Some Old Devon Churches

By J. Stabb

London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)

Page 56

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.

CHRISTOW. St. James. The church consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower with six bells. The rood screen [plate 56] is without groining and consists of four bays and the doors; it is coloured and gilt, and the lower panels are painted in blue and red ornamented with gilt stars. The scroll moulding on the main mullions and around the arcade is of unusual design. Part of the screen, once across the south aisle, is now fitted as a tower screen. The Royal arms are preserved on the wall of the north aisle with the inscription:- Tho: Moore, Chr: Hoore Wardes. 1682.

The seats in the aisles are old with carved ends; the pulpit is old but plain, and there is an old square font. The east window is in the memory of Edward, 4th Viscount Exmouth, who died October 31st 1899. The window at the east end of the south aisle is in memory of members of the Woolcombe family. In the chancel is preserved an old flag, near which is tablet with the following inscription:- The flag of Admiral Lord Exmouth at the battle
of Algiers 27th August 1816.
It was saved from the great fire at the Arsenal
Devonport 1840, and restored to the family of Mr A
Lunesdale, R.N.M. attendant of the dockyard and
who was master of the the Flagship in the battle.
Placed in this church
Sept 27th 1842.

Nathaniel Bussell, the parish clerk, is said to have been shot by the Roundheads on February 19th 1631, and to have been buried in the porch where he fell, because he refused to deliver up the keys of the church for the building to be ransacked. The stone is there with the inscription:- Nathaniel Bussell 46 years clark heere
dyed 19th February, 1631.

The date seems a little too early for him to have lost his life at the hands of the Roundheads [cf. Civil Wars 1642-1651].

The registers date: baptisms, 1557; marriages, 1555; burials, 1557.