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.
POLTIMORE. St. Mary. The church [plate 188a] consists of chancel with priest's door, nave, north and south transepts, south aisle, north porch, and west tower containing six bells. At the end of the aisle a gallery has been erected which abuts on the screen and cuts off the light from the south transept window; it would be well if this could be removed, as it is a disfigurement to the church. The gallery, which is the property of the Poltimore family, is reached by a wooden staircase through a door in the aisle. There is a clerestory, and the roofs of the chancel, nave, and aisle are flat. There is a hagioscope on each side of the chancel arch. The screen, of five bays, retains its cornice and groining; it is evidently not in its original position, as the north and south bays extend beyond the chancel arch on each side. There are piscinas with shelves in the chancel and the north and south transepts. In the south transept is the tomb with recumbent figures of Richard Bampfield and Elizabeth his wife; he died on May 29th 1594, and she on March 4th 1599. The male figure is arrayed in armour with his sword by his side, around the neck is a ruff; the head, which is bare, rests on a cushion, and the feet on a dog. The female figure is clothed in flowing gown tied in at the waist with a girdle, but open in front to show the skirt; she wears a ruff around the neck and a close-fitting head-dress with a flap turned up over the head from the back, her feet rest on a ram.
In the north and south transepts there are corbels of carved figures, but they do not support the present roofs; in the north transept the flat roof is lower than the top of the window arch. On the floor of the nave is the tombstone of John Bampfield, Bart., who died on April 24th 1650, in the 41st year of his age. Another John Bampfield is buried in the chancel.
The font [plate 188b] is very plain, simply a stone bucket encircled midway by a couple of roll mouldings; it stands on a circular base.
The registers date from 1718.