Plymouth St Andrew
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.
PLYMOUTH. St. Andrew. The church [plate 183a] consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, chapel adjoining north aisle, north and south porches, and west tower which contains a carillon of ten bells. The interior was restored in 1874-75, by Sir Gilbert Scott [1811-1878], and consequently there is little of ancient architectural interest. All the window tracery is modern. There are however some old monuments remaining with inscriptions worth recording. One is in memory of:- "Sir John Skelton, Knt., who by Dame Bridget Prideaux his wife had issue five sonnes and one daughter. He dyed the 24th December, Anno Dom 1672." He and his wife are represented kneeling at a prie-dieu, their hands clasped in prayer. Another is dated 1649, with initials "W.M." and the following epitaph:-
"His parents chiefest joy and grief lies here
Their only child Like Abraham's sacrifice
Who the Almighties fatal marshal kills
To Gods will then did they resign their Wills
Like Noah's dove in the tempesteus seas
Of a distracted state he found no ease
His soul then mounted like the early larke
To find a resting place in Heaven his arke."
At the east end of the south aisle is the monument by Chantrey [1781-1841], of Zachary Mudge, Prebendary of Exeter and Vicar of St. Andrew's, born 1694, died 1769. Beneath the south window at the east end of the aisle is the tomb of Aaron Wilson, Doctor of Divinity, Vicar of Plymouth, dated 1643. In the north aisle near the organ is a tablet with the inscriptions:-
"I was once as thou art now
A man could Speake and goe
But now I ly in silence heere
Serve God thou must be soe."
"When death did me asayle
To God did I crye
Of Jacobs well to newiste my soule
That is might never die."
On the wall near this tablet is the monument in memory of the wife of Mr. Moyses Goodyear, with the lines:-
"I being deliver'd of a dead borne sonne
My soul deliver'd and my labour done
His birthday wrought my death to sweeten this
Death is to me the birthday of my blisse."
The date is October 21st 1642.
On the west wall of the north chapel are three old monuments. In the centre is that of John Sparke and Deborah his wife, daughter of John Rashleigh. The husband arrayed in armour, and the wife in veil, ruff, and long flowing dress, kneel before a prie-dieu, behind the man kneel two sons and behind the woman four daughters. Underneath are half figures of a man and woman holding each others hands, with three children on the man's right side, and one child and two chrisom children on the woman's left side. The date is 1635. On the right of this monument is that of Elizabeth, wife of Edward Calmady, dated 1645, and on the left that of Mrs. Mary Sparke, daughter of Jonathan Sparke, dated December 30th 1665, with the following lines:-
"Lifes but a Sparke and weake uncertain breath
No sooner kindled but put out by death
Such was my name, my fame, my fate yet I
Am still a living Sparke though thus I dye
And shine in Heavens orbe a star most bright
Though death on earth so soone eclipst my light."
At the north-east end of this aisle is a tablet in memory of Jane, the daughter of Sir Anthonye Barker, and wife of Edward Fowell, died May 23rd 1649; over which is the figure of a female in a shroud. The font [plate 183b] is modern, it was placed in the church about 1876. The old font of 17th or early 18th century date was discovered in an old building yard in Plymouth by the late Mr. J. Brooking-Rowe. He acquired possession of it and presented it to St. Catherine's Church, Plymouth, where it now is. There is an inscription on a brass plate stating:- This Font was formerly in the mother church of St. Andrew's Plymouth having been placed there in the year 1661 in the stead of the ancient Font destroyed by the Great Rebellion was after many vicissitudes rescued from ruin and presented by a townsman to this church of St. Catharine's A.D. 1900.
The registers date from 1581.