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© Mr Richard F Lloyd

IoE Number: 352414
Photographer: Mr Richard F Lloyd
Date Photographed: 18 July 2004
Date listed: 30 June 1961
Date of last amendment: 30 June 1961
Grade II*

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SY 09 SE NEWTON POPPLEFORD VENN OTTERY AND HARPFORD 4/92 Church of St. Gregory 30.6.61 GV II* Parimh Church. Tower and font C15, the rest completely rebuilt in 1882 by Packham and Groote of Exeter with woodcarving by Hems of Exeter. Tower is red conglomerate stone rubble with massive dressed quoins, and detail of red conglomerate ashlar and Beerstone ashlar; the rest is local stone randon rubble with Beerstone ashlar quoins and details; slate roof with crested and pierced ridgetiles. Small church. Only the west tower survives from the medieval church. Nave, chancel and south porch are entirely 1882 work although some old work is reused in the porch. The nave projects either side of the tower and is continuous with the chancel although the roof of the latter is slightly lower. Both roofs are steeply pitched and unusually tall. Small unbuttressed C15 west tower in 2 stages with open putlog holes on all sides. It has a chamfered plinth and the upper drip course is soffit-moulded below the embattled parapet. The belfry windows have square-headed reveals and each contain 2-light windows with 3-centred heads and sunken spandrels. The stair turret is internal on the north-western corner and has tiny plain slit windows. The west doorway is of conglomerate ashlar, it is a 2-centred, almost round-headed, arch with hollow-chamfered surround, and contains a C19 plank door. Directly above is a restored 3-light Beerstone window with Perpendicular tracery, moulded hood and external ferramenta. The south side includes a small rectangular light to the ringing loft. The rest of the church is C19. The roof eaves both sides are carried on a series of shaped Beerstone corbel-like brackets. Near the left of the south side of the nave is the porch; it is gabled with bargeboards and a terracotta ball finial at the apex, and the outer arch is a reset late C15 - early C16 2-centred, almost round- headed Beerstone arch with moulded surround. To right the nave has a single 2-light, arch-headed window with Perpendicular tracery and a chimney shaft rises from the south-east corner. The south side of the chancel contains a single lancet containing an ogee arch of tracery and there is another identical opposite on the north side. The east end has a shallow moulding under the gable and contains a 3- light window with Perpendicular tracery and a small lancet ventilator above. The north side of the nave contains 3 2-light windows with Perpendicular tracery. Interior. The porch floor is made up of reset and very worn C18 and C19 slate graveslabs and the roof is a C19 open common rafter roof. The south doorway is another reset late C15 - early C16 Beerstone 2-centred, almost round-headed, arch with moulded surround. It contains an ancient studded oak plank door with moulded coverstrips and large strap hinges. It was rebacked and reset in the C19. The nave has a very tall 3-bay open roof backed with pine boards and carried on 2 arch-braced king post trusses and there is a similar 2-bay roof to the chancel. All the trusses spring from carved Beerstone corbels. The tall plastered tower arch has a chamfered soffit drying into the responds. C19 Beerstone chancel has a double- chamfered arch ring, the inner arch has a moulded cap on a half-engaged column resting high up on a corbel. Red and black tile floor. C17 oak table as altar with turned baluster-like legs and a chip-carved arcade. C19 carved oak reredos comprising a blind arcade with carved foliage in the spandrels and the centre panel taller with an ogee arch, crocketted finials and poppyhead/C19 oak credence to left in Gothic style. Contemporary oak altar rail with wrought iron standards and scroll brackets with repousses fleur-de-lys and roses. The pine stalls have open Gothic arcades across the fronts and medieval-style carved bench ends. Some indeed are reused late C15 - early C16 bench ends and of high quality with moulded frames. One bears the initials BH. Large Gothic pulpit; octagonal drum pulpit with sunken quatrefoil panels containing carved symbols of the evangelists and a sacred monogram. C19 brass lectern with twisted stem and scroll legs on marble base. C19 pine benches with carved bench ends. Again some are reused oak late C15 - early C16 bench ends of high quality; they have moulded frames and are carved with a mixture of blind reticulated tracery and carved foliage. One bears the initials MB and TD and another the intials SQ. The C19 bench ends are carved in a similar style but are much bolder. C15 Beerstone font is plain and unadorned. It has an octagonal bowl, coved underneath to the plain stem and a chamfered base. The ogee-shaped oak hood is C17. C19 pine Gothic-style tower screen. The chancel has some plain C19 marble mural monuments in memory of members of the Mundy Family. 2 graveslabs have been set against the tower arch responds, one in memory of S. Marshall Ayers (died 1708) and another in memory of his wife Elizabeth (d.1715) and another Marshall Ayers (d.1720) and both have different heraldic achievements. The east window has good stained glass of 1913 in memory of Augustus Montague Toplady, author of the hymn 'Rock of Ages' and Vicar of Harpford and Venn Ottery 1766 - 68. The other windows have plain diamond panes of leaded glass with green-coloured margin panes. 3 bells; the treble recast in 1844, the second recast in 1657 by John Pennington of Exeter and the tenor is late C15 by an unknown Exeter founder with the intitials I or LT. The bell frame was rebuilt in 1900. This small church is attractively situated. The tower is all that remains of the medieval fabric. The rest was rebuilt in 1882. The carved late C15 - early C16 bench ends are the most notable feature of the church. Source. Venn Ottery, A brief historical survey. A. J. Prowse (undated). Devon C19 Church Project.

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