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 Fitzpaine page 53
CHERITON FITZPAINE. St. Matthew. The church [plate 53a] consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower with six bells. The chancel is separated from the aisles by two arches on each side, the pillars having capitals carved with figures of angels holding shields; on the north side one shield is bare, the other has a coat of arms. On the south side the shields have no carving [plate 53b]. On the south side of the chancel is a piscina with drain. The stone reredos is carved with the emblems of the Evangelists, on the north side is a brass with the inscription:- This Reredos was restored to the Glory of God and in memory of the Revd. William Harris Arundell 49 years Rector of this Parish, who died May 4th 1873 aged 75 years, by his widow S. R. Arundell, who died July 28th 1885, the year of the Restoration of the Church by the Revd. William Henry Arundell.
On the east side of the south pillar of the chancel arch is a tablet with the inscription:- H. S. I.
Nicholaus Hickes, A.M.
Hujus Parochiæ quandam Rect
Elizabetha Conjux ejus fidelis
Thomæ Ford Arm: Exon filia
Hic Pietate insignis
Illa virtute proeclara
Hæc XXVIII die Feb. A.D. MDCC14
Ob Ille XXII die Feb. A.D. MDCCXVIII.
Hic etiam jacet Hannah eorum Filiola.
The waggon roofs of the chancel, nave, and north aisle have carved bosses, those in the chancel and nave are gilt, those in the north aisle are plain, from the south aisle roof the bosses have been removed. At the east end of the north aisle is a mural monument with an inscription in Latin which very difficult to translate. It seems to be Latin of an ancient date and unusual type, and that the writer used abbreviations which no one could understand but himself. I give the inscription copied from the monument and a translation of the same, which I have obtained with the help of several friends, in the hope that it may amuse someone with spare time to go one better. I think it may be called a monumental puzzle:- Subtus Reponuntur
SarHic juxta Reponiuntur exuviæ
Uxoris Johanis Moore
De Upcot Armigeri
Eupnxoc Suum ci Eupnxoc
Merito Ingeminaverit Foelicissimus Conjux
Ille (Hoc Saltem Nomine)
Foelix esse Desiit, illa incepit
Postquam Amantissimam Sponsam
Sponsam obsequentissimam Tenerrimamq:
Matrem Familias Cordatissimam
Lactissimam Ultrobiq: Foeminam
Sic Terris Indecasset;
Ex Amplexibus Sancti Amoris
Maestrissimi Conjugis Rapta fuit
Ut in Sanctiorem Doi sui Charissimi
Jesu Christi sinum Deponereter
Nov 5 Arae Christi aniæ
Hic juxta Reponiuntur exuviæ Johanis Moore Armi: qui
Postquam candore niveo probitate eximia oeve ikockioc fato
Plane Heroica generosum stemma adornasset
Consessit: & cum Lectissimæ conjugis cinerbus suos
Sociavit. A.P. 20. 1700.
Translation ? Beneath are placed the mortal remains of Sarah, wife of John Moore of Upcott Armigeri. During her lifetime her most happy husband deservedly (Ingeminaverit ?) when she died he ceased to be happy since a most beloved spouse, a most obedient and tender wife, a most feeling mother, a most happy woman in every way, thus was she spoken of universally, was taken from the embrace of the sacred love of her sorrowing husband in order that she might be placed in the more sacred Bosom of her Dearest Lord Jesus Christ in the year 1691.
Near here are the remains of John Moore knight (or Armour bearer) who after a hero's crown had plainly adorned this nobleman with the splendour of a hoary head, distinguished uprightness . . . . died and united his own with the ashes of his most happy wife April 20 1700.
There are several old tombstones in the floors of the aisles. On one is the following inscription:- Here lyeth the body of Sarah ye
wife of John Moore of Upcott
Esq: and daughter of Gilbert Payge
of Barnstaple Merchant who departed
this life ye 5th day of Nov 1691 aged
Here lyeth John Moore Esq:
Characterized in the monument
Obit Ap 20 1700.
Another in the aisle:- The remains of Garthrude daughter
of James Courtenay of Upcott Esq:
Wife to John Moore Esq: and mother
of John Moore of Upcott Esq. Deceased
the 12th of March Anno Dom
ætatis suæ 74.
Another:- Here lyeth James Courtenay the
younger Esq. who Deceased
the VIII day of Septemeber Ao Do
Another:- Here lyeth the body of Andrew Payne
of this parish yeoman who died
the 25th day of May 1697, aged 76 years.
Another:- Here lieth the body of Marye
Courtenay wife of James Courtenay of
Upcott Esq: who religiously died ye 19th
of April 1624 in ye year of her age
In the south aisle:- The remains of Catherine
daughter of John Courtenay of Molland
Esq: and wife of John Moore of Upcott
Esq. who religiously quitted this life
July 5th Anno Dom 1671
and of her age the 37.
Another:- Here lyeth ye body of Andrew Hewish
of Vevy who departed this life ye 15th
of July 1726. Aged 47.
Another:- Here lyeth ye body of Thomasin the
wife of Richard Parkhouse & daughter
of Peter Saldon of Morchard Bishop
who departed this life ye 18th of December
Another:- Here lyeth ye body of William Bidgood
gent who departed this life Feb 21 1745
In the north aisle:- Here lyeth the bodies of Hugh Staple
who departed this life the third day
of Aprill Anno Dmi 1631
And here lyeth the body of Edith Staple
his wife who deceased the XII of September
Anno Dom 1630 ? being aged 70.
It will be seen from these examples that there are many old gravestones still in existence in this church. In the porch (with parvise) there remains still the holy water stoup. The roof is of stone with bosses carved with the emblems of the Passion; at the corners are figures with shields; over the outer door is a sundial and a figure of St. Matthew. In the churchyard are the following epitaphs:-
"You that pass by pray cast an eye
And see what God hath done
He did send death to stop my breath
And soon did call me home.
My youngest lamb, God's first demand
Out of my little fold
To warm the rest that dye they must
Let them be young or old."
NOTE. Polwhele says that John Moore was of Moore near Tavistock. "This Mr. Moore made a cyder house of the chapel there, and was condemned, it seems in consequence of this profanation, to lose his property."
The registers date: baptisms, 1660; marriages, 1663; burials, 1662.