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.
KINGSTEIGNTON. St. Michael. The church [plate 142a] consists of chancel, with piscina and priest's door, nave, north and south aisles, separated from nave by five arches on each side, supported on clustered pillars with carved capitals, south porch, and west tower with six bells; the old bells dated 1766, 1774, 1726, 1623, 1746; there is a gallery beneath the tower.
On the floor of the chancel near the priest's door is a tombstone with the following inscription:- Richardus Adlam Huius
ecclesiae vicarius obiit
Feb 10, 1670
apostrophe ad mortem.
"Damnd tyrant can't prophaner blood suffice
Must priests that offer be the sacrifice
Go tell the Genii that in Hades lie
Thy Triumph o'er this sacred Calvary.
Till some just Nemesis avenge our cause
And force this kill-priest to revere good cause."
In the chancel is a tablet in memory of the Revd. Christopher Beeke, vicar of the parish for 61 years, who died February 10th 1798, aged 88. Over the priest's door is a tablet in memory of:- Richard Carpenter Vicar of this P'sh, Prebendary of St. Peter's, and Rector of St Mary Major's, Exeter, Master of Arts, and sometime Fellow of Christchurch in Oxford, who died the 10th day of September 1697, in the 50th year of his age.
The old rood screen is gone, but the lower panels, containing paintings of saints, are temporarily placed across the chancel, pending restoration. There are 14 panels, but the figures of the saints have been badly treated. The 1st panel, on the north side, is entirely defaced, the 2nd and 3rd, too defaced for recognition; after these they come in the following order:- (4) the figure of a bishop with staff, holding his head in his hands; (5) female figure, holding a church; (6) bishop, with a mitre, holding a book; (7) female figure, with sword in left hand, book in right and wheel at feet; (8) female figure with tall cross in right hand and book in left; (9) male figure with staff in left hand; (10) female figure, with cross in right hand, holding her dress in left; (11) an abbot in white habit, staff in the right hand, book in the left; (12) female figure in white, arrow in right, book in left hand; (13) male figure in yellow chasuble and mitre, staff in left hand, right hand raised in benediction; (14) female figure in green cloak, violet under dress, book in left hand, candle in right.
There is a piscina at the end of the south aisle, and on the east wall is the tombstone of:- Lewis Hele, Esq, who died ye 7th of January in the yeare of our Lord God 1657. There are two old tablets on the wall of this aisle; one in memory of James Clifford, who died April 12th 1685, and the other in memory of Thomas Hele, of Babcombe, who died March 13th 1673. On a tombstone in the north aisle dated 1675 are the lines:-
"Reader if Thou Dar'st to dy
And dwell in dust as well as I
Begone and think on't by and by."
There are many old gravestones in both aisles.
The font [plate 142b] is octagonal and well carved; observe the two faces on the south side, carved in the band of foliage and fruit round the base of the bowl. The south doorway is also richly carved with fruit and foliage, with curious little faces between, and a hand grasping a bunch of grapes. I should think the same sculptor carved both font and doorway.
The registers date from 1670.