Shaldon St Peter
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.
SHALDON. St. Peter. This is a modern church and has therefore no claim to come under the title Some Old Devon Churches, but it is such an exceptionally fine church, and has such a magnificent rood screen, that I think an account and illustration of it would be acceptable.
The building was commenced in 1893-94 on a site close to Shaldon Bridge, purchased and given by the vicar, the Rev. R. M. Marsh-Dunn, who deserves much credit for the accomplishment of the work, as the whole church from beginning to finish was erected by his sole efforts, and opened at the consecration free of debt, notwithstanding a vast amount of opposition on the part of many in the parish, who looked upon the scheme as quite impossible. With the generous help of friends outside the neighbourhood, the "impossible" was accomplished, and Shaldon can today claim to have one of the finest churches in Devonshire.
The work of building was resumed in 1899, completed in 1902, and the church was consecrated on July 29th of that year by Bishop Ryle. There was an objection made to a stone altar, and the Bishop ordered its removal as soon as possible after the consecration. It was accordingly removed and erected temporarily in the north aisle, and an oak table put in its place. About two years since this stone altar was abolished [ca. 1908], and its marble front placed in front of the oak table as a stone frontal.
The church is built of red sandstone with polyphant dressings and piers, and consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, Lady Chapel, north transept, and vestry. The pulpit is of marble with alabaster steps. On each side of the entrance to the chancel is an angel carved in marble. The stone rood screen [plate 201] is quite the finest thing of its kind to be seen in Devonshire; the lower portion is of local marble; it consists of three bays, the bay on each side of the centre being divided into two lights, the upper parts filled with open tracery. On the cornice are the words:- Dignus est agnus qui occisus est accipere virtutem.
There is a light gallery front over the cornice in front of which stand the following figures: St. Peter in the centre; St. John and St. Paul on his left; and the Blessed Virgin and St. Nicholas on his right; behind St. Peter rises the rood with the figure of our Lord.
The roof of nave and aisles is of stone; the font consists of a figure of St. John the Baptist with staff and banner holding a shell for the baptismal water. On the west wall of the church is an old carving in wood of St. Peter, which I hope to illustrate and describe in the second volume of Devon Church Antiquities.
The registers date from 1902.