St Mary's Church
St Mary’s Church, Silverton showing ancient yew tree and remains of the preaching cross.
There must have been a church in Silverton since the 13th century, or even earlier, as the list of rectors commences with Roger de Leycester in 1273, but nothing remains of this early building. The present church, dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, is constructed mainly from volcanic trap stone, probably quarried locally at Killerton, with a slate roof.
At the west end is a low, but impressive, two-stage tower with two diagonal buttresses on the western corners, a buttress where the tower abuts the porch, and a stair turret at the north-east corner. The tower is probably all that remains of the church that was built around 1450. The nave was rebuilt in the early years of the sixteenth century in the perpendicular style of architecture with large four-light windows to the aisles.
Above - View of tower of St Mary’s Church, Silverton
Left - Interior of St Mary’s Church Silverton in early 20th century
Little now remains of the original wooden rood screen that would have spanned the full width of the building, the majority having been removed and possibly burnt during the substantial rebuilding of the church in 1862-3.The wagon-roof of the nave is plastered and ribbed, and has fine carved bosses at the intersection of the ribs. Many of these bosses were restored or reconstructed by local craftsman Jack Perrin when the roof was restored in 1957.
Immediately outside the south porch, to the right of the path is a large yew tree, estimated by some as being over a thousand years old. On the opposite side of the path stands the base of a preaching cross that was probably partially destroyed by the iconoclasts at the time of the Reformation. There is a good seventeenth century gallery at the west end of the church on which there are panels recording Silverton’s many charities.
There is therefore much of interest to see in Silverton church, and a great deal of history associated with it.
Right - The unusual Silverton “Hud” used by rectors to remain dry while at the graveside.