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.
IDDESLEIGH. St. James. The church [plate 130] consists of chancel, nave, north aisle separated from nave by two, and from chancel by one arch supported on granite pillars, south porch, and west tower with four bells. In the chancel is a piscina with drain and two small incised crosses at the left hand corner. There are gilt bosses in the chancel roof and the wall plate rests on angel corbels, the figures bearing shields with the emblems of the Passion. In the north wall of the aisle, beneath an arch, is the figure of a knight with crossed legs, the left arm, placed across the breast, rests on a shield. The monument is supposed to be in memory of an ancestor of Sir John Sully who owned property in the neighbourhood in the reigns of Edward I [1272-1307] and Edward II [1307-1327]. The date is about 1250.
At the east end of the aisle in the south corner is a piscina. On the north side of the chancel there is a slate stone with the figure of a female in hooped dress, with a smaller figure at her side and bearing the inscription:- Here Lyeth the body of Wilmot the wife of Walter Veale Rector of Monk Okehampton who was buried the 10th day of August Anno Domi 1681. Also here lyeth the body of Hannah their daughter who was buried ye last day of October anno Dom 1681.
"Thou sayst wee're dead mayst not be Rather sayed
That as a sundered clod is peece meale layd
Not to be lost but by the makers hand
Repolished without error then to stand
So though our bodyes be resolv'd to dust
Yet at the Resurrection of the Just
Raised and rejoined more celestial
Shall bee than Angels for they could fall
Thus after timely sleep which though callst Death
Wee've life again more permanent than breath."
In the north aisle there is an old screen consisting of three bays of four lights, with a modern cresting. There is an old carved pulpit and an old octagonal font. In the tower is a tablet with the inscription:- Here lieth the Body of Walter Veale Rector of this Parish who dyed the X day of April 1689 Aet Suæ 71. and also the Body of Elizabeth his wife who dyed the 26 of June 1692, Aet suæ 65.
"Here Christian people lies their sacred dust
Who loved the conversation of the Just
In Faith, Hope, Love and all that is Divine
To this dark world their heavenly light did shine
Walk in their virtuous steps and thou shalt be
Happy with them to all Eternitie."
Another inscription in the tower is:- In Memory of William Mallet Esq. of Ash who was buried near this place the 2nd of June 1776, aged 70. Also of his eldest son William Mallett, buried the 5th of May 1781, aged 35.
The nave and aisle have carved bosses and wall plates.
The registers date: baptisms, 1541; marriages, 1566; burials, 1555.