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.
MARWOOD. St. Michael and All Angels. The Perpendicular church consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and embattled west tower with six bells cast in 1771.
There are remains of an exceptionally fine rood screen erected in 1520. Early in the last century [19th] the vicar removed the chancel section, and all that is now left is the portion in the north aisle consisting of three bays [plate 158a]. The ancient gallery back remains, but only a small portion of it can be seen, as the chapel is used as an organ chamber, and the screen is hidden by the pipes of the organ. The gallery front on the west side was removed about 60 years since [ca. 1850]. The carving is of the finest description, the fillings of the groining [plate 158b] are very like the work at Atherington. The lower panels [plate 158c] are also richly carved and have the inscription:- Sir J. Brapaul P.son of Marwood. He was rector in 1520, so this gives us the approximate date of the screen. In the majority of cases the panels of the Devonshire screens are ornamented with paintings of saints, Prophets, Apostles, and the Doctors of the Church [St. Gregory the Great, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome], but in a few instances they are carved, as is the case here, and it certainly adds to the rich appearance of the screen.
The chancel retains an Early English piscina; the south porch has a sundial made by a parishioner called John Berry in 1762, which shows the approximate time at the principal capitals of Europe and at Jerusalem. There is some old church plate, including a flagon dated 1671, alms dish 1678, paten 1714, and a cup with cover of the time of Elizabeth [1558-1603].
The registers date from 1602.