Some Old Devon Churches
By J. Stabb
London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)
Transcribed and edited by Dr Roger Peters
Full text available at
Between 1908 and 1916, John Stabb, an ecclesiologist and photographer who lived in Torquay, published three volumes of Some Old Devon Churches and one of Devon Church Antiquities. A projected second volume of the latter, regarded by Stabb himself as a complement to the former, did not materialize because of his untimely death on August 2nd 1917, aged 52. Collectively, Stabb's four volumes present descriptions of 261 Devon churches and their antiquities.
COCKINGTON. St. George and St. Mary. [Originally a chapel of Mediæval origin], the church was appropriated to the Abbot and Monastery of Torre in 1203, Abbot Richard being responsible. The [present) church is Perpendicular, and it is said to have been erected in 1348. It consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, and embattled west tower with clock and three bells.
There is a rood screen to nave and aisles, of good detail, but much mutilated [plate 62a]. The groining is gone, and the spandrels painted with figures of angels and a small diaper-pattern of gold and vermilion. The lower portion has been covered with old seat ends with linen-pattern panels.
In the chancel are fine stalls with misericords of 15th century date. The pulpit [plate 62b] was brought from Torre Parish Church about 1820 by the Rev. Roger Mallock, the then Squire of Cockington, who saved it from being broken up, and purchased it for the church. It is composed of various pieces of screen work, some 15th century, some which looks like early 16th century, and as being parts of a rood gallery front. A book-rest of still later date is attached to it; the cutting of the uprights or mullions is very interesting in detail, 16th century work.
There is some ancient glass in one of the windows on the south side of the church. One of the figures represents a pilgrim in full pilgrim's dress: hat, cloak, scrip, book of hours, and staff with crook for carrying water bottle. It is supposed to represent Robert Cary, who went on pilgrimage to [Santiago de] Compostela [Spain].
The font [plate 62c], of Caen stone, is octagonal in shape, and dates from before 1540. It bears a mutilated inscription on brass in Old English letters:- Robert Cary Armigeri E - The following "t" of Et is missing. He died June 15th 1540, and is buried in Clovelly Church. The date on the font is March 2nd, but the date of the year is broken and lost. It is possible that the font was the offering of William Cary, who was Lord of the Manor of Cockington, as well as possessed of large property in North Devon. The panels on the font show the alliances of the Cary family: Cary, Carew, Dinham, and Paulet. The handsome cover is not the original one, this may have been destroyed by the iconoclasts who destroyed the rood loft. The present cover, of Elizabethan or Jacobean date, was found by the present vicar in pieces and much decayed, the top being lost. It was restored carefully and decay arrested. The carving is of the Elizabethan domestic pattern type, and the material is pine wood. The top is modern, but is copied from an old font cover at Bramford in Suffolk. The original hinges are preserved. The work of restoration was carried out by Harry Hems, of Exeter, about 8 years since [ca. 1901], for the present vicar, the Rev. J. Henning.
The registers date: baptisms, 1628; marriages, 1632; burials, 1632.