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.
KINGSKERSWELL. St. Mary. The church [plate 140a] consists of chancel and nave with continuous roof, north and south aisles, north and south porches (the north having parvise), and west tower with six bells.
On the south side of the nave are five rather pointed arches of red sandstone resting on octagonal pillars, on the north side the arches and pillars are of freestone and the capitals have the usual carving of foliage. It seems probable that the tower and south arcade are of the same date, and that the church consisted of nave, chancel, south aisle and tower, the north aisle being a later addition.
On the south side of the chancel is a piscina, low down, the floor having being raised. Over the piscina is a marble tablet in memory of Bridget Brown, of Exminster, daughter of Henry Langford Brown, Esq., of Gambsatchfield, died November 24th 1852, aged 84, also Susan Brown of Exminster, daughter of the above, died November 10th 1827, aged 74; also E. Brown, died November 29th 1839.
On the north side is a tablet in memory of Henry Langford Brown, Esq., of Barton Hall, Kingskerswell, died January 6th 1857, aged 54 years; also of Mary his wife, died December 14th 1852, aged 48 years. There are remains of old glass in the east window, it is difficult to discern the subjects, but one is evidently St. James in pilgrim dress. On the sills of three windows in the north aisle are effigies supposed to represent members of the Dinham family, but it is doubtful if this is true. The figure [plate 140b] in the easternmost window of the three is that of a female wearing a coronet, the hair standing out in cushions on each side of the head; across the forehead there is an ornamental fillet carried down over the hair on each side. She wears a low cut close-fitting bodice and a necklace round her throat, there is a flowing skirt reaching to the feet which rest on a dog. On the front of the bodice and part of the skirt is a band with ornamented squares. The hands are missing but were joined in prayer, the head rests on a pillow supported by angels, much mutilated. The figure [plate 140c] in the next window is also a female arrayed in a long flowing gown fastened close up to the neck. The head rests on a cushion, angels support the shoulders and there are angels on each side of the body near the knees. The front of the monument which is hidden by the seats, had six or seven divisions with carved figures, but these have been sadly mutilated. The third figure [plate 140d] is that of a man arrayed in armour, partly chain and partly plate. The hands are missing but they rested on the breast; at the feet is an animal, apparently a lion. Angels supported the head, but they are much damaged. The figure has the Dinham arms on his surcoat. The front of the tomb has four divisions, three having demi-figures holding shields.
In a recess, on the south side of the church beneath a window, will be found the remains of the original position of one or more of the three figures now on the sills of the north windows. There is some old glass in the south windows, the subjects being St. Apollonia and St. Peter. The font is plain granite, octagonal in shape. In the north porch are preserved the old stocks [plate 140e]; they are interesting as they have holes for the fingers as well as the usual places for the feet.
The registers date from 1752.