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St James, West Parkham, Devon

(50°58′13″N, 4°17′50″W)
West Parkham
SS 388 215
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Devon
now Devon
medieval Exeter
now Exeter
  • Hazel Gardiner

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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.


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.


Exterior Features




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.

C. and F. Thorn (eds) Domesday Book: Devon, Phillimore: Chichester, 1985, I, 16, 33.
N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Devon, 1952, revised 1989, 624.
K. M. Clarke, The Baptismal Fonts of Devon, part IV, Transactions of the Devonshire Association, XLVIII, 1916, 309.