St James, West Parkham, Devon
- Site Location
- West Parkham
- National Grid Reference
- NGR SS 388 215
now (or name of monument): St James
- Type of building/monument
- Parish church
II General Description
The church is mostly of the 15thc. including the W tower. The nave has a S aisle, and the chancel has a N chapel. Romanesque sculpture is found on the reset S doorway and the font.
III Exterior Features
(i) S doorway
Round headed of two orders.
No bases. Chamfered jambs, with the chamfer lying between two rolls and with a round billet or volute as a stop chamfer at the top. Above this is a triangular, upward curling moulding. No capitals, but the hollow-chamfered impost is decorated with intersecting arches with a tiny face at the angle. This continues over the second order. The upright is decorated with an incised roll, also continuous. In the arch there are three rows of centrifugal chevron carved lateral to the face.
Damaged bases, the L unreadable apart from what may be traces of a row of pellet beneath a torus. The R base is bulbous, with a concave moulding followed by a torus. These support detached nook shafts
L capital: triple scallop with hollowed wedges between the cones and with the shields delineated by a double strand, leaving small semicircles above. The abacus has a roll along the lower part of the upright. Integral necking.
R capital: voluted with hollowed triangles at the top of the capital between the volutes. The block from which the capital is cut is coursed with the masonry of the jambs. Integral necking.
The label has a row of bifurcated half-cylinders. This is followed by a roll then a flat.
R label stop: a head with moustache, damaged.
L label stop: possibly a rams head but only the L eye and horn survive.
|h. of opening||2.52 m|
|w. of opening||1.13 m|
|h. of R cap inc. roll||0.21 m|
|h. not inc. roll||0.17 m|
|h. of L cap inc. roll||0.21 m|
|h. not inc. roll||0.18 m|
Chalice-shaped font on a stepped modern plinth. The simple base has a torus and supports a cylindrical shaft. Between the shaft and the base of the font bowl is a thick roll carved with nested chevron, alternating roll and hollow. The bowl is fluted and has a roll around the rim. Lead lined, grey ?limestone
|Total h.||0.84 m|
|h. of bowl||0.36|
|d.of bowl||0.22 m|
At the time of DS Parkham was among the lands of Baldwin the Sherrif and was held by Richard. Before the Conquest it was held by Algar.
The font is one of a five similar fonts with fluted bowls. The others are at Abbotsham, Beaford, Bradford and Clayhanger. Fonts at Abbotsham and Parkham have a similar thick band of nested chevron around the base of the bowl.
Much of the carving on the doorway is close in style and execution to doorways at Buckland Brewer, Shebbear and West Woolfardisworthy. There are also similar doorways at Morwenstowe and Kilkhampton (Cornwall). A fragment of label, of exactly the same type as described above is reset into the porch at Molland, suggesting that a similar doorway may once have existed there.
The Parkham doorway differs from the others, in that instead of having beakheads carved on each voussoir, it has only has one rather folorn looking example near the apex of the arch. This beakhead lacks the definition, symmetry and skill of the examples at the other sites, and is probably not by the same hand.
- K. M. Clarke, The Baptismal Fonts of Devon, part IV, Transactions of the Devonshire Association, XLVIII, 1916, 309.
- N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Devon, 1952, revised 1989, 624.
- C. and F. Thorn (eds) Domesday Book: Devon, Phillimore: Chichester, 1985, I, 16, 33.