About this church
In de Stapeldon’s register the rededication of the church is mentioned as taking place in 1321. The eastern end of the church is the oldest part of the present structure. The Easter sepulchre, which may have doubled up as St Neot’s tomb, can be dated to the 1330-40s. According to John Allan it is the work of William Joye, an Exeter Cathedral mason. The hanging shields on the tomb are like those on nave tombs at Ottery St Mary. Fragmentary wall paintings at the back of the tomb appear to show two kneeling figures with halos and winged heads linked to them by ropes.
St Neot’s is best known for its exceptional prereformation glazing. So much survives that it is possible to reconstruct the original scheme apart from the west windows which went in the great storm of 1704.
St Neot’s windows were installed between about 1450 and the early 1530s in four phases.
The windows are mainly filled with figures of saints and in four cases, the Creation, Noah, St George and St Neot windows, stories (to be read left to right like a comic book). The earliest window is now just inside the south door, though originally the figures were in the east window where the tracery lights remain. St Peter & St Paul, founders of the church and Montacute Priory’s patrons, appear with Christ and St James the Great.
The latest window is the life of St Neot window which was dated 1530. An interesting feature of this church is that while international saints dominate in the south aisle which was funded by local gentry, local saints with Jesus and Mary are in the majority on the north side where parish groups of wives, sisters (young maidens?) and young men were chief sponsors. Don’t miss St Meubred of Cardinham carrying his head. The north aisle also includes a window paid for by the glaziers and roof bosses over the sisters’ window retelling the story of St Neot’s fish in wood.