Some Old Devon Churches

By J. Stabb

London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)

Page 166

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.

MUSBURY. St. Michael. The church consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower with five bells. The building has been restored, and the principal object of interest remaining is the monument of members of the Drake family [plate 166], at the east end of the south aisle. There are three pairs of kneeling figures, divided from each other by partitions of stone, with a window in front of each figure. The men are arrayed in complete armour, with gold chains and ruffs, the women in black gowns, ruffs, caps, and chains. The figures are in a very good state of preservation, and give a good idea of the dress and armour worn at the time of the erection of the monument. The three pairs of figures represent John Drake, and Amy, his wife; Sir Bernard Drake, and Gertrude, his wife; and John Drake, and Dorothy, his wife. The inscriptions, commencing with the one under the figures on the left hand, are as follows:-

Here lieth the body of John Drake of Aish Esq,
and Anne his wife who was the daughter of Sir
Roger Graynfield Knt, by whom he had issue six
sonnes whereof lived three at his death viz;
Bernard, Robert, and Richard. He died the 4th
October 1558, and she died the 18th of Februarii




Here is the monument of Sr Bernard Drake Knt
who had to wife Dame Garthrud the daughter of
Bartholomew Fortesque of Filley Esq, by whom
he had three sonnes and three daughters where
of whear five living at his death viz; John, Hugh,
Marie, Margaret, and Helen. He died th Xth of April
1586 and Dame Garthrud his iwfe was here
buried the 12th of Februarii 1601. Unto the
memory of whome John Drake Esq, Her Sonne
hath set this monument. Ano 1611.






John Drake Esq Buried here ye 13 of decem 1631
Dame Mary Rosewell wife of Sr Henry Rosewell
Knight was buried here the 4 of November 1643.






The parish registers commence in 1653, and are very interesting. On the first page we get a record of the appointment of a registrar in compliance with an Act of Parliament just passed, as follows:-


"Whereas John Osborne, of Musbury, in ye county of Devon, is chosen the p'ish register for ye said p'ish be ye inhabitants of the said p'ish for ye registring by ye inhabitants of the said p'ish for ye registring of marriages, births, and burials, according to an act of Parliament bearing date Wednesday, ye twenty-fourth day of August, one thousand six hundred and fifty three, these are therefore to certify all whom it may concern, I John Drake of Trill, Esq, justice of ye peace within ye foresaid county, have swoarne the aforesaid John Osborne to be register of ye said p'ish according to ye said Act, in witnes whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of September, one thousand six hundred and fifty three. John Drake."

During the Commonwealth [1649-1659] marriage was made simply a civil contract, and marriages were celebrated by a magistrate, instead of as formerly by the parish priest. Of this we get an instance in the following extract:-

"John trivett and grace More, both of the parish of Musbury, weare married by John Drake, Esq, in the presence of Kate thomas and barnard buter, the 14th daye of November, 1653. John Drake."

The list of rectors commences with John Pinell, December 10th 1260.