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HER Number:MDV887
Name:St. John the Baptist's Parish Church, Bishop's Tawton


Parish church. St. John the baptist. Substantially 14th century, with medieval spire, but much restored, the chancel, s porch and vestry being rebuilt in 1860. Mural monuments to the chichesters of hall in the chancel (hoskins).


Grid Reference:SS 565 301
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBishop's Tawton
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBISHOPS TAWTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Church of England HER: 5212
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/24
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARISH CHURCH (Early Medieval to XXI - 1066 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

Layley, C. G., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV61286.

By 1340 a new church had been built in the contemporary decorated style, light and airy with much larger windows than the previous saxon church on the site. The nave, the chancel arch and tower in a north transeptal position with its two-light east window on the ground floor date from this rebuilding. The north aisle, in the perpendicular style, was added in about 1450, and the chancel was rebuilt in 1864. The wagon roof of the nave is original. The flat roof of the north aisle dates from 1877 and replaced a pitched one (layley).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV77324.

Thompson, a. H. /arch. J. /70(1913)463.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV77325.

Hoskins, w. G. /devon/(1954)338.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV77326.

Brushfield, t. N. /tda/23(1891)264/church of all saints, e. Budleigh.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV77327.

Reichel, o. J. /tda/30(1898)308/the domesday churches of devon.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV77328.

Aph=dap/ai 8(28/6/1984).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV77329.

Des=layley, c. G. /a history of the parishes of bishops tawton and newport, barnstaple/(1985)18.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV77330.

Doe/hhr:bishops tawton/(18/3/1986)15-16.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV77331.

Griffith, f. /devon's past:an aerial view/(1988)73.

BRUSHFIELD, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV102934.

There is a mural painting of st. Christopher on the n wall (brushfield).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV242.

It is thought that the bishop of exeter has an oratory in bishops tawton before the time of the domesday survey. This was one of the ancient possessions of the see of exeter (reichel).

Department of Environment, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV325800.

Parish church. C14 tower and probably nave, the latter remodelled in c15 when north aisle was added. See doe list for full details (doe).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV335.

Parish church. St. John the baptist. Substantially 14th century, with medieval spire, but much restored, the chancel, s porch and vestry being rebuilt in 1860. Mural monuments to the chichesters of hall in the chancel (hoskins).

Orme, N. + Webster, M., 2010, The Medieval Church in North Devon, 49-72 (Article in Serial). SDV361663.

Historic England, 2017, National Heritage List for England, 1366220 (National Heritage List for England). SDV359963.

