Some Old Devon Churches

By J. Stabb

London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)

Page 203

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.

SHEBBEAR., St. Michael. The church consists of chancel, nave, south aisle, south porch (with sundial), and west tower with six bells. There is a piscina on the south side of the altar. On the north wall are two slate slabs, one with the following inscription:-

To the Sacred Memory of
Master William Battishill
Vicar of this church who
was here underneath buried
November the 30 1666.
Mrs. Susanna Battishill
his wife was buried here also
June ye 16th, 1671.
In Memory also of Mrs. Mary
Battishill the wife of Master
Jonathan Battishill now
Vicar of this church (and the
Daughter of Master Francis
Strood Rector of Eeedford (?)
In this county) who was here
Buried July the 27th 1679.

The second inscription commemorates their children, Francis second son, February 13th 1671, the only daughter Mary Perken, died February 3rd 1692; and other members of the family.

The chancel is divided from the aisle chapel by two arches, the nave from aisle by four Early English arches. There is a piscina by the chancel arch, used before the present chancel was added to the church. Over the piscina is a board with the following inscription:- Under the seats in this alley are deposited the remains of Dorothy the late wife of William Hoskin of Allacott in this Parish Esq:. She departed this life the 20th day of August 1767, aged 75, also William Hoskin Esq:, he was buried here October the 15th 1779, aged 83.

By the priest's door in the aisle is a slate with an inscription in memory of members of the Fortescue family dating from 1796 to 1831. The east aisle window is in memory of Thomas and Betty Balkwill of the parish, dated 1910. The chancel window is in memory of the Rev. Peter O. Foulkes and in commemoration of Queen Victoria's [Golden] Jubilee, 1887. The pulpit [plate 203b] is well carved, and the arch of the south porch has the beak head carving [plate 203c]. Beneath an arch in the south aisle wall is the carved recumbent effigy of a female with close head-dress, veil, and flowing dress and cloak. In the tower is the following inscription:- In Memory of the Revd. Thomas Northcote, Master of Arts, and late Vicar of this Parish who departed this life June 25th 1714; aged 26 and lies here right before this stone.

In the vestry at the west end of the aisle there is a stone inscribed as follows:-

Here Lyeth the Body of
Browne Badcock sonne to
Thomas Badcock of this Par
ish Gent. who Dyed the 19th
of October Anno Domi 1656
Aetatis Suæ 27.

"Within this Bed of Dusy sleeps a Brother
Who Greving in one head, Joyed in another
That he exchanged for This, and now on High
Advanced by the Head lives ne're to die
Earth made him Red, ye water made him Browne
Blood made him white, this colour wonne ye Crowne
He liv'd so just with men that his name had
No more than one small syllable of bad
This Cock crows Hallelujahs and shall sing
Endless Hosannas to the Eternal King
Let not young saints old Devils mortals scare
Rare fruits soone pluckt young saints soon glorious are."

Christus Mihi Vita, et Mori Lucrum.

Another inscription runs:-

William Rigsby Gent: late of the p'sh
of Langtree was here under Buried
May the 13th Anno Dom 1699
Aetatis Suæ 46.

"Here rests my body with my first deare bride
And with four children sleeping by my side
All six here waiting for that joyful day
When trumpets sound, To Judgement come away
Lett the Most High in Heaven ever blest
Bring the surviving one to endless Rest."

Memoria Justi Benedicta.

Since I visited the church the east window of the aisle has been renewed and filled with glass representing the Crucifixion. The seven seats facing north have been removed, turned round, and a beautiful Lady Chapel created. The window is the gift of Mr. J. D. Prior of Birmingham in memory of the Balkwill family.

Some of the epitaphs at Shebbear are as follows:-

In Memory of John Edmunds, Aug 11th 1856.

"This monumental stone will show
Where lies an honest man
Let Monarchs who are laid as low
Rise higher if they can."


In Memory of John Hawkins Jan 22 1783, aged 59 years.

"Virtuous Persons when they die
do leave a blessed Memory
For though they die their Names survive
and live tho' they are not alive
Tho' cruel Death their Bodies slay
We cannot takes their lives away
For he who came their lives to save
Will grant them Life beyond the Grave
O, then be virtuous that you may
live when your mortal lives decay."


In Memory of Jane widow of John Hawkin Feb 8: 1791, aged 62 years.

"Death whats the reason thou art grown so cruel
For to deprive us of so rich a jewel
What must she go? What is there no Phisician
Could help administer in her condition
Her usefulness and in life so kind
Might have prevailed to live a longer time
Alas! her time was come her Glass was run
She did not die before her work was done."

1203 Allan de Hertlegh1480 Sir Wm. Morrish
1207 John de Plesseto------- Sir John Bette
1262 - Lyward or Lyardo1518 Richard Tomlyn
1284 Luke de Tarrestone1544 John Clarys
1285 Peter Durlying1556 Sir George Luxton
1309 Martin de Saltcombe1572 Henry Fisher
1311 Jordan de Waleedone1573 Alvetheus Aristotle
1313 Robert de Pyworthy1617 George Close
1344 William Alyan1620 William Battishill
1349 Sir Richard Dilbelcombe1667 Jonathan Battishill
1356 Sir Wm. Wayle1713 Thomas Northcote
1401 John Wayte1714 William Hicks
1401 John Harvey1763 Humphrey Marshall
1420 Sir John Preston1777 Richard Hammitt
1425 Sir John Bulte1779 Richard Puddicombe
------- Thomas Kynge1793 Thomas Trevethyan
1460 Sir Richard Cole1829 Peter Davy Faulkes
1462 Sir John Cranmore1855 William Strong Hore
1465 William Smyth1882 William C. Wallace
1466 Sir William Dollyings1901 Thomas Edward Fox
------- William Wynter 

The registers date from 1576.