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.
DODBROOKE. St. Thomas à Becket. The church is Perpendicular in style, and consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, and embattled west tower with six bells. The tower dates from the 14th century and the church from the 15th. At one time the tower was surmounted by a spire, but this was removed in 1785.
The rood screen is of the usual Perpendicular style [plate 84], late 15th or early 16th century. The central portion was restored in 1897 by Mr. H. Hems with the addition of a finely carved oak cornice, and the cross and angels over the central doorway. At the same time the north aisle portion was added. The screen is supposed to be almost a facsimile of that destroyed by fanatics in the 16th century. The cornice is copied from that in Combe-in-Teignhead Church, and the angels from two of the adoring angels on the reredos of St. Alban's Cathedral [Hertfordshire].
On the shields on the screens are recorded the names of all the incumbents of the parish from 1327 down to the present rector. The groining is gone. There are paintings of saints on the lower panels, these have been repainted, but some of them are copies of the old.
The church was restored in 1846, and again in 1886, when the chancel was rebuilt and the north aisle added; this is divided from the chancel and nave by an arcade of six arches, three of which were taken from the ruins of the church at South Huish. The ceiling of the south aisle was taken down at the same time, exposing the oak roof, which has some fine carving and bosses.
The registers date: baptisms, 1725; marriages, 1727; burials, 1727.