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Visitor information

location

Ayshford
Tiverton
Devon
EX16 7HL

OS Reference

ST 048 151

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Contact the office for access details: email us / call us: 0207 236 3934 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)

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Please be careful not to shut inquisitive sheep in the church when you leave!

"I love this place. I love its unexpectedness, its serenity and romantic medievalism. In fact the building reminds me of David Jones's painting of the Chapel Perilous, the mystical home of the Holy Grail."

John Lane and Harland Walshaw in ‘Devon’s Churches: A Celebration’ (Green Books, 2007)

About Ayshford Chapel

The Grand Western Canal flows past the silvered oak door of Ayshford chapel, near Tiverton, Devon. Sheep chew up the churchyard, and often butt open the chapel door. And we can’t blame them for wanting to get inside. The walls are limewashed in salmon pink; a stripey screen stencilled with stars separates the chancel; and pouting cherubs look down from the monuments. The limestone rubble walls are peppered with quatrefoil panels that fill the putlog holes. Tall perpendicular windows pour light into the chapel. A continuous wagon roof spans the simple interior.

A chapel has been on this site since at least 1282, but the current building dates to the 15th century. It was built as a private chapel for the Ayshford family, who lived right next door in Ayshford Court.

Evidence of the Ayshford family is seen in several family memorials, including the poignant memorial to Henry Ayshford, a ‘spotless child’, who died in 1666 (famously a plague year) aged just one year. A single bell in the turret is inscribed ‘The Bell is Henry Ayshford’s 1657’.

Ayshford Chapel
Ayshford Chapel

Highlights

  • Continuous wagon roof featuring re-used medieval timbers and carved bosses (most foliate, one featuring a cryptic rebus)
  • 19th-century stained glass with ribbons, inscriptions and saints, by John Toms (local stained glass artist and undertaker)
  • Chest and wall monuments to the Ayshford family, including John Ayshford (d. 1689), whose marble monument is festooned with swags, heraldry, cherubs, scrolls and flaming urns
  • 15th century chancel screen of greens and reds, stars and rosettes – repainted in the 19th century

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