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.
Cheriton Bishop page 52
CHERITON BISHOP. St. Mary. The church consists of chancel with priest's door, nave, north aisle, divided from nave by four arches, south porch, and west tower with six bells.
In the centre of the chancel floor is a tombstone of Andrew Davie, Esq., who died December 2nd 1669. The Davies [or Davys] lived at Medland, a fine mansion of the time of Charles II [1660-1685], but it is no longer in existence. In a case on the south wall of the chancel is a group of figures carved in stone which was found during the rebuilding of the south wall in 1884, this wall slopes considerably outward at the top. The choir is seated with return stalls as in olden times. On the north wall of the chancel is a brass in memory of R. L. Kennell, M.A., Fellow of St. Nicholas College, who died at Zanzibar, June 26th 1874, and a marble tablet in memory of Henry Fotheringill, minister of the parish for 45 years, who died April 17th 1792.
The pulpit, which rests on a modern base, has well carved panels, on one a mermaid with long hair, holding her tail in her right hand, and a branch in her left; another is carved with men's heads, and nondescript animals, and a third has a female head and bust on an animal's body.
The old rood screen is gone from the nave, but a modern one has been erected in its place, and suffers by comparison with a portion of the ancient screen remaining in the north aisle. This old screen [plate 52] consists of two bays and the doors, the groining and cresting are gone, but some of the old cornice of grape leaves and fruit remains, and the lower panels contain paintings of saints, in a very dilapidated condition, they are so worn it is difficult to say what saints they are intended to represent. In the panels on the north side are figures of three bishops; one with his head in his hands; and a figure, apparently of a monk, in a white habit; in all there are twelve figures remaining; part of the old rood staircase can be seen behind the pulpit. In the north aisle chapel (behind the screen and divided from the chancel by an arch) is the monument of Joan, the wife of Lawrence Davy, of Medland, who died April 18th 1680, and Mary Davy, wife of John Davy, who died February 10th 1695.
The font is Norman, the top has been restored with cement, and the inside is lined with mosaic cubes, instead of lead. The whole of the bowl is carved, and there is moulding round the waist; below this the font expands to the base, the lower portion has a kind of elongated scallop pattern. On the aisle walls are hung the arms of George II [r. 1727-1760], "William Browning, 1735, Robert Westaway. Wardens."
There are several old tombstones, one in the aisle being that of John Davie, of Mounson, in Cheriton, who died May 18th 1634.
The registers date from 1538.