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.
MORCHARD BISHOP. St. Mary. The church consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, divided from nave by four arches, south porch, and west tower with six bells. On the south side of the chancel is the tablet in memory of Edward Pridham, a former rector of the parish, who died on November 25th 1687, aged 47. On the north side is a tablet in memory of Walter Tuckfield, another rector, who died on November 29th 1638. The chancel is panelled with oak. The pulpit is old, and retains its sounding board. Under an arch, beneath a window at the east end of the south aisle, are two recumbent figures of a man and a woman; the man has long hair, wears a cap, and is clad in a robe reaching to the calf of the leg. The woman has a close-fitting bodice, and a long flowing dress confined to the waist with a girdle. Dr. Oliver says:- "There is no direct evidence as to whose memory the monument was erected; some have ascribed it to the Eystons. If allowed to hazard a conjecture, we should suppose to some of the Arundel family, who formerly has considerable property both here and in the adjoining parish of Lapford." Mr. Rogers thinks it probable that the monument belongs to the Eyston family. He says:- "The aisle is still termed Eyston's aisle, and the inscription, on a small monument, just over the figures on the left, offers strong presumptive evidence in confirmation." The arches of the doorways of the rood staircase remain, but the openings have been walled up. The rood screen has been removed from its proper position, part of it has been made into a tower screen, and part of it rests against the wall of the tower, awaiting restoration. It is in a dilapidated condition, but the spandrel spaces have been filled in with remains of the carving of the groining, which is of Renaissance detail, and retains its ancient colouring. On the portion against the tower wall [plate 163] is carved a death's head, a rather unusual adornment of a rood screen.
At the east end of the north aisle is a tombstone with the following inscription:- The Dormitory of Dorothy, Daughter
of Edward Pridham Rector of this
P'sh, who Dyed Sept 18th 1670
ætatis sua 1°.
At the west end of the aisle is the tombstone of Hannah Wheeler, who died September 8th 1690:-
"Grace sweetens Beauty
Yet not touched with pride
She lived beloved and
much lamented dyed."
On the north wall of the tower is the tablet in memory of John White, of Southcote in the parish, who was buried April 11th 1704, aged 70.
"Whilst here on earth it was thy chiefest care
To serve thy Maker in his house of prayer
Zeal for religion did thy heart command
Pity thine eye and charity thine hand."
The registers date from 1660.