Holy Trinity Church, Burrington, North Devon
Floor Plan

Copyright Dave Tylcoat 1996-2013


Plan of Holy Trinity church, Burrington


1. Porch & Door

The porch is 16th century, the door arch is much older. Originally there was a statue where the electric light now is. The floor was cobbled until 1869. The door is of very heavy medieval oak with Tudor decoration. Shot, which can be seen in the door, is said to be the result of Cromwell's muskets. There is a Green Man above the door but it is usually in shade.  It is also obscured by chicken wire (presumably put there to stop swallows nesting) - which, incidentally, has been so inexpertly done that two nails have amazingly been hammered into the actual carving!  Outside, not far from the door, is a gargoyle water spout - originally on the South East corner of the roof (see picture at the bottom of this page)  -  this is 'leafy' - another example of a Green Man.

2. Pillars

Solid Dartmoor granite, brought here 500 years ago by horse teams.

3. Font

Norman, square, retooled. Used for 32 generations, now strengthened by a steel band. The bowl has a scalloped under-edge with four scallops to each side.

4. War Memorials

Matching memorials to the young men of the village who gave their lives in the two world wars.

5. Screen

One of the finest in England and one of the last before the Reformation. Note the pomegranates, which are the symbol of the kings of Granada, who came over with Catherine of Aragon. Each of the nine ribs and eight arches is slightly different.

Burrington Green Man

Above - A Green Man, one of two carved upside down on the bottom of the right hand door of the right hand pair of doors through the screen (I have rotated the picture so you can see the face).
- close-up with different lighting.

Burrington, Devon, Green Man




Impossible triangle

An 'impossible triangle' carving on the screen.  This must be a late addition as the triangle (also known as a Penrose Triangle) was first published in 1958 by Lionel Penrose, a British geneticist and his son Roger, a mathematician and physicist.


6. Altar Rails

Fine Jacobean with alternate spindle pattern (barley-sugar & straight), restored in 1930.

7. Altars

The one before the screen is the original while the highly carved one at the East end was brought from Burrington Mission Church a few years ago.

8. Organ

Cost 112 when bought new in 1898, installation then cost 18. Recent work on the same instrument has cost over 3000.

9. Piscina

Medieval, in good condition, just to the right of the organ.

10. Aisles

Continuous between the chancel and nave (no chancel arch).

11. North Aisle Ceiling

40 squares with Tudor bosses. Note (a) the monkey, (b) the angel with perpendicular head-dress, (c) person with three heads (the Trinity).

12. South Aisle Ceiling

Held up by 38 carved angels. It is an oak wagon roof of the 15th century and is divided into 180 squares.


Green Man, leaves

A classic Green Man - leaves sprouting from his mouth, high up on the West wall.
(this is the best lighting we could manage with a torch!)
Best viewed through binoculars.


13. Tower

Three stage embattled, with part-buttresses and missing pinnacles. Polygonal stair turret on South West corner. The base is 13th century with walls five feet thick. The middle section is 14th century and the top section is 15th century perpendicular. It contains 6 bells, cast in 1783, rehung in 1970. The ringers are one of the most skilled teams in the country. The clock was made by John Gaydon, Barnstaple, 1897. The clock requires about 138 rotations of a huge handle once a week, the chime about 38 rotations.


Clock, John Gaydon, Barnstaple
The clock


The church is a Grade I listed building, here are the details of the listing:

