Plymtree, St John the Baptist Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Superb 15th century carved and painted rood screen
This is without doubt ome of the finest screens in Devon, and dates to around 1470. It features beautiful fan vaulting and an orate scheme of colourful painting. The lower panels are painted with Biblical figures that have somehow managed to retain most of their original colour, making Plymtree's screen one of the best preserved in the south west.
One scene on the lower panels depicts the Adoration of the Magi. A persistent story suggests that the figures of the 3 Kings portray Cardinal Morton, Henry VII, and Prince Arthur, which seems rather unlikely unless the figures were added at a much later date. The only known likeness of Cardinal Morton is on his tomb in Canterbury Cathedral and this shows him without a beard and looking nothing like the painted figure on Plymtree's screen. But there are a multitude of other figures, 34 in total, some must represent local people. One of the figures represents Joseph of Arimathea, a reminder that Plymtree was on the medieval pigrim's route to Glastonbury, associated with legends of St Joseph and the Holy Grail.
In the north wall is a blocked doorway (opposite the main entrance). This may be early Norman, or indeed, late Saxon, suggesting that there was a church here well before the Norman Conquest, but the earliest written record is of a vicar appointed in 1261.
Perhaps the most famous rector of Plymtree was Nicholas Monk, brother of the Parliamentary Civil War commander General Monk. Rev. Monk was instrumental in persuading his brother to retore Charles II as king in 1660 afte the death of Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard. Reverend Monk later served as Provost of Eton and Bishop of Hereford.
Address: Plymtree, Devon, England, EX15 2JU
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: In the centre of Plymtree village, 3 miles south east of Cullompton. Usually open daylight hours.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Broadhembury, St Andrew's Church - 3.3 miles (Historic Church)
Kentisbeare, St Mary's Church - 3.4 miles (Historic Church)
Escot Park & Gardens - 3.5 miles (Garden)
Cadhay - 4.7 miles (Historic House)
Killerton Chapel - 4.9 miles (Historic Church)
Budlake Old Post Office Room - 4.9 miles (Historic Building)
Killerton - 5 miles (Historic House)
Marker's Cottage - 5.4 miles (Historic Building)
Nearest Accommodation to Plymtree:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Ottery St Mary
Tourist Information Centre
10b Broad Street
Ottery St Mary
Tel: 01404 813 964
Fax: 01404 813 964