pulpit. It is finely carved and great variety of design has been used (tate).

Cox, J. + Dare, P., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296923.

Vested in the redundant churches fund. Tower conserved by clearing old render (partly 15c) and replacing with soft lime mortar. Lead on tower roof was replaced, incorporating 18c graffiti. Tower roof timbers repaired, preserving the original where possible (cox and dare).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296925.

Hoskins, w. G. /devon/(1954)499.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296926.

Pevsner, n. /buildings of england: south devon/(1952)288-9.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296927.

Morris, j. E. /jbaa/37(1931)247-252/notes from country correspondents.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296928.

Cornelius, c. F. /tda/78(1946)123-152/parish churches within ten miles of newton abbot.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296929.

Cornelius, c. F. /tda/83(1951)217-234/effigies and memorials.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296930.

Howard, f. E. /arch j. /68(1911)16,39/fan vaults.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296931.

Thompson, a. H. /arch j. /70(1913)471,478,481,485,487,/church architecture in devon.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296933.

Rushforth, g. Mc. N. /dcnq/17(1932-1933)249,253/the iconography of st. Sidwell.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296934.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296935.

Cox, j. + dare, p. /dbg newsletter/5(1988)23-25/the conservation of holy trinity church,torbryan.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV296936.


Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV296937.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV296938.

Des=fletcher,m. J. /the archaeological assessment of repair + restoration work in holy trinity, torbryan/(march 1999)/in pf.

Department of Environment, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV326484.

Church of the holy trinity. Early c15, with c19 vestry. Roughcast rendered stone with slate roof. Nave, chancel, north and south aisles, west tower south porch. Vestry at east end of north aisle. Coloured medieval glass in heads of most of the windows. Wagon roof to nave and chancel, possibly restored in 1807.
Medieval wood rood screen across nave and aisles with parclose screens of slightly different design across the eastern arch of each aisle
See doe list for full details (doe).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV335.

Parish church of the holy trinity. Entirely an early 15th century building. White beerstone arcades (hoskins).

Fletcher, M., Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV10257.

During repair + restoration undertaken in 'holy trinity' church in 1999 suspended floors were lifted in the choir pews + in the north + south chapels. Three limestone slabs were uncovered in the south chapel + interpreted as the cover stones for a vault which had been inserted into the chapel. Glazed floor tile fragments were found beneath the present floor levels in both chapel + the eastern part of the church (fletcher).

Howard, F. E., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV102586.

Ribs of fan vaulting in porch are not structural - they only add decoration. A fine yet small example (howard).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV177625.

West tower of totnes type, on the south, buttresses are niches for figures standing on head corbels. The south porch is embattled and there is a projecting chancel. The altar, font cover, pulpit, rood screen, pens and stained glass are briefly described (pevsner).

RUSHFORTH, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV44526.

The east window contains representations of st. Sidwell and st. Zita (rushforth).

Loftus-Brock, E. P., 1883, The Peculiarities of the Ancient Churches of Devonshire, 27-34 (Article in Serial). SDV19516.

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

Tate, A. L., 1901, The Altar at St Torbryan Church (Article in Serial). SDV296932.

Although there is no documentary evidece I feel that the altar of Torbryan churhc was once a pulpit and has been altered and converted to its present use. It is a curious mixture as regards the cornice and bas mould. The craving is very beautiful and seems to be the work of an artist.

There is a plate of the carvings of Torbryan Church Altar facing page 241.

Bligh Bond, F., 1903, Devonshire Screens and Rood Lofts. Part II, 490 (Article in Serial). SDV6113.

A fine perpendicular screen, dating from about 1430, crosses the church. It retains much of its old enrichment. The long panels are painted. The pulpit is of the same date. Both painted and gilt. Altar table of richly carved 15th century oakwork, probably part of an old rood loft front.

Salmon, J., 1941, The Windmill in Medieval Art, 95 (Article in Serial). SDV363030.

One of the panels on the rood screen depicts St Victor of Marseilles. His right hand holds a drawn sword and his left hand holds a post-mill. This is probably the only representation of this saint in England.

Dick, A. M., 2013, Theft of Rood Screen Panels (Personal Comment). SDV351901.

13/08/2013 BBC News reports the theft of two 15th century rood screen panels.

British Broadcasting Corporation, 2013, Torbryan Screen panels Stolen from Holy Trinity church, Photo (Website). SDV351902.

Two decorative oak panels, each containing a painting of a saint were stolen between 2nd and 9th August 2013. The two stolen panels show images of St. Victor of Marseilles and St. Margaret. Another panel that has been damaged carries an image of a female saint.

Minchin, R., 2015, Church panels recovered but in need of major restoration (Article in Serial). SDV363028.

A pair of 15th century medieval panels hacked out of the rood screen have been recovered and a campaign has been launched to restore them. The panels depict St Victor of Marseilles and St Margaret of Antioch.

Historic England, 2019, National Heritage List for England, 1249658 (National Heritage List for England). SDV362730.

