Littleham - Bideford


Some Old Devon Churches

By J. Stabb

London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)

Page 145

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.

LITTLEHAM - BIDEFORD. St. Swithin. The church is mainly Perpendicular and consists of chancel, nave, north transept, south aisle, south porch, and embattled west tower containing four bells, two, dated 1692 and 1731, have been re-hung.

This church has a good modern example of the complete filling in of the chancel arch to render the separation between nave and chancel more complete. The rood screen [plate 145] resembles in general construction the screen of Patricio, Monmouthshire [Wales]; it is interesting to compare this screen with ancient examples of the same type at Molland and Parracombe, as we have here the tympanum of illuminated boarding, with the difference of the presence of the gallery front over the screen. The whole screen is richly gilt.

The south aisle is disfigured by a large modern tomb which takes up a great deal of room and spoils the view of the south portion of the screen. During the restoration of the church a fresco of St. Swithin, dating from before 1300, was found against the north wall, this is now preserved under glass in the north transept.

The registers date from 1539.