Holy Trinity Church, Burrington, North Devon


Line drawing of Holy Trinity Church, Burrington

Built between 1150 and 1550 by the Abbot of Tavistock Abbey and cared for by those Benedictine monks until Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries. The architect John Haywood extensively restored the building in 1869. The first incumbent was installed in 1277. Burrington is in the Deanery of Chulmleigh and Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, in the Diocese of Exeter.   "The church is grade 1 listed and dates from the 16th century, but it is of old foundation and its incumbents are recorded from 1277. It has a notable granite arcade, wagon roof with carved bosses, an early 16th century rood screen and a Norman font. The parish records include the baptisms of the three children of William and Ann Blackmore (of Town) during the 1820s. William is described as the Schoolteacher. One of the vicars of Burrington was Samuel Davis, the second of whose wives was Jane Elizabeth Blackmore - half sister of Richard Doddridge Blackmore, the author of "Lorna Doone"."  [Wikipedia]

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Burrington's Green Men

Green Man

We recently stumbled across Nigel Rushbrook's 'Canterbury Green Man' page on the Internet and subsequently his 'Devon Green Men' page after doing an Image Search on Google for Burrington. The picture above is a line drawing of one of the Green Men in Holy Trinity Church, Burrington. It is one of two, which have been carved upside down on the bottom of the right hand door of the right hand pair of doors leading through the screen.

Click on 'View floor plan' below for a colour photo of this Green Man - and others.

Nigel gives many examples of Green Men in Kent, Devon and elsewhere. To quote Nigel "The Green Man is one of the commonest decorative motifs which we can put a name to, yet there is very little indication of its meaning. We know what an angel is; we know what a mermaid and a dragon are but we know almost nothing about the face made out of leaves." - "Despite the fact that so many Green Men are placed in completely obvious locations, even above the altar in some cases, there seems to have been some effort expended in hiding Green Men - either by making them very small, placing them in inaccessible locations or disguising them beside carvings of ordinary foliage."

There is another Green Man inside the porch, carved above the main entrance door (in shadow and now partly obscured by chicken wire). This would support one of Nigel's theories that "if the Green Man is derived from Celtic iconography, its frequent use beside or above doorways might derive from the desire to protect the building beyond from evil spirits or from bad luck."



Stained glass window behind the altar


3 February 2009


View church floor plan and details of the inside

Burrington village page

Tylcoat, Tylecote, Talcott

Church drawing & Green Man copyright Dave Tylcoat 1998 - 2012
Stained glass photo copyright Sue Tylcoat 2002
Church photo Dave Tylcoat 2009


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