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.
BRIXHAM. St. Mary. The church [plate 35a] consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, north and south transepts, south porch with groined stone roof, the keystone having carving representing angels censing the figure of the Blessed Virgin, and west tower with six bells.
There is a priest's door in the chancel, a piscina with shelf, and on the north and south sides are altar tombs beneath arches. On a brass plate on the wall of the north aisle is the following inscription:-
To the precious memory of John Upton, Esq.
a saint excellent on earth, and now
glorious in heaven, who was born on earth
April 7th, 1590, and was translated to heaven
Sept. 11th, 1641.
"Think not this single grave hold one alone
Many good men ly buried in this one
And though his life on earth not long apeares
He the good works brought forth of many yeares
Swift to good his time he did improve
Industrious active and made all of love
Others do good by fits and in a mood
But this mans constant trade was doing good
Wisdome in him was joyned with devotion
And both adorned with sweetest conversation
He had no private or self seeking hart
As those that thinke the whole made for a part
But by an universall spirit led
Which breathes into the church from Christ her head
He loved the whole to it himself he gave
And in the good thereof his good would have
Since then that Spirit of Christ in him did live
That Spirit to him a glorious life doth give
And as to it in plenty hee did sow
A plenteous glory now to him shall grow
And thou that mournst that hee is not with thee
Bee like him then in blisse thou shalt him see."
There are other monuments of the Upton family in this aisle dating from 1687.
The north transept contains monuments of the Yarde and Buller families. It is now enclosed by a wooden screen, there was formerly a family pew in a gallery in this transept, the pew has been removed to the ground-floor, and the front of the gallery used for the front of the pew. There is a piscina with shelf in the east wall.
At the west end of the aisle is a tombstone with the inscription:-
"Weep not for me you standers by
Which do beset me round
For in this grave I now must lie
Until the trumpet shall sound."
The font [plate 35b] ranks amongst the finest in Devonshire. It is octagonal in shape, the sides carved with rich arches springing from angels holding shields; at the corners of the base are grotesque animals.
The registers date: baptisms, 1587; marriages, 1556; burials, 1560.