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.
FARWAY. St. Michael and All Angels. The church [plate 106] consists of chancel with priest's door, nave, north aisle separated from nave by four arches, south porch, and west tower with three bells. The north aisle was added to the nave about the first half of the 12th century. The circular Norman piers, dividing the nave from the aisle, are still in position, but the capitals were partly cut away, when pointed arches were substituted for the old semi-circular ones about the year 1300. It is probable that at about the same time the aisle was widened. The altar table in the chancel is interesting, it dates from the time of Elizabeth [1558-1603], and is 4 feet long by 2 feet broad and 3 feet high. The legs, of which all four are carved, are bulbous shaped, and the lower and upper rails are well carved. Dr. Cox says:- "It is in a good state of preservation, and may rank among the six best examples. These tables with bulbous legs were in use from about 1572 to 1606, this one probably dates from about the last quarter of the 16th century."
The church was restored by Sir Edmund Sanderson-Prideaux, and was re-opened September 27th 1876, shortly before his death by which this branch of the family became extinct.
On the north wall of the chancel is a mural tablet in memory of Richard Blake, rector of the parish for 31 years, who died September 22nd 1788:- He was a liberal benefactor to the poor, a sincere and steady friend and vigilant pastor. From his mind, replete with knowledge flowed instruction to all, and his heart equally benevolent ever expanded the gate of his hospitable Mansion. To whose memory this monument is erected by order of his affectionate relative, Hannah Atkinson.
Another tablet is in memory of John Hawkes Merles, rector of the parish for 20 years, who died on the Feast of the Holy Innocents [28th December], 1893, aged 80.
At the east end of the north aisle is a tablet:- To the memory of Sir Peter Prideaux Bart, son of Sir Peter Prideaux Bart, by Susanna his wife, sister to Lord John Poulett, Baron of Hinton St. George, which Sir Peter Prideaux married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir Bevill Granville of Stow in Cornwall Kt, and sister to ye Right Hon. John, late Earl of Bath, by whom he had fower sons and six daughters. This monument was erected at ye sole and proper cost of Susanna Prideaux, eldest daughter of Sir Peter Prideaux, his sole executrix. Obiit 22nd Novembris Anno Dom: 1705, ætatis suæ 79
At the east end of the aisle, against the north wall, is the monument of Sir Edmund Prideaux. Two figures are lying at full length, one above the other, beneath a circular arch, surmounted by a coat of arms. The upper figure is clothed in forensic costume, cloak, coif, and ruff, the hands raised in prayer; on his left arm is his shield. The lower figure wears armour on which are the Prideaux arms, and long boots, both hands clasp the sword. He has long hair, a deep collar, and his head rests on a helmet with a plume of feathers; at the back of the monument is the inscription:- In memorie of Sir Edmund Prideaux Baronette who died ye 28th day of March Anno Domini 1628. ætatis suæ 74.
On the north wall is a portrait bust with the following inscription:- This parte of the church was new Builte in ye yere of our Lord 1628. By the Benevolence of Humphrie Hutchins of this parish.
On the wall there is also a brass tablet with the inscription:- In pia memoria Richardi
qui moritur Ano Dni 1632
"He that procured this sacrcd edifice
To be erected here, now here he lies
His zealous care was the efficient cause
To build this fabric for the use of God's Lawes
In life a saint in death a happy soule
None but the envious can this controll.
"He loved our Nation and hath built us a synagogue."
The registers date: baptisms, 1567; marriages, 1574; burials, 1573.