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.
HENNOCK. St. Mary. The church consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, western tower and a western vestry. The church, with the exception of the tower, was entirely rebuilt about 1450. The original decoration of the portion of the roof over the rood screen still remains and is in a good state of preservation. The screen is of good Perpendicular work of 15th century date [plate 117a]. The groining and cornice were probably removed in 1758. The doors remain and most probably have paintings on the panels, but these are obliterated by a coating of oak paint. The other panels owe their preservation to the high backed pews which were put in the church in 1758. Amongst the figures, commencing from the north side, are St. John, St. Peter, St. Jude, St. Paul, St. Stephen, St. Philip, St. Matthias, St. Lawrence (with a gridiron), St. Gertrude, Virgin and Abbess (with a loaf of bread), and St. Margaret (trampling on the Dragon). On the south side are the Annunciation and some figures in an unfinished state. Mr. C. E. Keyser thinks the figures on the panels behind the pulpit to be St. Sidwell and St. Winifrid.
The rood staircase was blocked up at the restoration in 1875, but the position of the two doors can be seen in the interior. The parclose screens, bereft of their cornices, remain in good condition.
The tower is late First-Pointed, 44 feet high, and contains a peal of four bells.
The font is fine, a large bowl of local stone supported by five shafts, a thick central one, and a smaller at each corner. The date is about 1170, and the font must have belonged to an earlier church on the same site [plate 117b].
The list of vicars begins with Symon de Sancto Lando, September 3rd 1259, presented by the Abbot and Convent of Torre, who were patrons to 1539. The registers date from 1541.