WOODLEIGH, Devon – St Mary.

Restoration 1890-91

The Western Morning News reported on the completion of the restoration in its edition of 29 December 1891.  It noted that Fellowes Prynne was the architect, and that the contract had been given to Messrs. Farr and Sons, of West Alvington, who

…carried it out in a thoroughly satisfactory manner.  The tower has been coped with granite as it was found that the stones at the top were quite loose and all the mortar was washed out.  It has also been re-roofed, leaded, and pointed throughout with cement.  All the roofs of the building have been entirely renewed, the inside shewing oak boarding on a circular sweep, with oak purlin and ribs and bosses at the intersections.  Inside the chancel roof has been treated the same way; the principals and slating, however, were in fairly good order before.  The walls have been stuccoed with blue lias, these being previously covered with curious paintings in distemper.  An attempt was made to preserve these, but they have been so white-washed over and over again that this was found to be impossible.  Wood-framed windows have been replaced by granite, while those of stone have been renewed and pierced, the whole being filled with Cathedral glass. …the Hendham transept has been given up for use as a vestry and organ chamber.  The space underneath the tower, which formerly served for this purpose, is now converted into a baptistery.  All the floors are tiled, and the pews, which have a flooring of Farr’s patent wood blocks, are of red deal, stained and varnished.  The chancel arch has been rebuilt and coigned [quoined] with granite, a step of this material being placed at the entrance, and another at the altar rails.  On the north wall of the chancel, a window which has been walled up for years, has been opened, and the splays built with leaders and stretchers resting on granite sills.  Within the chancel a rise is made by three steps of white Sicilian marble and encaustic tiles.  This alteration, which apparently is the restoration of the original levels, necessitated the shortening of the east window by two feet, thus very much improving its proportions.  A handsome carved lectern has been given and for a time will also serve as a pulpit.  In the north wall of the chancel is an old eastern sepulchre, which has been carefully preserved.

Externally local stone blocks were used, pointed with red cement as seen at Budleigh Salterton & Exmouth.

Observation indicates other items such as the pulpit are probably be to Fellowes Prynne’s specification, but they are unconfirmed. As well as the renewed window stonework, some external details also suggest the architect’s input; there is a stone marking completion of the work set into the east wall (seen in the illustration of the east window tracery).

The restoration was completed at a cost of more than £1200. .


The photograph shows the exterior of the church.