Holy Trinity, Ilfracombe, Devon

Feature Sets (2)


The earliest part of the church is the 13thc. tower, on the N of the originally 12thc. nave.  The nave was altered and lengthened in 1321 when the N and S aisles were added.  The aisles run the full length of the church.  In the early 15thc. a N chancel was added. Much of the outer walling was rebuilt during the restoration by Hayward in 1861 (Pevsner 1989, 501). The font is the only feature with Romanesque sculpture. Pevsner records a very worn 12thc. tapered tomb slab with an incised cross.





The stepped octagonal plinth, base and shaft appear to be modern. A thick roll, which may also be modern, sits at the top of the stem. The lead-lined bowl is square, and carved in the form of a triple scallop capital, although drastically recut. Each face of the bowl is identical. The shields have rosettes within circles with clusters of berries lying between the circles at the top of the bowl. Each of the cones is carved with two pointed leaves which cross over each other. There are flattened wedges between the cones. Of Bath stone (Clarke 1920, 329).

h. including modern plinth 1.00 m
h. not inc. plinth 0.84 m
h. of bowl inc. roll moulding 0.38 m
internal depth of bowl 0.24 m
w. of bowl 0.68 m


Clarke describes the Inwardleigh font as having being 'ruthlessly scraped' in 1861 - presumably referring to the recutting. The description is drawn from an earlier account by the Rev. F. Nesbitt (Clarke 1920,328: no source given).

Other fonts in Devon churches which take the form of a triple or multi-scallop capital are found in Ashford, Berrrynarbor, Burrington, Christow, Halberton, Horwood, Merton, Molland, Netherexe, Stoke St Nectan, Weare Giffard and West Down (Clarke 1920, 327–35).


  • K. M. Clarke The Baptismal Fonts of Devon. Part VII, Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 52 (1920), 328. 

  • North Devon Church Trail, n.d., n.p. 

  • F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications: or, England's patron saints, London, 1899, 163.

  • C. and F. Thorn (eds) Domesday Book: Devon, Chichester, 1985, 16, 84.

  • N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Devon, 2nd ed., London, 1989, 501.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SS 514 474 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Devon
now: Devon
now: Exeter
medieval: Exeter
now: Holy Trinity
medieval: Holy Trinity (Pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Hazel Gardiner 
Visit Date
5 June 2001