Some Old Devon Churches
By J. Stabb
London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)
Transcribed and edited by Dr Roger Peters
Full text available at
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.
NORTH TAWTON St. Peter. The church consists of nave and chancel with division, the roof running right through from east to west, north and south aisles separated from nave by six arches on each side resting on granite monoliths, south porch, and west tower [plate 172a] with spire containing eight bells. The spire is covered with wooden shingle and there is a bell suspended outside the spire. Curfew is rung every night. The east wall of the chancel has been lined with the old bench-ends, some of them of good design. On the south wall is a marble tablet commemorating Richard Hole, Rector of North Tawton and Chulmleigh, who died April 10th 1796, aged 69, and Juliana his wife, who died April 30th 1808, aged 76, Thomas Hole their second son, Rector of North Tawton and Doddiscombsleigh, who died March 16th 1823, aged 62, Humphrey Aram Hole their third son, Rector of Chulmleigh and Vicar of Okehampton, who died May 12th 1814, aged 49, and Robert Hole their fourth son, a Senior Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, who died February 26th 1826, aged 57. There is a gallery with organ at the west end of the nave, and short side galleries at the ends of the aisles. The roofs have carved bosses and wall plates, and there are carved bosses in the porch. The east window in the north aisle, of three lights, is filled with stained glass representing the Presentation in the Temple, the Last Supper, and the Good Shepherd, it was erected in memory of:- "Sir William Gostwyck, died 1726, Dame Loveday his wife and Josias Gard 1825. Agnes daughter of Edward Gostwyck and widow of the above named Josias Gard in remembrance of her husband and as a memorial of the last Baronet of the Gostwycks gave this window, A.D. 1869. Died December 9th, 1870, aged 74."
On the north wall of the nave is a brass with the inscription:- 60 Years
_____ This Tablet
by Voluntary Contributors
To the Glory of God
and to commemorate the
Diamond Jubilee of the Incumbency
of the present Rector
The Revd. Robert Hole A.D. 1850-1910.
J. H. Gibbings E. May } Churchwardens.
The Rev. R. Hole lived for nearly six years after the erection of this tablet, as he died on March 3rd 1916, in his 93rd year. Excepting for five years, there have been rectors of North Tawton named Hole since 1716.
Another tablet commemorates:- "William Kelland who died the 21st of June, 1781, also the much esteemed but more lamented Jane Kelland, only child, who died 15th of May, 1782, and Mary Kelland, wife, who died January, 1785."
Another tablet has the inscription:- "This tablet was erected by the voluntary contributions of the Parishioners of North Tawton, to the Glory of God and to commemorate the Jubilee of the Incumbency of the present Rector, The Rev. Robert Hole, also to record that during the present and preceding year, the tower was restored, and steeple rebuilt, the old peal of six bells were rehung and two new bells added, one by public subscription, the other given "In Memoriam" by the family of an old inhabitant. A vestry was also added to the church A.D. 1900. J. C. Taverner, J. H. Gibbings. Churchwardens."
The east window of three lights in the south aisle has painted glass representing, St. Peter walking on the sea, Christ Blessing the Children, and the Good Samaritan; it is memory of John Kelland Durant, who died September 19th 1877, aged 91, and of his wife Sarah, who died July 22nd 1836, aged 27 years. In one of the pews in the south aisle, against the south wall is an old bench-end [plate 172b] with the arms of the Champernowne family. A member of this family married a daughter of the Stapleton family and so held the advowson of North Tawton. The arms are also in the tracery of the third window in the north aisle. There is a pedestal for an image over the outside of the south door and a niche over the north door, both without images. On the tower there is a sundial. To the east of the north door, outside the church, is a framed stone bearing a coat of arms and the inscription:- Near this place lies the Body
of Sir William Gostwyck Bart
who departed this life the
30th of April 1766, aged 71 years.
To whose Memory this stone is
erected by his affectionate Widow.
Also Lady Loveday Gostwyck
Widow of the above, departed
this life the 12th day of March
in the year of our Lord 1786
Aged 59 years.
This memorial was re-newed by their
Great niece Elizabeth Gostwyck Cory
The shaft of the old cross is in the churchyard near the west door of the church. Amongst the tombstones will be found the following epitaph:-
"Consumption dreadful struck its inward blow
The stroke was certain and the effect not slow
With wasting pains death found me so opprest
Pitied my sighs and kindly gave me rest
My earthly troubles now my soul is freed
For whose redemption our dear Lord did bleed
My weary limbs no more with fever burn
From dust I came to dust I am returned."
The registers date from 1538.