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.
WELCOMBE. St. Nectan. The church consists of chancel and nave, north and south transepts, south porch, and west tower with four bells. The reredos is plain oak, at the sides are panels with the Commandments and two paintings, one of the Good Shepherd, and the other of St. Mary Magdalene. There is the inscription:- Painted, Presented, and Dedicated to the Glory of God by the Rev. E. J. Porter Vicar of the Parish in the 83rd and 85th years of his age.
There is a chancel screen of great interest remaining in the church [plates 248a and 248b], it is probably the earliest screen to be found in the county. The square-headed lights are divided by small shafts of rude workmanship. There are two divisions with four lights in each and a central doorway, the doors are missing. The cornice has three rows of carving and is possibly of later date than the screen as there is some of the 15th century ornament which is to be found at Hartland and other places. The original lower panels have been removed and the spaces filled in with the remains of the old bench-ends. These bench-ends were poppy-heads of very original character, these heads were cut off to make the ends fit the panels of the screen. The screen has probably been moved from its original position. The space in front of the chancel is covered with gravestones dating from 1600 to 1700. The reading desk has some old carving, and the lectern and pulpit are worthy of notice. Over the transept arches are carved oak panels with representations of the vine and the fig tree. Near the churchyard is an old "Holy Well". The circular font is ancient.
The registers date: baptisms, 1777; marriages, 1757; burials, 1778.