C13 fabric to base of tower and north wall of nave and possibly chancel; nave and chancel remodelled in C15 when south aisle and porch were added. Restored 1869 by Haywood. Random stone rubble, roughly coursed to south aisle. West end of south aisle and nave and tower are rendered. Granite and firestone dressings. Slate roofs with coped gable ends, apex crosses and crested ridge tiles. Plan: Apart from the Norman font, the earliest surviving features are the C13 base to the transeptal tower and north wall of the nave and possibly chancel. The rest of the nave and chancel were rebuilt in the C15 when the south aisle was added with its arcade and large granite Perpendicular windows and south porch. The chancel may have been largely rebuilt by Hayward in 1869 when its roof was replaced. North transeptal tower of 3 stages with embattled parapet, short diagonal buttresses and polygonal south-west stair turret. Tall 2-light transomed bell-openings on north and east sides, single bell-opening on west side, all cusped-headed. C19 3- light pointed arched window to base of north side with human head corbels to the hoodmould. Clockface on east side above single trefoil-headed light window. C19 Perpendicular-style pointed arched window of 3 lights to east end of chancel with human head corbels. The Perpendicular south aisle windows are of Dartmoor granite, the east window of 5 lights being particularly impressive; the outer  mullions are replacements, the inner mullions have cavetto flanking roll mouldings. 3 slate headstones attached to wall below to Sarah Snell (d.1738), James Forde (d.1789) and James Batt (d.1814). The 3 Perpendicular windows to the right of the south porch, of 3 lights each, have similarly moulded mullions, the right-hand window above the C19 priests door being shorter. Gabled south porch with virtually semi-circular headed Perpendicular doorway with heavily moulded granite surround and C19 door of 2 leaves with iron spear-headed top-rails. Perpendicular C15 waggon  roof with carved bosses at the intersections of every third moulded rib. Round- arched niche above 4-centred arched Perpendicular inner doorway with ogee moulded granite surround and fine original framed and ledged door with applied cusped headed tracery to front containing blank shield and cover strips originally forming 4 lights but central rib missing. C19 Perpendicular style pointed-arched window of 3 lights to left of porch with human head corbels to the hoodmould. Perpendicular hoodmould and part of moulded surround to otherwise C19 west window to south aisle with intersecting glazing bars. Large C19 4-light window to west end of nave with large sexafoil traceried head and pointed arched hoodmould with human head corbels. The 2 C19 nave north side windows are of 2 lights with quatrefoil traceried heads and also have human head corbels to the pointed arched hoodmoulds. Interior. Fine unceiled Perpendicular waggon roofs to nave and south aisle with variously carved bosses at the intersections of every fourth moulded rib. The south aisle has angel figures bearing shields at the base of each enriched rib at intervals along the wall plates carved with trailing leaf decoration. The nave roof wall plates are carved with floriate decoration. Crenellated wall plate to C19 chancel roof in same style.  Unmoulded C13 pointed tower arch. Fine granite south arcade of 5 bays with piers of Pevsner A type with capitals to the main shafts only, decorated with abaci. Fine Perpendicular chancel screen of 8 bays with open-panelled tracery of Pevsner 'B' type. Ribbed coving decorated with stalks and flowers, with 3 cornice bands and cresting above. Late C17 communion rails with alternating twisted and shaped balusters. Ogee-headed piscina to south aisle and pointed arched piscina to chancel. Complete C19 nave seating. Late C17 polygonal pulpit with fielded panelled facets. Norman font with square bowl with scalloped base on circular stem, largely retooled. Monuments: Chancel, north wall; marble wall tablet by Rowe of Exeter to Rev. James Buckingham, Rector of Burrington for 50 years d. 1855 and to other members of family. South wall; slate, nowy-arched to Ann daughter of Nicholas Hole, vicar d.1769 and to Nicholas Hole d.1797. Tablet below piscina to William Harvey M.A., rector also for 50 years, d.1665 with verse. Nave, north side. Tablets to Sophia Weeks (d.1826) and William Pennicott, Surgeon, of London (d.1747). South aisle. Slate wall monument by Howell of Chulmleigh to Cooke family, late C18 and early C19. Twin monument to John and Mary Babbage d.1799, also by Howell. Stained glass to east window and to easternmost window on south side of south aisle in memory of Matthew Thomas Loveband, Vicar. Apart from the reroofing of the chancel and refenestration of the nave in the C19, this is largely an imposing medieval church with fine Perpendicular roofs, screen and granite dressings. The interesting transeptal position of the tower is shared with several other Devon churches.


Holy Trinity Church

Tylcoat, Tylecote, Talcott

Burrington village page



Other Green Men pages:



Gargoyle water spout (Green Man)
Gargoyle waterspout

 Plan of church drawing and photos Dave Tylcoat 1999-2013