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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Chivelstone Church 2

For an overview of the church and it's history see Part 1.


This section highlights the items of great historic and artistic merit within the church.

Chivelstone Church is early 15c with a carved medieval screen and pulpit. The rood screen is unusual in having paintings of Saints in the middle section and arabesques on the outer sections, (before and after the Reformation.



Arabesques on the Rood Screen.

The rood screen was built for the original church hence the fact that it doesn’t fit perfectly in the new structure. There were probably wooden casements around the pillars to hide this. This means that the outer sections of the screen are slightly later (1536 -1549). They don’t have saints depicted on them as this was in the early days of the reformation and papist adornment was no longer acceptable. They have arabesques painted on them. [Robert Waterhouse December 2017 quoted from Kate Jennings’s book: East Prawle through the Ages.


St. Gregory or Sylvester


St. James Minor


St. Mark


In third position, St. Mathew


St Luke and St. Thomas


St. Andrew, St. Simon, St. James Major and St. John the Evangelist


The Church is unusual in having a rood screen across the nave with decorations of an earlier, pre-Reformation character. The shorter screens which continue its line to north and south, dividing the aisles from the small chapels to their east, have decorations in Renaissance style. This could suggest that they (and therefore the aisles) date from the period after 1536 when Henry VIII broke relations with the Catholic Church in Rome by marrying Anne Boleyn, but before c.1549, when the English Reformation was complete, with changes in liturgy which rendered screens between the congregation and the priest an anachronism.


Stylistically of the later 15th to very early 16th century, it is certainly not in its original position, having been strapped to the front of the eastern pillar of the north nave arcade in the 18th or early 19th century, while its base dates from the end of the 19th century. [Robert Waterhouse The Parish Church of St Sylvester, Chivelstone: An Archaeological Survey]


Special notice should be taken of the pulpit. It is all in one piece, being hollowed out of the trunk of a large oak tree; the outside has been shaped into octagonal form, and is richly carved and painted to match the screen. [John Stabb Some Old Devon Churches (1908)].










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4 Comments


David Nurse
David Nurse
Apr 05, 2022

Good addition to your first post. Loved the rood screen's very interesting

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Gethin Thomas
Gethin Thomas
Apr 05, 2022
Replying to

Thanks

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John Durham
John Durham
Apr 05, 2022

The woodwork is phenomenal - I worked in wood as well as stone, back in the day, but never would I have attempted, let alone imagined, carvings such as those. What skills have been lost!

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Gethin Thomas
Gethin Thomas
Apr 05, 2022
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There are still some amazing craftsmen around but nowhere near as many. A lot of these things were made by itinerant expert carvers who travelled from town to town. This style of carving seems quite common around here so I do wonder if the same hand was at work.🙂

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