St Peter, Berrynarbor, Devon

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Feature Sets (2)


The church is substantially 15thc. but with a number of earlier features. The nave has an 12thc. N chapel (originally the N transept of a cruciform church and now the vestry). This has a 12thc. round-headed arch, plain except for a hollow-chamfered impost with a groove along the upright. The chancel is 13thc., the S aisle is c.1500 and the W tower is of c. 1480. The church was restored in 1862 and in 1887-9. Romanesque sculpture is found on the font.


At the time of DS Berrynarbor was among the lands of Walter of Douai and was held by Walscin. Before the Conquest it was held by Edith.




Square plinth, flattened bulbous base with two concave mouldings above. Supported on a thick stem above a roll moulding is a large square font in the form of a triple scallop capital, with acutely pointed wedges between the cones. The rim is chamfered. The bowl has been recut and fine tooling marks are visible over its surface. The stem, base and plinth have not been recut and are worn and damaged.

The support has been broken and repaired at some time and there is a large section cut away from both base and plinth on the N. There are inserts on N and S rims and damage to E and W rims, and to the central scallop on the W face. Of granite.

Unlined. Of cream-coloured stone.


h. of bowl inc. roll moulding 0.48 m
internal d. of bowl 0.25 m
Total h. including plinth 0.98 m
Total h. not inc. plinth 0.87 m
w. 0.71 m


Clarke considers this font to be one of the earliest of its type in Devon. 

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


  • St Peter's Church, Berrynarbor, church guide, 1988.

  • N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Devon, 1952, 2nd edition 1989, 164-165.

  • K. M. Clarke, 'The Baptismal Fonts of Devon', part 6, Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 52, 1920, 327-35.

  • C. and F. Thorn (eds) Domesday Book: Devon, Chichester, 1985, I, 23, 2.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SS 561 468 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Devon
now: Devon
now: Exeter
medieval: Exeter
now: St Peter
medieval: St Peter (pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Hazel Gardiner 
Visit Date
5 June 2001