Some Old Devon Churches

By J. Stabb

London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)

Page 41

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.

BUCKFASTLEIGH. Holy Trinity. The church consists of chancel, with priest's door, north and south aisles with chapels at the east end, north and south transepts, south porch, and west tower, containing six bells, surmounted by a spire rather out of the perpendicular.

The church is mainly Late Perpendicular, but the chancel is Early English. The sedilia and piscina remain in the chancel, but the carving has been scraped down and the dividing pillars of the sedilia removed. There is a piscina in the south-east chapel. The rood screen has been removed, but the lower doorway remains on the north side of the church, and there is an exterior turret for the staircase; the upper doorway has been walled up. The pulpit is carved and probably contains remains of the cornice of the rood screen. The font [plate 41] is Norman with cable moulding, and is roughly supported by the pillars which were removed from the sedilia.

In the churchyard are two curious tombs. The first is that of Richard Cabell, of Brook [Manor], who died in 1677. He was the last male member of his family, and his reputation was so bad that when he died he was buried under a heavy stone, and a sort of penthouse with iron railings built over it to prevent him coming up again. The second curious tomb is that of the Bovey family; the monument is in the form of a coffin of modern shape, resting on trestles, with the inscription carved on the side of the coffin, the whole being made of granite.

At the east end of the churchyard are the remains of an old chapel, or possibly of an earlier church.

The registers date from 1602.