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.
FENITON. St. Andrew. The church consists of chancel, nave, south aisle, and west tower with grotesque gargoyles and six bells. There is a very fine rood screen [plate 107a] to the nave and aisle consisting of eight bays, five in the chancel, and three in the aisle; one of the bays in the chancel has been cut to give access to the pulpit. There is a good cornice of three rows, the upper cresting is good, but the old work of the upper cresting has been replaced with plain moulding, the doors are missing. In the north wall of the chancel, there is a Memento mori; an emaciated figure in winding sheet, probably the figure of a priest; it is in an exceptionally good state of preservation [plate 107b]. The church was restored in 1887, the reredos is modern, and was erected in memory of Mary Pinckney, May 8th 1891. In the vestry is preserved the old sounding board of the pulpit, which has been converted into a table. The old west gallery has been removed, and the organ, which formerly stood there, has been placed in a new organ chamber built out from the north wall of the nave; the dormer window which gave light to the gallery still remains. There are some old carved bench-ends and some of good modern workmanship.
The font [plate 107c] is interesting, as it retains the shelf at the side of the bowl for holding the baptismal bowl, or the cruets for the chrism oil, etc.; the bowl of the font has been re-cut, which gives it a new appearance, and might cause it to be overlooked as being of no great age. The south parclose screen is very fine, the head of the doorway being well designed.
There is an extension to the aisle, forming a lobby and south entrance to the church; in this lobby are preserved the arms of George III [1760-1820]. In the vestry will be found the old parish chest with three locks.
The first vicar was Gifford de Baketon.--- The second, Robert de Polammesforde, 1263-1264.
The registers date: baptisms, 1549; marriages, 1550; burials, 1549.