Dousland Road, Yelverton, Devon
The church at Yelverton owes much to Lady Seaton, a Catholic convert who inherited Buckland Abbey in 1915. She encouraged a community of Poor Clares to set up at Crapstone (near Yelverton) in 1917, and their chapel was open to local Catholics. The Poor Clares left Crapstone for Sclerder in 1922 and Lord and Lady Seaton then funded the purchase of the present church site and the building of a small chapel and presbytery. Yelverton became a parish in its own right in 1924. This first chapel appears to have been a timber structure but in 1928 the original building was enlarged by the addition of a (liturgical) north aisle with a square ‘west’ tower and spire at its ‘western’ end and all the external walls were faced with stone. The dark walling stone came from Roborough Down Quarry (now closed). The spire was removed some time between 1933 and 1948. A parish room was built on to the back of the presbytery in 1933. In 1976 the church was extended by two bays at the ‘east’ end, partly to provide a new sacristy. Ambitious plans for the enlargement of the building were prepared in 1964 by Denis Murphy but were not realised.
The church at Yelverton is essentially a building of the 1920s in a simplified Gothic style. The building is not orientated and all the directions in this description follow liturgical convention. The church consists of long low nave and sanctuary under a continuous pitched roof, with a north aisle, northwest tower and small projecting south porch. The church is linked at its southeast corner to the former presbytery building which is now the parish centre and hall. The external walls are faced with dark rubble stone, with the exception of the two eastern bays which are faced in dark render. The (recently renewed) roof coverings are of artificial slate. The small tower is of three stages with stepped corner buttresses and a battlemented parapet. At ground level is a broad entrance door with a four-centred head while the top stage has a pointed window on each face. The west gable end wall next to the tower is blind apart from a small quatrefoil window in the gable. The north wall is divided into five bays by buttresses and the four eastern bays have window openings with pointed heads and upvc casements. The south side has similar windows but with a projecting stone porch on the second bay from the west end.
The most striking feature of the interior is the elaborate open timber roofs over the nave and aisle, with square timber piers supporting the former wall plate between the nave and aisle. The walls are plain plastered and painted. At the east end, on the east end wall of the 1970s sanctuary is a vertical strip of bare brick behind the altar with the rood and tabernacle; flanked by pointed windows. The floor is covered with carpet. All the windows are clear-glazed except the quatrefoil window in the west gable which contains glass said to have been behind the altar of the original chapel. The bench seating is probably original.
Architect: Richard White builder (first chapel); Basil Margrett of Margrett & Gloyne, builders (1928 rebuilding); Jacqueline Littlejohn (1976 extensions)
Original Date: 1923
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed