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.
CLAWTON. St. Leonard. The church [plate 60a] consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, separated from the nave by four arches on each side, south porch, and west tower with five bells. In the chancel is a piscina with drain, a priest's door, and on the south side a deeply splayed narrow window.
The roof has carved bosses and wall plate. The pillars of the westernmost bays of the north and south aisles differ in style from the others, being clustered columns instead of octagonal, and they are constructed of a different kind of stone. The rood staircase and doorway remain, the staircase is on the south side and is in the thickness of the aisle wall. There are some remains of the rood screen preserved in the belfry, and there is a large representation of the arms of one of the [King] Charles without date. The porch has bosses and carved wall plates. On the north wall of the aisle is a large monument with recumbent male figure. He is arrayed in a long robe with lace collar, the face has a peaked beard and moustache. At the top of the monument is the inscription:- Here lyeth also
The only Sonne
Osmond who dyed
The XXII of Aprill
Underneath on a slate slab is the inscription:- Here lyeth the body of Christopher Osmond
of fernhill gent hee took to wife
Mary daughter of Peter Porter
Esq., he dyed ye 7th day of
"Cease now your sad laments, bewaile no more
My present state thrice happyer than before
Whiles living languishing was I, now dead
the life betides mee which death never sped
In things terrens had I found contentation
No farther place should be mine expectation
But seeing all both various and unsteady
I knockt at heavn and found a porter ready."
In the vestry are remains of an old churchyard cross. The churchwardens' accounts are very interesting, they begin in 1593. From them it was found that there was in old times an altar of St. Catherine, a modern one has recently been erected dedicated to this saint. There is a good Norman font [plate 60b].
The registers date: baptisms, 1694; marriages, 1697; burials, 1693.