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.
IPPLEPEN. St. Andrew. The church is Perpendicular and consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, and a fine tower, 911/2 feet high, dating from 1440, and containing six bells which have been recast from the smaller peal referred to in the inventory of Edward VI [r. 1547-1553]. The main part of the church was rebuilt in the 15th century.
There is a good Perpendicular screen extending across the church [plate 134a], it was restored in 1898 by Read of Exeter at a cost of £500. The groining and cornices have been replaced. The original groining was destroyed in the 17th century. At the restoration, on the removal of a modern covering of brown paint, there were discovered 24 paintings representing Apostles and Prophets. Some are rather worn, but as a good many have their names painted on scrolls, they are easily recognised. They include St. Matthias, Daniel, St. Simon, Habakkuk, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Moses, St. Peter, St. James the Great, St. James the Less, and one at the south end labelled "Sibilla". There are two parclose screens.
The font and the beautifully carved oak pulpit [plate 134b] are of 15th century date; the latter is is adorned with four tabernacled niches, with crockets and finials, but the figures which formerly occupied the niches are gone. The tower and east window of the south chapel belong to the Decorated period. The south door, porch and parvise over are Early English, and were probably erected about 1300. The chancel window by Kempe has recently been filled with stained glass and represents: (1) Christ in Glory surrounded by angels; (2) The Incarnation; (3) Christ as Bishop of Souls commissioning St. Peter and St. Paul. In 1872 the chancel was restored; in 1883 the organ and west gallery; in 1892 general restoration and removal of square pews; in 1901 the restoration of the churchyard cross was undertaken; and from 1904-1907 the chancel windows.
Some of the communion plate is very ancient and escaped the confiscation of 1645 when the clergyman's office was taken by a Nonconformist for 15 years. The pillars of the church and all the exterior dressings are of red sandstone.
The registers date: baptisms, 1558; marriages, 1612; burials, 1671.