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.
ASHBURTON. St. Andrew. The church consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, north and south transepts, north porch, and west tower, 92 feet high, containing eight bells. There were originally two porches, north and south, but the latter has been removed. The north porch is all that remains of the old transitional Norman building. The church is supposed to have been founded about 1137 by Ethelward, a son of William de Pomeroy, and the [first] re-founder of Buckfast Abbey. The north aisle was built by order of Bishop Stapledon in 1315, the south aisle during the episcopacy of Bishop Lacy between 1420 and 1455. In the north aisle roof is a boss with the head of Edward II [1307-1327], and in the south, one with the mitre and letter L. In this aisle is a tablet, with inscription by Dr. [Samuel] Johnson to John Dunning, 1st Baron Ashburton, who died August 8th 1783. The chancel probably dates from about the commencement of the 14th century. There must at one time have been five altars in the church, as the piscinas still remain. The old rood screen must have been as fine, or finer, than any of the screens we have left. It was richly carved and coloured, the saints in the lower panels carved in relief, and then painted. It was erected in 1525, and unfortunately removed in 1718.
The present screen is modern [plate 4], by Mr. Street, and erected in 1883; it is of a type different to that of the usual Devonshire screens. The pulpit also is modern; it is of carved oak, and was placed in the church in the Spring of 1907.
The first mention of a vicar I can find is John Bridport, September 22nd 1435.
The registers date from 1603.