Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Hams (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 80473 50951


BLACKAWTON SX85SW Church of St Michael 2/18 26.1.67 GV I

Parish church. C14 chancel and possibly tower; nave and aisle rebuilt in circa later C15 or early C16. Restored in 1887, 1893, 1895 and 1898. Local shale rubble with granite and some red sandstone dressings slate roof. Plan and development: The existing plan comprises:- nave, narrower chancel, 6-bay north aisle and 4-bay south aisle with a porch in the angle at the west end, west tower and a vestry at the east end of the north aisle. All that remains of the C14 church is the chancel, the altar of which was dedicated in 1333 by Bishop Grandisson, and possibly the west tower. The rest of the church, ie the nave and aisles was rebuilt in the late C15 or early C16, although the circa C14 south doorway might be in situ. The south porch is of uncertain date. The vestry on the north side of the chancel was added probably in the C19. In 1766 the church was reseated. The church was restored in 1887 when the roofs were repaired and it was refloored and reseated at a cost of £700 (Kelly 1889). The chancel and vestry were restored in 1893 and the chancel reroofed in 1893. In 1898 most of the windows were renewed. Exterior: The 4-bay south aisle has 4 large Perpendicular style 4 centred arch windows with original hoodmoulds but renewed tracery; between the windows buttresses has a slate sundial dated 1736. Blocked window in east end of south aisle and gabled porch in the angle of the west end of south aisle and gabled porch in the angle of the west end of south aisle. The porch has a dressed slate 2-centred arch, late C19 or C20 gates and a circa C14 2-centred arch inner doorway with ovolo and cavetto mouldings and an C18 fielded panel door. The roof the porch has been replaed. To the left, west, of the porch 3-light nave window with replaced Perpendicular style tracery. The long 6-bay north aisle has 6 Perpendicular granite windows with 4- centred arches with hoodmoulds, buttresses between the windows with concrete weathering to the set-offs and between the 2 eastermost windows the rectangular-plan rood stair turret with a slate roof. Both the east and west end windows of the north aisle have been blocked. The chancel has late C19 as early C20 Perpendicular style 3-light east window and 2 smaller 3-light Perpendicular style south windows. The priests doorway on the south side has a cavetto and rounded moulding and 2-centred arch. The early north windows have been blocked by the later C19 vestry which has a doorway and window on its east gable end. The tall west tower is in 2 stages with a string course, an embattled parapet on a corbel table, diagonal buttresses and a polygonal stair turret on the south side also with a corbelled parapet whose battlements are missing. 2-light bell-openings, only the east and north openings have traceried 2-Centre arches, the west opening like the 3-light west window below has its traceried window replaced by a circa C17 granite mullion flat- headed window with a hoodmould. The west doorway, a slate, almost round arch its original moulded frame probably having been removed; the west door in C20. Interior: The interior walls are plastered and limewashed. The floors are paved in slate. The nave and aisles have C15 or early C16 waggon roofs with moulded ribs but the plaster panels have been removed. The chancel has a late C19 waggon roof. Similar north and south arcades, north arcade 6 bays, south arcade 4 bays; B-type piers with shafts of the corner and wave moulding between, carved foliage capitals, one capital on the north side has arms of TOrre Abbey and one on the south side has arms of the see of Exeter; moulded 2-centred arches. The window rear arches are cavetto moulded. The tower arch is blocked. Doorway to the tower stair has a chamfered round arch. A2-centred arch road stair doorway rebated for a door (missing). The chancel is narrower and has an oddly adapted chancel arch; and a good C14 triple sedilia on the south side with an integral double piscina; the sedilia had cusped arches and hoodmoulds, the double piscina has corbelled basins and quatrefoil tracery with a hoodmould. On the north side of chancel 2 blocked lancets and a moulded 2-centred arch doorway now giving access to the vestry. Furnishings: Rood screen across nave and south aisle only, heavily restored and loft and canopy missing in south aisle but some of the original blue and red colour survives and the wainscot panels are painted with Renaissance designs with grotesque heads animals and shields displaying enblems of the crucifixion; 2 panels have initials "K" and "HVIII" for Katherine of Aragon and Henry VIII. The south aisle has C18 fielded panel dado probably of 1766 the date of the C18 reseating and the north aisle has some C19 dado panelling. C19 softwood benches and choir stalls. There is a low gallery at the west end with an C18 (probably 1766) panelled front with painted graining. Octagonal carved wood pulpit with blank arcaded panels strapwork frieze and guilloche band appears to be Jacobean but Cresswell states that it is C16 and originally it was set on the roof loft. Good Norman font in red sandstone, the round bowl has a frieze of palmettos with cable-moulding above and zigzag below; a circular item and moulded base Royal Arms of Charles II in south aisle dated 1680 with flanking texts. Hatchment in north aisle. Simple late C19 organ by Sims of Ryde (I.O.W.), provided in 1900 and set on platform made from parclose screen. Six bells, 5 of which were cast in 1782. Monuments: Fine brasses to Nicholas Ford died 1583 and Margaret his wife died 1588, 2 figures on ledger stone at centre of nave. Slate on north wall of chancel dated 1669 to Grace Stuer. Late C17 or early C18 wall monument in south aisle in moulded frame with cornice and another to William Roche died 1754. Also in south aisle a tomb chest to Richard Sparke, died 1700, with wrought iron railings of the Cholwiche family memorials the oldest is a floor stone to Richard Cholwich died 1646.

Listing NGR: SX8047250954


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 05 Jan 2002
Reference: IOE01/05581/17
Rights: Copyright IoE Kenneth Dent. Source Historic England Archive
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