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HER Number:MDV8959
Name:Chapel, Hind Street, Bovey Tracey


Site of a medieval chapel which was demolished in 1822 to make way for the present Baptist Chapel. Local tradition links the chapel with a former monastery although there is no documentary proof.


Grid Reference:SX 815 785
Map Sheet:SX87NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBovey Tracey
Ecclesiastical ParishBOVEY TRACEY

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX87NW/31

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Timms, S., 02/06/1983, Chapel (Personal Comment). SDV290653.

A post medieval map, possibly early 17th century, of parts of Bovey Tracey gives no relevant information. The map is in the Devon Record Office.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 10/11/1953, SX87NW/5 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV290643.

Site visit 10th November 1953. A chapel stood at bottom of hind street. Rectangular east-west chapel. No ornamentation except round-headed granite doorway on south side with chevron mouldings and grotesque in the centre. Round-headed windows and slated roof. Formerly part of a monastery suppressed before the general suppression. Lands of monastery reverted to the manor. Site of chapel now occupied by Baptist Chapel.

Hyde, H. B., 1921, Bovey Beads, 21 (Monograph). SDV340032.

Hyde, H. B., 1928, Notes of the History (and Legends) of the Parish of Bovey Tracey Alias South Bovey, 171-5, 805 (Monograph). SDV290656.

Hole, M. A., 1930, Sketches of Bovey Tracey and District, 34-35 (Monograph). SDV288939.

Hargreaves, A., 1968, Bovey Tracey History and Legend, 28-29 (Monograph). SDV299525.

Hargreaves repeats an account of W. Ellis of the building that stood on this site, and of its demolition in 1822. The building was 20 feet by 30 feet, with round-topped windows, with a slightly concave roof. During demolition a walled up door of Norman type was discovered under the plaster, and it became clear that the chapel was attached to other buildings. Cromwell's Arch and the arch adjacent to it are said to be part of this building. Hargreaves suggests this 'monastic building' may have been an offshoot of Indio Priory - probably following Ellis in this.

Knowles, D. + Hadcock, R. N., 1971, Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, 461 (Monograph). SDV323253.

There is no documentary evidence for a monastic house in Bovey Tracey.

Laithwaite, J. M. W., 1987, Bovey Tracey (Report - Survey). SDV347714.

Although there is no documentary evidence for a monastic house in Bovey Tracey, there is a long-standing local tradition, dating back to at least the early 19th century, associating the Baptist Chapel in Hind Street and the two medieval arches at the southern end of its burying ground with a former monastery. The tradition appears to have been recorded first by William Ellis who published a number of articles on Bovey in the late 19th century. A typed copy of one of the articles in a scrapbook compiled by Rev. Hyde, vicar of Bovey Tracey from 1908-1923, states that 'there once stood an ancient house, manifestly for the worship of God, where the present Baptist Chapel now stands, or nearly so... This old house was of early Saxon origin.' He describes a porched entrance on the south side, the outer side having a round-headed granite arch, the inner doorway with a similar head. It displayed 'a good specimen of early Saxon work' with a wide transom across the head, with a central grotesque figure. There were chevron mouldings surrounding the doorway, very much like the door of Bishopsteignton church and another at Paignton, but 'more rude'. Round-headed narrow windows. Pillars supporting the little gallery or platform were also stated to be Saxon. The slightly concaved ceiling had 3 or 4 plain bosses. The porch had a stone seat, with room for 3 or 4 on either side. Ornaments resembling the greek cross were sited on the roof ridge at the east end and in the middle. On demolition in 1822 a walled-up doorway with a round head was discovered at the west end, and on demolishing the west wall it was clear that the chapel had once formed a wing of another structure.
Some confirmation of Ellis' opinion that the chapel was a remnant of former, extensive, buildings is provided by 'record books' of the Baptist Chapel, quoted by Hyde. A letter of 1821 complains, '… the date of our very ancient place of worship gives us much concern. It is a building of Popish origin & still bears some vestiges of the superstition of those remote ages. It is supposed to have stood several hundred years, but having undergone frequent repairs, is at length so completely decayed, that it is thought absolutely necessary to rebuild it'.
Another Ellis article, reprinted by M.A. Hole in 1930, implies that Cromwell's Arch had stood in its present position throughout his lifetime, but that the smaller arch, which now forms the south entrance to the cemetery, had been moved from the chapel, presumably in 1822.
Laithwaite concludes that while there is no firm evidence for a monastic building here, it is clear that an early building, possibly ecclesiastical, existed here until 1822.

Tregoning, J., Dec 1983, Untitled Source (Worksheet). SDV290654.

Medieval chapel noted in records of Bovey Tracey Baptist Association for 1921.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV288939Monograph: Hole, M. A.. 1930. Sketches of Bovey Tracey and District. Sketches of Bovey Tracey and District. Unknown. 34-35.
SDV290643Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 10/11/1953. SX87NW/5. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV290653Personal Comment: Timms, S.. 02/06/1983. Chapel.
SDV290654Worksheet: Tregoning, J.. Dec 1983. Worksheet.
SDV290656Monograph: Hyde, H. B.. 1928. Notes of the History (and Legends) of the Parish of Bovey Tracey Alias South Bovey. Notes of the History (and Legends) of the Parish of Bovey Tracey Alias South Bovey. Unknown. 171-5, 805.
SDV299525Monograph: Hargreaves, A.. 1968. Bovey Tracey History and Legend. Bovey Tracey History and Legend. Unknown. 28-29.
SDV323253Monograph: Knowles, D. + Hadcock, R. N.. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales. Unknown + Digital (part). 461.
SDV340032Monograph: Hyde, H. B.. 1921. Bovey Beads. Bovey Beads. Unknown. 21.
SDV347714Report - Survey: Laithwaite, J. M. W.. 1987. Bovey Tracey. Devon Religious Houses Survey. 14. A4 Stapled + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV8960Related to: Archway in Abbey Road, Bovey Tracey (Monument)
MDV20679Related to: Baptist Chapel, Hind Street, Bovey Tracey (Building)
MDV86390Related to: Cromwell's Arch, Abbey Road, Bovey Tracey (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:May 22 2015 10:56AM