Building » Lynton – Most Holy Saviour

Lynton – Most Holy Saviour

Lee Road, Lynton, Devon

An early twentieth century church by the notable Catholic architect Leonard Stokes, completed by George Drysdale. The external appearance is austere, but the interior is of considerable richness and quality, and includes an imported Roman Baroque altar. 

The church is an integral part of a convent owing its origins to Mgr Lean, a convert Anglican clergyman, who paid for the building of a chapel and convent housing a community of Poor Clares, originally from Rennes in France. The original architect was the noted convert architect Leonard Stokes. The church was completed by Stokes’s partner George Drysdale and finally consecrated as a parish church in 1931. The parish is now served from Ilfracombe.

List description (convent and church)


Convent with attached Catholic church. Begun 1908, church dedicated 1910, completed 1931. By Leonard Stokes and George Drysdale. Rendered, slate roofs. The church is attached to the E side of the quadrangle of the domestic range. The convent range is an austere block in 3 storeys with hipped roof. To Lee Road it is in 11 bays, all with 12-pane sashes, horned to the ground floor only. The upper 2 floors have flat pilaster strips and surrounds, with a broad plat-band above the ground floor; 3 painted terracotta roundels in the manner of Della Robbia between first and second floor. The eaves has a moulded cornice. To the left, set back, is a hipped porch extension with doorway. The left (W) return is similar to the street front, in 9 bays, but including paired sashes in bays 7 & 9. There are 3 ridge stacks. To the right, incorporated in the narthex to the church, is the main entry to the convent. INTERIOR of the domestic range not inspected.

The church is set gable to the street, and has a very austere exterior. A gable with deep projecting eaves is flanked to the right by a 2-stage bell turret. The gable contains a cross above an inscription panel ‘Christi Salvatori’ and a central oculus. At the ground floor is a projecting hipped narthex with 3 square lights having Art Nouveau glazing, flanked each side by paired square pilasters doorways to a flat-roofed section. There are paired plank doors on 3 steps, to the left under the inscription ‘Convent of Poor Clares’, and to the right ‘Parish Church of The Holy Saviour’. The return to the right has a further pair of plank doors on steps, then a hipped one-storey unit, over the baptistry, which has a returned wing to the E. The main flank of the church has 2+1 three-light Mannerist stone-mullioned arched windows set flush with the rendered wall, and a stack to the rear.

INTERIOR: the narthex, on 7 steps from the doors to the E, has a low coved ceiling, and central deep-set doors in a bolection moulding, flanked by a recess each side. The nave and sanctuary is in 4 bays, plus gallery to S (liturgical W); to the right is a baptistry, and to the left a chapel. The sanctuary is raised on 5 steps with the altar on a further 3. The main space is barrel-vaulted with plastered panelled intrados and heavy transverse arches, carried on a moulded cornice and with panelled aprons to the windows. The panelled gallery front is on 2 unfluted Ionic pilasters, with volute caps as end responds. The baptistry is in 2 bays with an apse, and flat segmental pilasters, with cornice. The chapel to the W has 2 arches with plain tympana above lintels, a low flat ceiling, and a marble reredos with niche. The main flooring is wood block. The sanctuary is richly appointed, with a marble sarcophagus altar of 1753, brought from the dismantled chapel of St Simon and StJude inRome, from the Orsini family. At either end are grilled doors, with a 3-light lunette above. The marble floor is enclosed by an inlaid marble cancelli screen.

FITTINGS: in addition to the main altar, a double confessional under W end, plain benches, font with cover, statue of Madonna in niche, E side. The church was built by Monsignor Hugh Lean, consecrated 8 September 1931. Leonard Stokes was assisted by George Drysdale as architect, and Stokes designed and donated the font cover. The builder was BobJones and Son, of Lynton, and much of the stone is said to have been quarried on the site itself.

(The Buildings of England: Cherry B & Pevsner N: Devon: London: 1989-: 555).

Listing NGR: SS7162049378

Heritage Details

Architect: Leonard Stokes; completed by George Drysdale

Original Date: 1910

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II