Some Old Devon Churches
By J. Stabb
London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)
Transcribed and edited by Dr Roger Peters
Full text available at
Prepared by Michael Steer
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.
BERRY POMEROY. St. Mary. The church consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch with parvise, and embattled western tower containing four bells, dated 1635, 1829, 1750, 1607. The building, which is chiefly Perpendicular in style, with remains of Early English and Decorated work, was rebuilt in the 15th century, possibly by Sir Richard de Pomeroy.
The principal monuments are those of the Pomeroys and Seymours. In the north wall of the chancel is the tomb of Sir Richard Pomeroy, and Elizabeth his wife, 1501. In the north wall of the chapel at the east end of the aisle is a fine monument [plate 15], erected to the memory of Lord Edward Seymour, the son of the Protector [Edward, ca. 1505-1552; acceded 1546], who died in 1593, and his daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, daughter of Arthur Champernowne. The arch is ornamented with roses and pomegranates; beneath the arch lie the knights, clothed in plate armour, one above the other; below lies the lady, behind her head a cradle with a child in it, and at her feet a figure in a chair. On the panel beneath are the kneeling figures of the nine children, five male and four female.
In the chancel is a tablet to the memory of the Rev. John Prince, author of Worthies of Devon, who was vicar of the parish for 42 years, and died in 1723.
The rood screen is 42 feet long [plate 15b], the doors are missing, and the cresting and parts of the cornice are in a bad state, but it is going through the process of restoration. Among the saints on the panels are St. James the Less, St. Thomas, St. Stephen, St. Jude, St. Matthias, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Barbara, and the four Doctors of the Church [St. Gregory the Great, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome]. The south aisle portion has been completed, and when I visited the church the north aisle part had been removed, and I believe the complete restoration of the screen is now being carried out by the same firm that restored the screen of Down St. Mary.
On the capitals of the piers on the north side of the nave are scrolls bearing the names of some persons and their wives who contributed to the building of that part of the church. The south porch has a groined roof with bosses, bearing the arms of the Pomeroy family.
The registers date from 1602.