Devon Historic Churches

Sheepstor, St Leonard

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Sheepstor, St Leonard

There has been a church on this site since the early thirteenth century. The present building dates from the 1450s. Like most of the Dartmoor Perpendicular churches it is built from surface ‘moorstone’. There was once a superb rood screen which was probably carved not long after the church was built. Sadly it was removed in 1861 when Messrs Blatchford of Tavistock restored the church under the watchful eye of Sir Massey Lopes who had ordered it to be taken away and part of it was placed in St Andrew’s, Buckland Monachorum. Luckily the Revd Sabine Baring Gould had made sketches and so in 1914 Frederick Bligh Bond was able to produce drawings for Herbert Read of Exeter to carve and construct an exact copy of the original. The beautifully carved bench-ends are the work of Rashleigh Pinwell of Plymouth and were carved between 1920 and 1930.

The church has 6 bells, the earliest dated 1769. They have recently been retuned and rehung to produce a fine peal. Beside the interesting stained glass by John Hardman and Francis Skeat, the church has become famous as the burial place of Sir James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak and his descendants. There is now a great Sarawakian influence and interest in the church. There is an interesting and original lynchgate.












Detail of Screen