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St Mary, Woodleigh, Devon

(50°35′43″N, 3°47′20″W)
SX 738 488
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Devon
now Devon
now Exeter
medieval St Mary
now St Mary
  • Abigail Lloyd
  • Abigail Lloyd
30 October 2021

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Feature Sets

Woodleigh is a parish in Devon in the S of the county in the South Hams area. The small village of Woodleigh lies in the S of the parish, and the church is in the middle of the village.

The church features a simple 14th-c plan, rebuilt after a fire in 1649 and much restored in 1890-1 by George Fellowes Prynne. The fabric is largely slatestone with granite dressings, slate roof, and clay ridges.

The W tower is early, low, unbuttressed in two stages with slight offset and renewed battlements on corbel table. The nave is aisleless. The N and S transepts feature arches which might be contemporary with the tower. The N wall of the nave is plain, and the building is set into the slope on this side. The nave S side has a 14th-c three-light window in cusped. The S gabled porch has an apex cross and a slate sundial of 1707 over the plain and round arched doorway. In the chancel the 14th-c Easter Sepulchre serves as an enclosure to the monument of Sir Thomas Smyth, Rector of the church between 1492 and 1527.

The octagonal font, the only Romanesque sculpture here, is described as 'Norman' by Nikolaus Pevsner and 'Transitional' by the National Heritage List for England.


Woodleigh first appears in early charters in 1008-1012 as Wudeleage. In Domesday Book, recorded as 'Odelea' or 'Odelis', the land is held by Aelfric Pike in 1066, and by Robert of Aumarle as part of his demesne lands in 1086.





S. Aubrey, Woodleigh Parish Local History, 2011.

J. E. B. Gover, A. Mawer, F. M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Devon, Cambridge 1931-1932.

Historic England, 2021 National Heritage List for England: Church of St Mary: 1108128. https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1108128 [Accessed 25th November 2021].

N. Pevsner, B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Devon, Harmondsworth 2001.

J. M. Slader, The Churches of Devon, Newton Abbott 1968.