Churston Ferrers


Some Old Devon Churches

By J. Stabb

London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)

Page 59

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.

Churston Ferrers, page 59

CHURSTON FERRERS. St. Mary. This 15th century church consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch with parvise, and west tower with four bells. The church was originally a private chapel attached to Churston Court, but between 1480 and 1490 it was given by the owners as a chapelry in the Parish of Brixham.

Over the entrance to the porch there is an old carving, much worn; beneath a cinquefoiled canopy is a representation of the Crucifixion with figures on either side of the cross, either the Blessed Virgin and St. John, which is most probable, or the second figure might be the other Mary [Magdalene]. On the right hand side of the entrance is a holy water stoup. The church was restored in 1865 at a cost of £1,800, and at about the same time a fine rood screen with paintings was taken down. The nave is divided from the aisles by five arches, the capitals of the piers have good carving; one at the west end is carved with mythological animals, their heads forming the angles, and one at the east end bears the arms of the Yarde family. There is a hagioscope from the south aisle to the chancel. Beneath the east window of the south aisle, surmounted by the arms of the Barons Churston, in bronze, is an alabaster panel, running along the whole length of the east wall, with the following inscription:- X On the south side of this church in the appointed
resting place of the family lie the mortal remains of, X
Gyles Yelverton Yarde Buller second son of John 2nd
Baron Churston and Barbara his wife, Born 10th
December 1875, Died 9th September 1900.

There are several spaces left for further inscriptions, and at the bottom of the panel are the words:- X On whose souls may Christ Jesus have mercy. X

There is a piscina with shelf in the chancel, and there are some remains of 14th or 15th century glass in the church. Parts of the old rood screen [plate 59] have, with a good deal of added modern work, been made into a belfry screen. The nave portion of the old screen consisted of three divisions of unusual size, each division about 5 feet wide and containing six tracery lights. Some idea of the original screen can be obtained from the doors in the screen in the tower which formed the doors of the original screen; the old rood staircase is in a turret on the north side of the church.

In the splay of the westernmost window in the south aisle is an opening which enabled the priest to see the altar from the parvise. The font has tablet with coats of arms beneath the bowl. Some old carved bench-ends remain in the east end, and the arms of Queen Anne [r. 1702-1714) are preserved in the church.

The registers date from 1590.