Holy Trinity Church, Torbryan, Devon
- What's nearby
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.
A medieval treasure saved by George Gilbert Scott
A 12th century church made of “handsome stone” in a tiny parish.
A winding lane to an unexpected discovery
From lane across a level track to lych gate, then concrete path to the south porch with one step up to a flagstone porch floor. There is clear access to the south porch, but there are 4 steps down to nave floor.
Facilities & Hire
Due to the historic nature of our buildings, only a very small number of them have heating, running water or toilet facilities. The lighting is usually operated via a 'push button' timer or a motion sensor.
4 miles south west of Newton Abbot, off A381
Nearest railway station: Totnes (3.8 miles)
History & Further Information
Discover the stories of this historic site...
Although small, the hamlet of Torbryan holds a lot of secrets! Through the activities and displays in the church you can uncover the mysteries of the nearby cave system - with its prehistoric surprise - as well as the medieval history of the church.
Explore the area...
Discover the area - and other historic buildings - with this 11km walk through the countryside surrounding Torbryan.
Marvel at medieval art...
Holy Trinity is home to priceless medieval art, including an exquisite, 15th-century painted rood screen - with 40 panels depicting saints - and pulpit.
Holy Trinity Church, Torbryan, is in our west region.
Useful local links:
- The Old Church House Inn (right) stands opposite the church, selling food and ales just as it has for more than 450 years.