Exeter St Mary Major


Some Old Devon Churches

By J. Stabb

London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)

Page 100

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.

EXETER. St. Mary Major. The church, which consists of chancel, nave, and south aisle, was rebuilt in 1865-67, and does not contain much of antiquarian interest. The old rood screen was taken down at the rebuilding of the church, and the major portion given to the church of St. Mary Steps. There are, however, two bays remaining, which have been made into a screen for the south chapel [plate 100]. Judging from what is left, it must have been a very handsome screen, the cresting, of angels holding scrolls, is remarkably fine. There are paintings of saints on the lower panels, of which Mr. Bligh Bond gives the following description:- (1) St. Matthias (?); (2) St. James Minor; (3) St. Philip (?); (4) St. Bartholomew.

In the tower there is an old carving in stone of St. Lawrence on the gridiron; it was, I believe, formerly outside the church, possibly it came from the church of St. Lawrence.

The first rector was William de Newtone, 1283.

The registers date: baptisms, 1561; marriages, 1562; burials, 1562.