Some Old Devon Churches

By J. Stabb

London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)

Page 149

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.

LOXBEARE. St. Michael and All Angels. The church consists of chancel, nave, south porch, and west tower with three bells, bearing the following inscriptions:- (Treble) Ave Maria; (2nd) Lebs ois plaudit ut me tam. Sepius audit; (Tenor) Est michi collatum ihs istud nomen amatum.

A letter quoting the opinion of Mr. Ellacombe, was received by the Rev. C. Hole, a former rector, it says:- "Loxbeare is a lovely specimen of a mediæval bell chamber in a country parish, three good bells - in original cage, the clappers with band - showing the old way of hanging them, the wheels have been altered, I think, to round ones, but not in good order. The bells are gems; they were all by 'J. T.' an Exeter founder tempore Henry VI [1422-1461]. The omission of the capital P is very singular, but it occurs on many bells. 'OIS' is short for omnis."

On the south side of west door is a stone with the date A.D. 1585. The south doorway is Norman [plate 149], the carving on each side reaching to the step. On the keystone of the arch is the inscription:- + AILMA

There has been some discussion as to the correct meaning of the words. In Notes and Queries, 4th series, Vol. 10, pp. 451 and 509, and 4th series, Vol. 11, pp. 158 and 224, are letters giving an explanation, but as the last letter of the inscription was originally given as "Y" a good deal of the conjecture does not apply. There is no doubt that the last letter is "V" and the most probable reading seems to be "AILMAR FECIT DOMUM". V was often used for U, and there is no room on the stone for the final "M". J. E. F. A. [in] Notes and Queries, 4th series, Vol. 11, p. 159, [says], "Before the Norman Conquest [1066] the Ailmers were Earls of Cornwall, which at the time included Devonshire, --- in the time of Edward the Confessor [1042-1066] 46 manors in Cornwall and Devonshire were held by Ailmere, Almers, Elmere, and Ailmars." If the church was built by the Ailmars, the inscription may be a copy of an older one, or the keystone may be older then the rest of the arch.

Opposite the doorway, in the north interior wall of the church, is a curious opening, it is difficult to say for what it was originally used; from its position it could not well have been a piscina, and not probably an aumbry. The pulpit is Jacobean with canopy. Over the south door are the Royal arms with the inscription:- John Payne, Warden. Johannes Gill,
Tiverton, Pinxit 1725.

The chancel was re-roofed, and the east wall rebuilt in 1875. The wall was rebuilt during the rector's absence from home, and a curious niche in the wall disappeared. The church has been re-seated; in the old seats, the last seat to the west on the south side had an opening in the back, through which it is said the parents passed the child before baptism. This must have been a survival of a heathen custom. The present rector, the Rev. W. M. Fairbairn, anxious to preserve all that was ancient in his church, has had this opening reproduced in the new seat, but, owing to an error of the architect, a top rail was introduced which was not in the original. The west gallery has been removed, and portions of the carved front used in the choir seats. The lectern is modern, designed and made by Messrs. Harry Hems and Sons; some of the oak used was taken from some oak beams of the 15th century, which came from the roof of the old Chantry of Exeter.

On the north wall of the chancel is the monument of Daniel Cudmore, surmounted by his arms; the inscription is as follows:-

Underneath sleepeth in hope of the resurrection
the body of Daniel Cudmore, gentleman, who
departed this life the thirtieth day of January in
the yeere of grace one thousand six hundren
thirty seaven and in the yeere of his age, Sixty &
Eight, hee gave to the use of the poore of this
parish twenty pounds to remain for ever and the
benefit there of to be distrbuted every good
friday among the poore people by the owner of
Loxbeare and the parson.

"Beati mortui qui in domino moriuntur.
apoc : 14 : 13."

Underneath also lyeth the body of Joane Cudmore
wife of the above said Daniell Cudmore, who
departed this life the sixth day of May Anno Dom

Daniel Cudmore purchased the manor and living of Loxbeare from one of the family from Trobridge, or Trowbridge, in the reign of Charles I [1625-1649]. Beneath the Cudmore monument in the chancel floor is a slab with the following inscription, in black letter form, and with abbreviations:-

Here underneath lies the bodies of Catherine
Cudmore, Elinor Togood, and Elizabeth Cudmore,
daughter of the above said Daniel Cudmore.
Catherine Cudmore died the 14th day of February 1630, Elinor Togood died the 13th day of
December, 1635, Elizabeth Cudmore died the 5th
day of September 1636.

When the church was restored in 1896-97, this slab and other in the chancel and nave were covered with tiles, so it seems worthwhile that the inscriptions, as far as are known, should be recorded. The rector had special tiles made with the initials of the deceased, and the date of death, to place over the old slabs. At the north side of the altar on a small slab the inscription is:-

Mary daughter of Alexander Marshall, Rector of
this church, was here buried the 31st July, 1642.

This rector was instituted in 1648. There are two graves in the nave aisle with tiles over, the one towards the west has the inscription:-

Here lyeth the body of Rose the wife of Bernard
Voysey, who departed this life the 3rd day of Nov
Anno Dom 1721. aged 47.

"Here poor mortal-------
And by my own relations were dis---"

The inscription is still sharp on the south side, but is illegible on the north side. The slab to the east has the inscription:-

Here lyeth the body of Richard Coles of this
parish, who departed this life the sixth day
of April 1637. He gave to the poore of this parish
tenn pounds to remain in the use of the poore for
ever. This stone was given by Jane Cole sister of
the said Richard in remembrance of him, and doth
intend to ly heare here own self when God shall
call here out of this life. Anno Dom 1640.

The register gives his burial on April 8th 1637, but the name of his sister nowhere occurs as to her burial. On the north wall of the chancel is a monument to Zachary Cudmore, similar in character to that of his father, but smaller; the inscription is:-

This sculpture presents thee (Courteous
spectator) with the monument of Zachry Cudmore
Esq, who in the 47th year of his age and of our
Lord 1657; the 26th of May, to the great greife
of all his acquaintance and Relations departed this
life and lieth interred in this underneath vault.

"ibi tu calentum
Debita sparges lacrima fanillam
Dulcis amici. --- ---
Ita MÅ“reus posuit uxor ejus et relicta Maria Cudmore
--- --- Nec mihi Vespers
Surgente dicedunt amores
Nec rapidum fugiente solem."

Underneath also lyeth the body of Mary Cudmore
wife of the above said Zachry Cudmore, who
departed this life the 25th day of March, 1666,
aged 47.

Over the doorway, in the south wall of the chancel, is a marble tablet in memory of the Rev. Richard Abraham, rector of the parish for 52 years, who died April 22nd 1802, aged 87. In the record book the Rev. C. Hole, a former rector, says that a man of the name of Marshall, of Lurly, told him that when the chancel was repairing about 1853 or 1854, he saw the remains of Mr. Abraham, and that the wig was surviving. There is no rood screen, but I believe a portion of the upper part is now in the door of the rector's outhouse. When the church was re-seated in 1897-98, a portion of the lower part was found on the north side with traces of red paint on it.

There is on the outside of one of the pews, on the north side of the church, a curious slab of wood, which can be drawn out to form a seat, this the Rev. W. M. Fairbairn had preserved on the re-seating of the church. It is called an "Apprentice's Seat", and the apprentice sat outside the family pew.

Dr. Oliver gives the name of the first rector as Walter de Farington, admitted by Bishop Bronescombe, October 24th 1263, but probably there was an earlier rector than this.

The registers date: baptisms, 1572; marriages, 1563; burials, 1560.