Tavistock Road, Princetown, Yelverton, PL20 6RE
A church built by prisoners of the Napoleonic war
Show full description
This simple, slender-towered Dartmoor church was built between 1812-14 by prisoners captured in the Napoleonic Wars with France, and the War of 1812 with the United States - they were held at Dartmoor prison.
Cherry and Pevsner describe the location on Dartmoor as 'unquestionably the bleakest place in Devon'. It is 436 metres above sea level and exposed to high winds and twice the national average rain fall.
The walls are of local granite and the interior is as plain as the exterior. The east window contains stained glass of 1910 in memory of the American prisoners who helped to build the church.
Opening times on the CCT website
Stoke Beach, Noss Mayo, Revelstoke, Plymouth, PL8 1HE
A picturesque ruin with a monastic feel set dramatically upon a cliff
The rugged remains of this Medieval church sit dramatically on a cliff above Stoke Bay.
It has a strangely monastic feel to it. The aisle and porch have carved wagon roofs, but the rest of this atmospheric church is a picturesque ruin as it was abandoned by parishoners around 1870 in favour of the new church built at Noss.
Torbryan Hill, Torbryan, Newton Abbot, TQ12 5UR
Mighty Medieval church deep in the countryside
The approach to this church, through typical narrow Devon lanes to an isolated and wooded valley, does not prepare you for a building of such size and grandeur.
The church is a perfect example of the Gothic Perpendicular style and was unusually constructed in one 20-year building campaign between 1450 and 1470. The superb, soaring tower rises in three stages, and has an octagonal stair turret which forms a dramatic architectural feature.
As you enter look up at the exquisite and rare fan-vaulted ceiling with four small angels supporting the central ribs of each fan. Inside there is a beautifully carved altar screen that spans the width of the church, dividing the interior with its graceful arches.
Below ithe screen are painted panels of 40 saints – they were once whitewashed, perhaps to save them from the puritanical zeal of the Reformation. The delicacy of the wood carving is echoed by the elegant tracery of the windows, many of which contain Medieval stained glass.
Parts of the original rood-screen were reused, probably in the early 19th-century, to form the pulpit, while at the same time the original pulpit was reconstructed as the altar. The 15th-century oak benches survive but were enclosed in the 18th-century to form box pews.
Tetcott, Holsworthy, EX22 6RB
A church on a hill above a wooded valley
Set on a hillcrest above the lovely wooded Tamar valley, at the end of a long lane with only a farm nearby, this little church is unassuming, but most appealing.
It is mostly Medieval but the low tower was rebuilt in 1791 and there are delightful domestic Georgian sash windows on the north side.
It has a barrel roof, continuous over nave and chancel, a simple 14th century granite font and a fine group of slate headstones in the pretty churchyard.
Cathedral Close, Exeter, EX1 1EZ
A thousand-year-old church in the heart of modern Exeter.
St Martin’s props up the black-and-white building of Mol’s Coffee House on a corner of Exeter’'s historic Cathedral Close. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city, consecrated a year before the Norman Conquest, and was once one of six churches clustered in the cathedral’s shadow.
It is the most important and complete church in the centre of Exeter, having escaped both Victorian refurnishing and the Second World War bombing which severely damaged many other Exeter churches. The first church on this site was consecrated on 6 July 1065 by Bishop Leofric, the same bishop who founded the cathedral in Exeter. Its tiny parish –- smaller than the size of a football pitch –- served the workers and traders who crowded into the three- and four-storey houses in the surrounding streets.
The roughcast exterior of red volcanic stone with bright, white Beer stone windows makes it look a little bit like a fancy gingerbread house. Inside, it is simple and full of light. Look out for the communion rails with their closely set balusters designed, according to a 17th-century order from the Archbishop of Canterbury, to keep parishioner's’ dogs from reaching the altar!
The gallery has painted on it the arms of the city and of Bishop Trelawny, a local hero in Cornwall, who was imprisoned for libel by James II. There are also several magnificent monuments in the church including one of Philip Hooper (a benefactor who donated the reredos) - splendidly bewigged, he kneels at a prayer desk with a skull and pile of books.
North Huish, South Brent, TQ10 9NQ
A stone-spired landmark nestled in the hills below Dartmoor
This beautiful 15th-century, stone-spired church is a landmark in a fold in the hills just below Dartmoor and it has wonderful views to the south.
St Mary's is mainly of the 15th century and the tower and stone spire remain largely unaltered, but inside, the furnishings are mostly Victorian, as are the memorials that line the church walls including one to the widow 'Admonition Strode’
Bradstone, Tavistock, PL19 0QS
A simple church in a picturesque setting
This handsome Medieval church stands in a picturesque, secluded setting by a manor and gatehouse.
It was built in the 12th century, with the with an arcaded north aisle and impressive square tower added in the 15th.
Plastered inside, and lit through clear glass windows, it retains a simple elegance that is surprising given its secluded spot.
Satterleigh, Umberleigh, EX37 9DJ
A tiny atmospheric gem of a country church
The church of St Peter lies deep in the country in the hills above the river Mole.
A creaking Medieval door opens into a charming interior, with a panelled oak roof, carved pulpit, reading desk and beautiful painted texts. Above the pews, the 24 hat pegs are a reminder of the congregation’s size – the church holds no more than 40.
On a sunny day, pretty windows scatter light on the rough, limewashed walls. There is a 15th century font and pretty Victorian tiles.
Church Lane, Parracombe, Barnstaple, EX31 4RJ
Legendary hilltop church with a perfect interior
Set in glorious countryside on the edge of Exmoor this hilltop church seems to be a modest Medieval building, but it is the lovely light Georgian interior with painted texts and wonderful furnishings that have hardly changed for 200 years that make it very special.
The undulating slate floors and leaning arcade only add to the unforgettable charm of this church. There are rails round three sides of the altar, the Ten Commandments painted on a board above a pretty 15th-century screen, a three-tier pulpit with reading desk, box pews, and musicians’ seats raised on steps at the west end.
St Petrock’s is believed to be the last church in Devon to use musicians to accompany the hymns – there is a hole in one of the pews to allow room for the bow of a bass viol. In 1879 there was a proposal to pull the church down because of fears for its stability, and to build a new one on the same site.
The poet John Ruskin led the protests and sent a £10 cheque to support the preservation of the church. The objections were successful and the church was saved.
West Ogwell, Newton Abbot, TQ12 6EW
A winding lane to an unexpected discovery
The winding lane that leads to this Medieval church twists through the countryside, adding to the feeling of discovery when you arrive.
The church has an atmosphere of remote obscurity which belies its closeness to Newton Abbot.
The church stands on a knoll beside the former manor house (built in 1790). The exterior is severely plain - the chancel and nave date from about 1300, with the tower added in about 1400.
The elegant interior, which has box pews, tiered benches in front of the tower screen and elegantly curved communion rails is mostly Georgian, apart from the Medieval roof, 13th-century sedilia and a simple Jacobean pulpit.
There are lovely views from the churchyard.
Email a friend
More Properties In Devon