ILFRACOMBE, Devon – St Peter.
The Building News and Engineering Journal of 18 December 1903 carried a report of the completion of this church, as follows:
The new church of St. Peter, in Highfield-road, which has been built from the designs of Mr. G. H. Fellowes Prynne, was consecrated on Thursday in last week by Dr. Robertson, Lord Bishop of the Diocese. The church is not by any means completed, the chapel, clergy vestry, west port entrance, and tower having at present been delayed owing to the want of funds. The portion completed consists of the sanctuary, chancel, choir vestry, organ-chamber, nave, north and south aisle, base of the tower, and the heating chamber, which have occupied seventy weeks to complete. The late Mr. F. W. J. Rees, of Chelmsford, Essex, presented the church with an organ, valued at £1,200. The church is in the style of Late Decorated. When completed it is intended to accommodate 610 persons, besides 40 for the choir. So far about £6,500 has been spent. To complete the church, another £1,500 will be required.
This building is not on the massive scale of the churches of south-east England, but of balanced proportions even so. There is a hint of the restraint seen at St John the Baptist, Horrabridge, with a wide chancel arch and the illusion of a larger east window than is actually there by the widening of the window arch at the sides. The roof is shaped as for Fellowes Prynne’s usual barrel roof, but with the wooden ribs left bare, with decoration on the “barrel ring” structure in the chancel. The usual contrast of colour can be seen, in this case sandstone and Bath stone, with the latter forming the arches. An unusual feature, seen only otherwise at St Michael, Beaconsfield, is the spiral pattern around the pillars, a device clearly borrowed from Norman rather than gothic design, for example Durham Cathedral. See below for an illustration of this detail of a pillar. There is no screen at the entrance to the chancel, just a wall. There is a splendid oak pulpit, again typical of the architect’s design, illustrated below.
Note that finances were tight here as in most places. Dart and Francis submitted and estimate for the choir stalls and priest seats on 17 Jan 1923 of £497.00. By 19 Feb 23 they had managed to reduce it to £355, and got the contract.
The postcard of the exterior was posted in 1905. Those of the interior were not posted, but show the church as it would have looked shortly after completion. The image of the pillar and pulpit light is a detail from the photo postcard of the pulpit.