Parish Church. C14 tower and probably nave, the latter remodelled in C15 when north aisle was added. North aisle restored 1849, chancel rebuilt 1864 and further general restoration of 1878, all by R D Gould. Nave with south porch, chancel, north aisle and north transeptal tower with vestry adjoining. Stone rubble, roughly coursed to north aisle. Squared rubble to chancel. Ashlar dressings. Slate roofs, coped gable ends with apex cross at east end. C19 ball flower ornamentation to the chancel coving. Transeptal tower of 2 stages with parapet; with crocketted octagonal recessed stone spire unique in Devon with weathervane. Buttresses at north-east and north-west corners with offsets. 2-light bell openings on each face with trefoil cusped heads. Hoodmould to west side. Single narrow lancet below bell-opening on east face. North side has pointed arched opening of 2 trefoil-headed lights above pointed arched doorway with double chamfered surround. North aisle projects forward slightly from the tower with diagonal buttress at its north-west corner. 3 buttresses with offsets to parapet sill height divide 3 Perpendicular style C19 windows. 3 lights each. 2 grotesque gargoyles over rainwater heads. North aisle. Pointed arched west window of 3 lights with hoodmould. 2 diagonal buttresses to west end of nave which has 4 light nave window with cinquefoil traceried head and corbelled hoodmould above west door with Pevsner 'B' type moulded surround, hoodmould and framed and ledged plank door. Tall blocked opening with pointed brick arch towards west end of nave to south side probably originally external entrance to west gallery (now removed). Pointed arched window of 3 lights with hoodmould to left of slated south porch into C19 chamfered arch and hoodmould with floriated corbels. Framed and ledged inner south porch doorway. Short buttress to each side of porch. Single C19 3-light pointed arched nave window to right with hoodmould. Buttress with offsets at right end and small blocked opening near to ground level to its immediate left. Two buttresses with offsets to chancel which has two 2-light windows and 3-light east window with pointed arches and hoodmoulds with human head corbels. Vestry has low parapet pierced with trefoils along east side. 4-centred arched 2-light window in east side with floriated corbels to the hoodmould. East doorway with nowy-arched head and probably reset C13 lancet to its right. North arcade of 3 1/2 bays. Perpendicular except easternmost pier replaced in C19. Ceiled waggon roof to nave with carved bosses at the intersections of the ribs and purlins and moulded timber wall plate. Trabeated roof to north aisle of 12 panels with carved bosses along the central spire and half-bosses to the ends of each cross member. C19 waggon style roof to chancel. Elaborately patterned tiled C19 reredos with "And if Christ be not risen then is our preaching vain" along the headrail and "And your faith is also vain" to the bottom rail. C19 tiles to altar step. Priests door with pointed arched hoodmould and foliated corbels. C19 pointed chancel arch with human head corbels. North transeptal arch has blind tracery to the heavy faceted corbels. C19 pulpit. 5 facets to the drum with short colonnettes between the twin trefoil-headed arches. Stone base also has engaged colonettes with foliated capitals. C19 nave seating with poppy head bench ends to 5 front pews on south side. C18 Font has lead-lined octagonal bowl on squat round stem and lobed plinth, wrought iron font crane to cone cover swept up to finial top with crocketed ribs. Blind traceried panels to the 8 facets with short corner finials. Mid C16 short timber screen of 3 sections to east end of north aisle, each bay of 4 lights with 2 large cinquefoil headed panels to the base, crenellated top rail and crested cornice. Foliated design to stone top rail to north aisle altar. Monuments. Chancel south side with tablet to Anne, wife of Thos Hutton, eldest daughter of Charles Chichester d.1834 above charming C17 round arched wall monument. Shield above plaque to infant daughter of Charles Dart and Rose his wife d. 1652, epitaph with baby in swaddling clothes on console shield with scrolling surround. Elaborate wall monument to Frances Chichester died 1698. Shield with 2 angels flanked by classical urns above nowy arch with fluted cornice supported on Corinthian colonettes with caryatids outside with Ionic capitals. Richly carved surround with ferns, cherubs heads etc. Cherubs heads to the consoles flanking central Chichester achievement and skeletons head. Wall monument to Lady Ursula Chichester d.1635. Swan-necked pediment with shield above semi-circular headed surround with shields to the spandrels to praying female figure flanked by Ionic colonettes and plaque to base. 3 marble wall tablets at each end of nave south side flanking plaque with oval medallion to John Pyke and family late C18/early C19. North wall of north aisle has 2 late C19 wall monuments by Physick of London, flanking wall monument depicting weeping female clasping urn on pedestal, all to members of the Law family. Wall monument at east end of north aisle to John Mulys of Halmestone d.1633. North wall of chancel has marble wall tablet to John Yeoman rector, d.1826 and large wall monument to John Chichester d.1669. Central achievement with shields to each side of broken, semi-circular arched pediment, supporting reclining putti. Corinthian colonettes flank central plaque with 3 heads in the cornice with scrolling wings and skull to the base. Perp. table tomb recess below with stone table top to John Chichester and plaque in wall behind to widow of John Chichester of Hall Esq. Charity board to base of tower. Old ledged door to vestry. All windows have C19 stained glass, principally to Chichester and Law families.
Date first listed: 25th February 1965.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV102934Migrated Record: BRUSHFIELD.
SDV242Migrated Record:
SDV325800Migrated Record: Department of Environment.
SDV335Migrated Record:
SDV359963National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2017. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1366220.
SDV361663Article in Serial: Orme, N. + Webster, M.. 2010. The Medieval Church in North Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 142. Paperback Volume. 49-72.
SDV61286Migrated Record: Layley, C. G..
SDV77324Migrated Record:
SDV77325Migrated Record:
SDV77326Migrated Record:
SDV77327Migrated Record:
SDV77328Aerial Photograph:
SDV77329Migrated Record:
SDV77330Migrated Record:
SDV77331Migrated Record:

Associated Monuments

MDV885Related to: Cross Pedestal south of the Parish Church in Bishops Tawton (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Aug 2 2018 9:20AM