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.
HOLCOMBE ROGUS. All Saints. The church consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower. The capitals of the pillars on the north side of the nave are carved with fruit and grotesque heads, those on the south side are plain; in the west pier on the south side there is an image niche with the figure missing. The north aisle roof is cradle shape, well carved, with rich bosses and wall plate, and with angel figures supporting the beams. The south porch has a groined stone roof; the corbels of the outer doorway are said to be carvings of Edward III [r. 1327-1377] and Queen Philippa [his wife].
The rood screen is gone, but the upper doorway of the staircase remains; the lower has been walled up.
The Bluett pew [plate 122] which occupies a prominent position in the north aisle, and measures 18ft. 8in. by 10ft. 10in., is well worthy of notice. It is surrounded by a Jacobean screen, surmounted by a cornice of medallions elaborately carved with Scriptural subjects, depicting scenes from the Creation to the delivery of the Law on Mount Sinai. Inside the pew, on the north wall, is a monument, with a bas-relief of the Good Samaritan, in memory of the Rev. Robert Bluett, dated 1749. On the north side of the chancel is the Bluett Chapel, containing two fine monuments. The one to the west is that of Sir John Bluett, and wife Elizabeth. He is arrayed in full plate armour, the hands raised in prayer, the hair is long, and he wears a moustache and peaked beard, the head resting on a cushion and the feet on a squirrel. Slightly above him rests his wife, she is arrayed in close-fitting bodice with very full sleeves tied in at the elbow, and full skirt; her feet rest on a dog, and her head, with curly hair, rests on a cushion. At the base of the monument kneel their eight children, all apparently girls, four of them holding skulls in their hands. At the back of the tomb is an inscription in Latin of which Mr. Ashworth gives the following translation:- Sacred to the memory of the truly noble and high born man, John Bluet, Knight, and his most distinguished wife, Elizabeth daughter of John Portman, a soldier and baronet.
"He indeed died November 29th aged 31, and of salvation 1634
But she July 7th aged 32, and of salvation, 1636.
Whoever thou art that approachest to gaze
Be not sparing of thy tears, lest the stone put thee to shame
Moisture exudes from the stones, and they oppressed with sorrow
Declare that they can scarcely endure the burden
They hide a noble pair, not more noble than their race.
How great a lustre was shed on the good deeds of both!
Those whose spirits love united with a bond of piety
The joys of eternity now crown."
The second monument is in memory of Richard Bluett, and Mary his wife. She is arrayed in ruff, tight-fitting bodice, and flowing skirt, very full at the hips; he wears a skull cap, ruff, gown, knee breeches, and shoes with rosettes. On the tomb are the following inscriptions:- Memoriæ sacrum
Mary ye only wife of Richard Bluet of
Holcombe Rogus, Esq, ye daughter of Sir John
Chichester of Rawleigh, Knight, and sister to ye
Right Honble ye Lord Chichester, Lord Deputy
of ye Kingdome of Irelande-who had issue
6 sonnes viz; Arthur, Roger, Walter-
Charles-Francis-and Charles ye younger
And five daughters-Gertrude-Amey-
Joane-Anne-and Dorothy-She departed
this life ye eleventh day of Februarie 1613
Being of ye age of 65 yeres.
To the dear virtuous memorie of Richard Bluet,
late of Holcombe, Esq, who deceased the 3rd
of March 1614_and lieth here interred.
"Nor goodness, nor desert, must hope to have,
A priviledge of life against the grave,
For those lie here intombd: Death did his best
It changed but houres of Toyle for houres of Rest;
Which this good man hath found. His faith made way
To Heaven before: His workes still day by day
Now follow him, Such Grace doth mercye give,
As who lives well to Dye, Dyes well to live." _________________
Nascendo c moriur moriedo renascimur
|A modest matron here doth lye |
A Myrror of her kinde
Her husband and her children's good,
Her lyke is rare to find
Godly, chaste, and hospitable
A housewife Rare was she;
|Ye Poor she often would relieve |
Yet would not wasteful be.
Her death a paterne was to die
Her life was good likewise
Her life and death assure her friends
That she to joy shall ryse.
"Vixi in ereto morior in potu."
The Bluett family resided at Holcombe Court. Sir William Bluett, Knt., came over with the Conqueror [r. 1066-1087].
The registers date from the year 1540.