The village of Woolfardisworthy or Woolsery, is noted for its church, All Hallows. The church has a nave and north aisle which has the vestry at the east end. On the south side there is a transept that forms the Lady Chapel. The South entrance is Norman as can be seen from the interior. Little is known of the early history of the church as records were destroyed in a fire at Clovelly Court in 1790. However, the church was formerly known as Holy Trinity and became All Hallows in the 1920s. The church was formerly a chapelry of the parish of Hartland and was one of the properties given to support Hartland Abbey at the time of Richard I. It was given by Hugh Peverell and thereafter served by the Augustinian canons. It became a parish in its own right about the time of the Reformation.
The tower was built in the 13th century and is 74 feet 4 inches high. On its south side there is a separate spiral stairway of 98 steps as shown in the photograph below. It was restored in 1887. The six bells were recast in 1975 by J. Taylor & Co. of Loughborough and hung on a new steel frame, replacing the original oak.
The North Arcade has seven foot high granite columns, believed to be brought from Lundy; they date from the 16th century. Some Norman masonry remains in the South Transept, which is now the Lady Chapel and which houses the original altar. The south wall of the nave is from the Early English period. The font is Norman with a central pillar and four supporting shafts. Of particular interest are the bench ends, dating from the 15th century. The decorations include initials, farming implements and an images of the Crucifixion. Many such images were destroyed at the Reformation or during the Civil War and the one at Woolsery is a rare survival. An inscription on the outside of the south wall of the nave shows that the church was rebuilt in 1698 when Wm: Whitlock and Rd: Grinslap were churchwardens.
In the North East corner of the North aisle lies the ornate Cole Monument showing Richard Cole in costume of the Elizabethan or early Jacobean style. He died in 1614. The canopy above the effigy still retains red, green and gold decoration. The church guide states that at the North West corner of the church is a mass grave of soldiers killed in the Civil War at the Battle of West Town near Crediton. However, the town of Crediton is some fifty miles to the east and I have no evidence that there was a battle near Woolfardisworthy.
|All Hallows, Woolsery||Nave and North Aisle|
|The Font||Nave & North Aisle looking NW|
|Norman arch||Pew Ends|
|Cross and ladder||Cole Monument|
Woolsery Church, the Parish Church of All Hallows, Woolfardisworthy West, A History and Guide by T J Harding. A pamphlet available in the church, first produced in 1978 and revised and reprinted in 1995.