Some Old Devon Churches

By J. Stabb

London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)

Transcribed and edited by Dr Roger Peters

Page 164

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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.

MORETONHAMPSTEAD. St. Andrew. The church is Perpendicular, and consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and embattled west tower with six bells. In 1904 the church was thoroughly restored at the cost of the Hon. F. W. D. Smith. The tombs in the church were emptied and the bodies re-buried in the churchyard, new flooring was put down and the church re-seated, the walls being wainscoted with oak.

In 1857 the rood screen was removed, part went to Powderham and part to Whitchurch, near Tavistock, where it may now be seen in the north aisle.

A new oak screen has recently been erected [plate 164], and is said to be an exact copy of the old. It is placed much further back than the original screen, as is shown by the position of the rood stairs, which are some distance in front of the screen. It is a pity that in copying the old screen it has been reproduced as it was when the groining was removed; it reminds one of the Chinese tailor, who, when given an old suit of clothes as a pattern, made such a faithful copy that he reproduced even the patches. As far as it goes, however, the screen is a beautiful piece of work.

The famous tree, which once stood near the church, and was used for dancing in, no longer exists, it was severely damaged by a snowstorm some years before it was completely destroyed by a gale in 1903.

The registers date from 1603.