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.

COOKBURY. St. John the Baptist and the Seven Maccabees. The church [plate 70a] consists of chancel, nave, north aisle divided from nave by three arches resting on granite monoliths, south transept, and west tower with three bells. The altar has some old carved oak work, and just inside the communion rails are four rows of old encaustic tiles with designs of the rose, lion, fleur-de-lis, and three of the tiles have a female figure. The space in front of the rails is also paved with old tiles. The chancel is enclosed by a massive oak screen of six lights and the doors, it is without carving. The tracery of the lights is of Early English style, but the screen does not appear to be of any great age.

The lectern is a fine piece of carving, it is of oak representing an eagle [plate 70b] standing on a low base. The reading desk has a carved side, and there is some good carving on the front of a seat in the transept. This carving has probably been removed from the pulpit, and the spaces thus left have been filled in with tracery of the same design as the tracery of the screen. At the east end of the north aisle there is an old carved bench-end. The font has a rectangular basin on square central shaft with four smaller shafts.

The registers date: baptisms, 1746; marriages, 1750; burials, 1746.