Church of the Holy Trinity. Parish church. Early C15, with C19 vestry. Roughcast rendered stone with slate roof. Nave, chancel, north and south aisles, west tower, south porch; vestry at east end of north aisle. Aisles have (with one exception); identical Perpendicular windows of four ogee-headed cinquefoiled lights, four to north and four to south. At the east end of north wall of aisle is a further 3-light window of slightly different design, matching that of the south chancel window. The mouldings of these two windows in turn match those of the 3-light windows at the east end of each aisle, these differing in having a large rose in the head of the arch. The south aisle window, however, is mainly a C19 or C20 replica. The north chancel window and the west window of the south aisle are simpler, with two ogee- headed cinquefoil lights. The east window is of five lights, matching the design of all but one of the aisle windows. Three-stage tapering tower with weathering string-course above each stage and battlements at the top, each surmounted by a pinnacle with small shrines in each face. These rise off corner stones with tapered tops and some reworking may have been involved. Each face is flanked by a buttress set off each corner, the east buttress of the south face having in the second stage an ornate empty niche with ogee head and finial; remnant of similar niche in west buttress. In centre of south face a five-sided stair turret with slit windows rising to a crenellated top. In west face a doorway with two-centred arch, having a heavy three-quarter-round moulding, the whole set in a rectangular moulded frame. Above it is a straight-headed early C16 window of two segmental- headed lights, the hood-mould with square carved terminals. In second stage a single-light window with two-centred arch. Belfry has a two-light opening with two-centred heads to the lights in all but the south face, which has a similar single-light glazed window at either side of stair turret. North aisle has at west end a rectangular stair turret (leading to aisle roof) with splayed corner, and in north wall a five-sided stair turret to former rood loft. Outline of small blocked doorway with round head visible to west of latter. In south wall of chancel a priest's doorway, moulded and with two-centred arch. South porch is two-storeyed with angle-buttresses; three-sided stair turret (to upper chamber) in angle with south aisle. Inner and outer doorways moulded and with two-centred arches. Interior has stone seats at either side and a white-limestone fan-vault with trefoil-headed and quatrefoil panels, the ribs carved with four angels. Upper storey has straight-headed two-light window with hood-mould, the lights with ogee cinquefoiled heads and carved spandrels. Both aisles and porch have battlements, these being carried round the stair turret. Interior: nave has five two-centred arches on each side, the piers of diamond section with an attached column a each angle and wave-mouldings in between, the capitals carved with foliage. Piscinas at east end of south wall of south aisle and in south wall of chancel, the former with two-centred arch, the latter ogee-headed, both cinque-foiled. In north wall of north aisle stairs to former rood loft have plain round-headed doorway below and chamfered doorway with 2-centred arch above. 2-centred tower arch with chamfered imposts. Aisle roofs flat with moulded intersecting beams. Wagon-roof to nave and chancel, possibly restored (parish register says roof first ceiled in 1807). Fittings: coloured medieval glass in heads of most of the windows. Medieval wood rood screen across nave and aisles with parclose screens of slightly different design across the eastern arch of each aisle. Rood screen has give 2-centred arches across have and three across each aisle. Arches are of four ogee-headed cinquefoiled lights with corresponding panels beneath carrying an almost complete set of Pre-Reformation painted figures. Head-beams carved with fruit and foliage. Parclose screens each have doorway with segmental head to east, and 2 windows to west with three ogee-headed cinquefoiled lights under a two-centred arch. Octagonal font with plain bowl, each face of shaft with a cinquefoil-headed panel; early C17, ogee-shaped wooden cover. Seven-sided elaborately carved wood pulpit on imitation medieval base (the pulpit itself said to be made up of pier casings from the rood screen); it has a shaft carved with foliage in the centre of each of five faces, this being flanked by trefoil-headed panels. Complete set of medieval pews in nave, eight each side of centre gangway; bench-ends as far as can be ascertained carved with trefoil-headed panels. Enclosing these a complete set of early C18 box-pews with raised-and-ovolo-moulded panels. Monument: on north wall of chancel, slate plaque in a limestone frame, to William Peter of Tornewton (d.1614) and wife nicely (d.1600). Flanking piles are decorated with pendants of ribbons and a skull; round arch, scrolls and coats-of-arms.
Date first listed: 23rd August 1955

Sources / Further Reading

SDV10257Report - Survey: Fletcher, M..
SDV102586Migrated Record: Howard, F. E..
SDV134840Article in Serial: Keyser, C. E.. 1898. On the Panel Paintings of Saints on the Devonshire Screens. Archaeologia. 56. Unknown. 183-222.
SDV177625Migrated Record:
SDV19516Article in Serial: Loftus-Brock, E. P.. 1883. The Peculiarities of the Ancient Churches of Devonshire. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 39. Unknown. 27-34.
SDV24281Migrated Record: MORRIS.
SDV296920Migrated Record: TATE.
SDV296923Migrated Record: Cox, J. + Dare, P..
SDV296925Migrated Record:
SDV296926Migrated Record:
SDV296927Migrated Record:
SDV296928Migrated Record:
SDV296929Migrated Record:
SDV296930Migrated Record:
SDV296931Migrated Record:
SDV296932Article in Serial: Tate, A. L.. 1901. The Altar at St Torbryan Church. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 1. A5 Paperback.
SDV296933Migrated Record:
SDV296934Migrated Record:
SDV296935Migrated Record:
SDV296936Aerial Photograph:
SDV296937Aerial Photograph:
SDV296938Migrated Record:
SDV326484Migrated Record: Department of Environment.
SDV335Migrated Record:
SDV351901Personal Comment: Dick, A. M.. 2013. Theft of Rood Screen Panels.
SDV351902Website: British Broadcasting Corporation. 2013. Torbryan Screen panels Stolen from Holy Trinity church. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-23681251. Website. Photo.
SDV362730National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2019. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1249658.
SDV363028Article in Serial: Minchin, R.. 2015. Church panels recovered but in need of major restoration. Western Morning News. Newspaper + Digital.
SDV363030Article in Serial: Salmon, J.. 1941. The Windmill in Medieval Art. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 6. Unknown. 95.
SDV44526Migrated Record: RUSHFORTH.
SDV6113Article in Serial: Bligh Bond, F.. 1903. Devonshire Screens and Rood Lofts. Part II. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 35. Digital. 490.

Associated Monuments

MDV104715Parent of: War Memorials in Holy Trinity Church (Monument)
MDV8626Related to: Torbryan, Church House Inn (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 4 2021 12:28PM