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Originator:Meade, H. M.
Summary:The parish church of St. Helen lies in the centre of the village at the junction of the roads from Bideford, Northam and Hartland, with the school next to the churchyard on the north side. There is no record of when the church was built but the fabric was rebuilt in the early 13th century. Cruciform plan, the north transept being in the base of the tower on the north side, and used as the ringing chamber and choir vestry. The roofs are barrel shaped, the nave having 10 bays, each 5 1/2 ft square, with 6 across from north - south, formed by wood divisions and carved bosses at all junctions. At the foot of each rafter is a carved angel, bearing a shield, with the arms of Giffard, Raleigh etc. The chancel roof is much lower than the nave, and has only 4 bays, but the bosses are larger. The walls are 30' thick. The windows are comparatively modern, but there are two mullion windows, with two lights each above the chancel arch. The bench ends are early c16 and have various devices, such as emblems of the passion etc. There are 14 on each side of the aisle. Those in the south transept were probably made in 1846. Norman font with fluted bowl and rope moulding round the top and at the top and bottom of the base. Monuments on the north west wall of the nave is an elaborate carved and coloured (possibly marble) monument to John Willett of Coombe, lord of the manor, who dyed 29.10.1736. On the south wall of the chancel is a memorial to Margaretta Burges 1722, late wife of Samuel Burges, vicar of the church and rector of Instow. A stone plaque on the north wall of the chancel is to Antonius Hony 1639. The east wall of the sanctuary is covered by carved oak panels of worshipping angels and the reredos consists of a carving of the nativity. The whole was put up in 1916 by the Sealy family. There are 3 hexagonal shields about 1ft each side, in the centre of the chancel arch, between the mullioned windows, and one each on the east and north walls of the south transept.

Associated Monuments (4)

MDV476Abbotsham Parish Font (Monument)
MDV475Abbotsham St. Helen (Building)
MDV34050Rickard's Down Quarry, Abbotsham (Monument)
MDV18755Windmill to north west of Abbotsham Cross (Building)