Newton St Cyres
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.
NEWTON ST. CYRES. St. Cyriac and St. Julitta. The church [plate 168] consists of chancel, with priest's door, nave, north aisle, separated from nave by arches, the pillars having carved capitals, south porch, and west tower with six bells, five cast in 1783 by William Evans of Chepstow [Monmouthshire, Wales], the sixth added in 1908.
The chancel has a widely splayed arch opening into the north, or Northcote Chapel, in which there is a piscina. The old gallery at the west end of the church has been restored, and the portion formerly extending across the aisle removed. The church retains its old box pews, and there is an old pulpit with a canopy. The pulpit, reading desk, and clerk's desk, form a kind of "three-decker", but the only genuine survival of this form of pulpit is at Branscombe. The font is modern. Over the priest's door, in the chancel, is a mural monument with the following inscription:-
"When this bright starr maskt wth a fleshly cloude
Brake through ye vaile wch did his Beautie shroude
Although ye cloude to some Dissolvinge Bred
Both winds (our sighs) & showers (ye tears we shed)
Yet doth the starr now shine in heaven more bright
And to the earth gives his example light."
|By John Short, Gent and Alice his wife to the |
pious memorie of there second sonne Sherland
Short, who died ye 27th day of May Ao 1632.
ætat suæ 17, is this erected.
On the north side of the chancel there are tablets in memory of John Quicke, of Newton St. Cyres, died October 1677; and Thomas Quicke, who left:- "instead of children to maintain his memory, a name better than sons and daughters." On the south wall of the chancel is a tablet in memory of another John Quicke, of Higher Court, in this parish, who died April 25th 1703, and his wife Elizabeth.
At the east end of the north aisle is the Northcote monument [plate 168b] in memory of John Northcote, of Hayne, who was born in 1570, and died in 1632. In the centre is the figure of a warrior with a truncheon in his right hand and laying his left on his sword, his left foots rests on a death's head. On the arch over his head is this inscription:- Strenuus ut fractus sato hi potiuntur eodem Ao Mtis.
On top of the monument, to the right, is a medallion portrait of his father, John Northcote, a serge merchant of Credition, with the inscription round it:- Ecce Tibi Christi Crux Certa erit mihi lux.
On the left side there is a similar medallion portrait of his grandfather, another serge merchant of Crediton, with the inscription:- Quod non vita Pulvis dedit. Rotat omne satum.
On each side of the central figure are medallion portraits of females, that on the right side is a representation of his second wife, and has the inscription round it:- My Jacob had by Mee as Many sonnes as hee. Daughters twice Three.
Above the head is the inscription:-
"See heer in Christ sleeps shee
From painful Labors free
Her works hence follow on
Beneath the head is the inscription:- Susanna daughter of Sir Hugh Pollard Knight
"Jehovah first compos'd us two in one
Then made one two, Til strong affection
Did reunite us one; Death tried his skill
To part us againe, but could not worke his will
One was our hope, Faith comfort, one's or tombe
One place our soule hath, Till the Day of Dome.
Regia pacificæ commisit charluta libram
Justitiæ, lustris ætates quinque peractis
Librauit rectum pura cum mente probatus
Stellata camera spectatur ut ignibus aurum."
The medallion on the left side is a portrait of his first wife, with the inscription:- My Fruite was small. One Sonne was all -- That not at all.
The son died in 1619. Beneath is the inscription:- Elizabeth daughtr of Sir Anthony Rouse, Knight.
"Vous qui aymez amitie nuptiale
Vous qui prisez charitie cordiale
Et qui louez en un corps feminin
Un cueur entier gracieux et benin
Arestez vous; c'est est la demoiselle
Qui tout cela & mieux avoit en elle.
Bis denosq, duos cum non compluerat annos
Centurio prodit; propugnauitque salutis
Hostes tres sœuos deuinci nescia sed mors
Vicit; & hoc posuit thalamo; quo uincitr illa."
At the base are the figures of a son and his wife, kneeling before a prie-dieu, the man in armour, and behind him kneel three boys, behind the wife kneels one girl; at the base of the prie-dieu is the figure of an infant and another in front of the girl. It will be noticed that in the inscriptions some of the letters are capitals, coloured red, these letters, which are also numerals, taken by themselves form chronograms, giving the respective dates of death.
On the north wall of the aisle is a tablet in memory of Thomas Quicke, born 1761, died 1771, with the following inscription:-
"Such was his genius and his gifted mind
As seemed to speak him more than human kind
Infant in years yet so enlarged of soul
He grasped the Globe and stretched from Pole to Pole
Above this world he soar'd, the sacred song
Swell'd his young heart and tun'd his infant tongue
Heav'n saw him perfect e'er his race began
Heav'n saw him angel e'er be numbered man
And jealous of the snares the world might lay
In mercy snatched him to the Realms of Day."
This must have been a truly precocious infant!
On the south wall over the door are the Royal arms dated 1685. On the floor, at the east end of the north aisle, is the tombstone of Arthur Northcote, son and heir of Sir Arthur Northcote, of Hayne, died January 26th 1680, and in the aisle that of John Northcote, eldest son of Sir Arthur, who died January 1st 1680.
On the exterior of the north aisle the corbels of the windows have carvings of grotesque animals, and at the tops of the buttresses are little canopies with figures of saints.
In the year 1767 the church was robbed of the communion plate by John Hockaday, who was convicted and executed at Heavitree [Exeter].
From the foregoing account it will be seen that the church at Newton St. Cyres is well worth a visit.
The registers date: baptisms, 1554; marriages, 1555; burials, 1554.