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.
KINGSBRIDGE. St. Edmund the Martyr. The church is cruciform in shape and consists of chancel, nave, aisles, transepts, and central tower with spire containing eight bells. In 1761 the old bells were put on board a ship to be sent to London to be recast; the vessel was captured by a French privateer, so a new set of bells had to be cast.
The aisles were added in the 15th century, the eastern ends forming chapels on either side of the chancel. The 15th century rood screen has been removed, but some portions will be found in the pulpit and reading desk. The 15th century parclose screen is said to be unique [plate 139a]. The doors and lower panels have been taken away to make choir seats, but there are some good specimens of scroll pattern panels of the time of Henry VII [1485-1509]. There are hagioscopes in the eastern pillars supporting the tower. In the chancel is a piscina and a fine misericord. There are remains of Early English work in the south transept which formerly had two chapels, the piscinas still remaining. The stained glass window in the baptistery is called the "Children's Window", as the cost was chiefly subscribed for and collected by the Sunday School children. The ancient font is Early English and is constructed of polyphant stone. The only old window in the church is in the south chancel aisle and belongs to the 16th century. On a headstone near the chancel door is the following curious epitaph:-
"Here I lie at the chancel door;
Here I lie because I'm poor;
The farther in the more you'll pay;
Here lie I as warm as they."
The registers date: baptisms, 1613; marriages, 1612; burials, 1631.