Holy Trinity Church, Torbryan, Devon

Torbryan Hill, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 5UR
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Mighty medieval church deep in the countryside

The approach to this church, through typical narrow Devon lanes to an isolated and wooded valley, does not prepare you for a building of such size and grandeur.

The church is a perfect example of the Gothic Perpendicular style and was unusually constructed in one 20-year building campaign between 1450 and 1470. The superb, soaring tower rises in three stages, and has an octagonal stair turret which forms a dramatic architectural feature.

As you enter look up at the exquisite and rare fan-vaulted ceiling with four small angels supporting the central ribs of each fan.

Inside there is a beautifully carved altar screen that spans the width of the church, dividing the interior with its graceful arches. Below the screen are painted panels of 40 saints - they were once whitewashed, perhaps to save them from the puritanical zeal of the Reformation.

The delicacy of the wood carving is echoed by the elegant tracery of the windows, many of which contain Medieval stained glass. Parts of the original rood-screen were reused, probably in the early nineteenth century, to form the pulpit, while at the same time the original pulpit was reconstructed as the altar. The fifteenth-century oak benches survive but were enclosed in the eighteenth century to form box pews.