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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Devon

by Peter Kessler, 16 October 2020

East Devon Part 1: Churches of Poltimore, Huxham & Stoke Canon

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Poltimore, Devon

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Poltimore, stands on the western side of the main road, opposite the Hatchland Road junction. The church is mainly a late fifteenth century construction by the - by then - somewhat elderly William Bampfylde of Poltimore House. The base of the tower may be earlier but no other details seem to remain to describe an earlier church building. It is built of coursed volcanic trap rubble with some Ham Hill and Beer stone dressing and a slate roof.

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Poltimore, Devon

The church underwent a good deal of repair and replacement work in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (the north porch would appear to date to this latter phase). The upper stage of the two-stage tower is late, possibly of 1723 (the date of the bells). Further restoration was undertaken in 1840, and 1868-1869. A major restoration and the addition of the south aisle and clerestory windows took place in 1883-1884, under the direction of R M Fulford.

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Huxham, Devon

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Huxham, is on the northern side of the Huxham Barton westbound lane, perhaps a hundred-and-fifty metres south of the Stoke Canon lane junction at its nearest point. The parish did not have a church at the time of Domesday Book in 1086, but one was erected in the fourteenth century. That was entirely rebuilt during the nineteenth century. The chancel was first on the list, being dealt with in 1864 by John Hayward.

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Huxham, Devon

Next came the nave in 1871, the work being handled by Benjamin Ferrey. The building is constructed from local volcanic stone which was quarried at Thorverton but it is difficult to determine whether or not medieval stonework was reused anywhere in the rebuilt church. In the chancel's north and south windows there are some fragments of medieval glass from the original church. The sandstone font dates from the Norman era. The screen is of late fifteenth century origin.

Church of St Mary Magdalene, Stoke Canon, Devon

The Church of St Mary Magdalene, Stoke Canon, stands at the south-east corner of the High Street and Huxham lane junction, in the centre of the village. Prior to the Norman conquest there may have been a small rural oratory of cob, thatched with osiers, served by a priest from St Peter's monastery in Exeter. When the monastery became the cathedral the endowment of Stoke manor remained with it. In 1148 Stoke was assigned for use of the cathedral canons.

Church of St Mary Magdalene, Stoke Canon, Devon

There appear to have been several buildings consisting of a nave and chancel on the site of the present church, with the addition of the tower in the 1400s. In 1835 the church, apart from the tower, was rebuilt and enlarged. Between 1874 and 1884 the pews were rearranged, probably to accommodate a choir and an organ which was installed in 1879. It also contains a celebrated Norman font, one of the oldest in Devon and certainly the oldest item in the church.

Photos on this page kindly contributed by Alison Day, Jon Combe, Robert Slack, Rex Harris, and Robert Cutts, all via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group.



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