Some Old Devon Churches

By J. Stabb

London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)

Page 20

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.

BISHOPSTEIGNTON. St. John the Baptist. The church consists of chancel, nave, north aisle separated from nave by arches supported on fluted columns with carved capitals. There is a priest's door in the chancel and a piscina at the east end of the aisle, but this is not now visible, as it is hidden by the organ. On the north wall of the chancel is the memorial of Peter Lear de Lyndridge, Bart., 1682, and on the north wall of the aisle is the memorial of the Martyn family of Lyndridge, dated 1676. The west tower was rebuilt in 1815, but the west doorway is old and is an excellent example of Norman work [plate 20a]. It has grotesque heads of birds and beasts, with chevron and other mouldings, the beasts' head, etc., are carved round the arch of the doorway; the capitals of the pillars at the sides are well carved with figures and foliage.

On the south wall is another Norman carving [plate 20b]; this originally formed the tympanum of the south door, but the doorway has been walled up; we must be thankful that the carving was not removed at the same time. It represents the Adoration of the Magi, and the figures of the Wise Men are in a very good state of preservation.

The font is Norman with a narrow band of carving round the edge of the bowl, a broader band lower down, then cable moulding, and a scallop pattern round the shaft [plate 20c].

At the east end of the churchyard are some old tombs where lie buried those who died of the plague in the 17th century.

The registers date from 1558.