St Mary's Church, West Worlington

This page offers some information about St Mary's Church, West Worlington.
 Church Wardens

 Patrick Brook
01884 860978
 Charles Mills
01884 860651
St Mary’s, West Worlington is a good example of a small Devon Parish Church built in the perpendicular style of archit-ecture during what might perhaps be called the ‘Devon Perpendicular’ period, when so many Devon churches were built or rebuilt in this style, and very much to this plan, that is a nave and chancel without structural division between them, no clere-story, and often one or perhaps two side-aisles according to the size and importance of the parish.
It well demonstrates the type of work carried out by local and itinerant craftsmen particularly in the wood furniture such as roof-bosses and bench-ends.



 The time-scale for the construction of the church given by Professor W.G.Hoskins, the Devon historian, in his book DEVON (a volume in ‘A new survey of England’ published by Collins) is:-
Tower 13th century (possibly rebuilt 17th).
Chancel 14th century.
Nave & south aisle 15th century.
Bench-ends probably 16th century.
The delicate, modest little parclose screen near the east end of the south aisle is a late type of carving, circa 1500.
   “One should never fail” writes Hoskins, “to raise one's eyes to the roof of a Devonshire church.”
Here at Worlington the original wagon or barrel roof with its beautifully carved and decorated bosses, one of which (near the south door) depicts the Virgin Mary, is certainly a crowning glory. Running as it does, and as is usual in Devon, the entire length of the church in an unbroken line, except for the ceilinged chancel, it adds greatly to the serene beauty of the interior.
The bench-ends are unusual, and highly individualistic, no two being alike. They were probably made by itinerant craftsmen, who would have lodged in the cottage below the church gate. The benches, other woodwork and their supporting floor have been the subject of a major restoration programme over the last five year. The tower supports a fine peal of six bells, and the famous twisted spire of wooden shingles. This was severely damaged by a direct stroke of lightning on 6th July 1976, being restored by gallant local fund raising efforts and the assistance of many friends and well-wishers of this lovely church. The bells were refurbished in 2002 with the aid of a National Lottery grant.  
  On each side-wall of the chancel is a Stucley family memorial, a family which for many years has been associated with West Village and Church. The east end of the side-aisle, beyond the screen, has long been known as the Stucley Chapel. (It may well, before the Reformation, have been the Lady Chapel, although there is no sign now of the piscina, as there is in the chancel).

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