Ancient Monuments

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St Martin's Chapel, Broadnymett

A Scheduled Monument in North Tawton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7935 / 50°47'36"N

Longitude: -3.8425 / 3°50'33"W

OS Eastings: 270234.638654

OS Northings: 100942.056724

OS Grid: SS702009

Mapcode National: GBR L1.Z6CR

Mapcode Global: FRA 26VZ.SZF

Entry Name: St Martin's Chapel, Broadnymett

Scheduled Date: 14 January 1959

Last Amended: 24 April 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020267

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34285

County: Devon

Civil Parish: North Tawton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bow (or Nymet Tracey) with Broad Nymet

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a chapel, probably of late 13th century date with a
17th century porch and an immediately adjacent 14th century stone cross,
situated within the hamlet of Broadnymett overlooking the valley of the
River Yeo. Originally, the chapel lay within a walled garden, which is now
largely incomplete, connected with the nearby residence. The chapel, which
is Listed Grade II*, is no longer used for worship.
The monument survives as a single celled, rectangular building which
measures 14.1m long by 4.1m wide internally, and stands to its full
original height with rubble walls and a slate roof. At the western end is
a bell-cote, although the bell is missing, while on the southern side is a
small ashlar porch. There are no windows on the northern side of the
chapel, just one small putlog hole. On the southern side there are three
single light windows and one triple light, while the eastern end has a
triple lancet window. The doorway is round headed with simple moulding.
Both door jambs have single stone carvings of a circle and incised cross
design. The wooden door itself is probably 17th century and has short
hinges and lozenge shaped studs. The original timber lintel to the outer
door of the porch has now been replaced with brick. Internally the chapel
has an undecorated common rafter wagon roof, above which are pegged wooden
boards which form a lining beneath the slates. There are also some
crenellated wooden wall plates. A large proportion of apparently plain
medieval floor tiles remain in place, especially close to the door and
where they appear to define the altar area.
Simple whitewashed plaster is also apparent on much of the internal walls.
Marks on this plaster indicate the position of the original screen. No
other internal fixtures and fittings survive.
At the north eastern end of the chapel immediately adjacent to the corner
of the building stands a cross shaft. The head and arms are missing but
the shaft is octagonal in section, tapers upwards and stands up to 1.7m
high. The cross has metal gate hanging brackets attached to it, although
these do not support a gate.
The chapel originally served the parish of Broadnymett, which consisted of
only 42 acres (about 67ha). The earliest recorded chaplain died in 1332.
The surface of the access road immediately to the east of the chapel is
excluded from the scheduling, where it falls within the chapel's 2m protective
margin, although the ground beneath this feature is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of
furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the pre-
Reformation period. Chapels were designed for congregational worship and were
generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provided accommodation
for the laity, and the chancel, which was the main domain of the priest and
contained the principal altar. Around 4000 parochial chapels were built
between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship built for
the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the main parish
church. Other chapels were built as private places of worship by manorial
lords and lie near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status
residences. Chantry chapels were built and maintained by endowment and were
established for the singing of masses for the soul of the founder. Some
chapels possessed burial grounds. Unlike parish churches, the majority of
which remain in ecclesiastical use, chapels were often abandoned as their
communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. Many chantry
chapels disappeared after the dissolution of their supporting communities in
the 1540s.
Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features of the
landscape. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as being
nationally important. The sites of abandoned chapels, where positively
identified, are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often
left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about the
nature and date of their use up to their abandonment.

St Martin's Chapel, Broadnymett is a well-preserved, fully roofed structure
which retains many of its original features. Once an important focal point of
a small and predominantly poor parish, it is now all that remains since this
parish was absorbed into North Tawton.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS70SW9, (1996)

Source: Historic England

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