Newton St Cyres Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Ornate 17th century memorial to Sir John Northcott
Most of the church is in early Perpendicular style, built of local reddish 'trap', a volcanic stone from quarries at Posbury, with the exception of the nave pillars, which are of Beer stone. The nave and chancel are barell-vaulted, with some beautifully crafted bosses, including an unusual Three Hares boss (with three hares sharing three ears).
The font is modern, but against the north aisle wall is the base of a 13th century font found buried in the churchyard. There ia a 14th century piscina in the Lady Chapel, at the east end of the north aisle. On the east wall of this chapel is an aumbry, or cupboard, with a carved 16th century Flemish door.
Though there are several interesting historic monuments at Newton St Cyres, by far the most interesting is that of Sir John Northcott (1570-1632), which occupies most of the space beside the Lady Chapel altar. Sir John was Sheriff of Devon, a native of Hayner Barton, and his life-sized effigy bears his baton of office in one hand. He is dressed in armour with the North cotte arms above his head, and carved heads of his father and grandfather.
On either side are medallions showing each of his two wives in profile. The verses are worth inspecting. To Sir John's right is his first wife, Elizabeth Rouse. They had one son together, who died in infancy, as the inscription relates, 'My fruits were small, one sonne was all, that not at all'. The inscription for Northcott's second wife, Susanna Pollard, tells a happier tale; they had no fewer than a dozen sone and 6 daughters. The memorial was built by his son, who kneels at the feet of his father's effigy, with his own wife and children.
One quite unusual feature is a royal coat of arms to James II, erected in 1685. It is extremely rare to find James II coats of arms, in part because his reign was so short, but also because so many churches had already created a coat of arms during the reign of his predecessor, Charles II. And of course, James was Catholic, at a time when that mattered greatly to people.
Visiting St Cyres and St Julitta
By sheer chance I arrived at the church just as people were starting to arrive for a Sunday service. I would have forgiven the people there if they had looked askance at the bespectacled, camera-wielding historian poking about their church, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Everyone (the vicar included) was very keen to make me welcome and encouraged me to explore the church right up until the service was about to start. They were proud of their historic building, and wanted me to appreciate it as they did.
About Newton St Cyres
Address: Church Lane, Newton St Cyres, Devon, England, EX5 5BN
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: On Church Lane, off the A377, 4 miles south east of Crediton. Parking along the road. Usually open daylight hours.
Website: Newton St Cyres
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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Nearest Accommodation to Newton St Cyres: