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.
SHAUGH PRIOR. St. Edward. The church is Perpendicular, and consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and lofty granite tower with six bells. The rood screen has been removed, but the stairs still remain in a rood turret on the north side.
The principal object of interest in this church is the carved oak font cover [plate 202]. It is, I believe, the only example of its kind to be found in Devonshire. For years it was lost sight of, and at last was found in an old linhay, almost hidden by the dust of years, and much decayed and mutilated. It was sent to Exeter and successfully restored by Mr. Harry Hems; it is made of oak and stands about 9 feet high. In shape it is octagonal, is built in three stages; for the first 3 feet the sides rise perpendicularly, and open upon hinges for access to the font (this stage is well carved). Above this stage the structure rises for several feet with diminished diameter; the panels of this stage are plain, but the angles are enriched with carving, and have as their finials the figures of eight tonsured priests. The third stage is spiral in form, and there is some open work of elaborate detail in the spaces between the ribs. The cover is surmounted by a well carved figure of a bishop in his pontificals [i.e., buskins, sandals, gloves, dalmatic, tunicle, ring, pectoral cross, and mitre]. I believe, when the cover was found, this figure was without head or hands, but these have now been supplied. The bishop holds his pastoral staff in his left hand, the crook turned outwards, and the right hand is raised in the act of benediction. The cover probably dates from the 15th century.
The registers date from 1565.