Colyton, St Andrew's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 10th-century Saxon cross
The west window is the largest of any English parish church, and it truly is an impressive sight. Lighting the nave are a pair of elegant brass chandeliers, installed in 1769.
The most interesting historic feature of St Andrew's is its collection of monuments. Most of the best are in the Pole Chapel, but the most fascinating memorial is on the north side of the chancel. This is the Courtenay Monument, named for Margaret Courtenay, granddaughter of Edward IV through his daughter Catherine.
According to tradition, Margaret Courtenay choked to death on a fish bone. However, the church guide suggests that the tomb is in fact that of Margaret Beaufort, the granddaughter of John of Gaunt.
Within the Pole Chapel are a wonderful collection of historic tombs, many in Renaissance style, to the Poles of Shute. The earliest dates to 1587.
The Saxon Cross
In the south transept is a display case with several interesting old books, including a 'Vinegar Bible'. However, the transept is dominated by a large Saxon cross of Beer stone. This dates to the 10th century and has been described as the finest Pre-Conquest sculpture in Devon.
The cross stood in the churchyard for centuries, but it was broken up when the Norman church was built, and pieces were incorporated into the tower. The fragments were only rediscovered after a fire in 1933 and were reassembled and bought inside the church. The carving is worn, but beautifully done, with traditional interlace pattern down the sides of the cross shaft.
Colyton church is among the most enjoyable parish churches I've ever visited; its so full of historic interest, from the Elizabethan memorials to the Saxon cross; almost every time period for the last thousand years is well represented. I enjoyed my visit thoroughly and can highly recommend Colyton.
Address: Market Place, Colyton, Devon, England, EX24 6JS
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Just off the market square in the centre of Colyton. Parking along nearby streets. The church was open when we visited.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Musbury, St Michael's Church - 1.9 miles (Historic Church)
Axmouth, St Michael's Church - 2 miles (Historic Church)
Shute Barton - 2.1 miles (Historic Building)
Southleigh, St Lawrence Church - 2.4 miles (Historic Church)
Loughwood Meeting House - 3.2 miles (Historic Building)
Northleigh, St Giles Church - 3.3 miles (Historic Church)
Beer Quarry Caves - 3.5 miles (Countryside)
Blackbury Camp - 3.8 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Nearest Accommodation to Colyton: