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.
THORNBURY. St. Peter. The church [plate 230a] consists of chancel, nave, south transept, north aisle with two arches resting on granite pillars in nave, and two pointed arches dividing it from chancel, south porch, and west tower with five bells. On the north side of the chancel is a tablet in memory of the Rev. John Edgecumbe, rector of the parish for 37 years, who died March 16th 1838, of William his eldest son, who was rector of the parish for 48 years, who died February 26th 1849, and two other members of the family. On the south side is a tablet in memory of Rosabelle, daughter of the Rev. John Edgecumbe, who died May 2nd 1845.
In the chancel are six corbels with heads of a knight, a monk, a king, a queen, our Lord, and the Blessed Virgin. At the east end of the north aisle is a monument [plate 230b] in memory of the Speccott family who succeeded to the inheritance of Cornew in this parish. On a high tomb over which there was originally a rich canopy supported by marble pillars are two full-size recumbent effigies of a knight and lady and two other smaller figures kneeling. The effigies are of alabaster and beautifully executed. The male figure is in armour, bare headed with moustache and pointed beard, the curled hair rests on the shoulders and is turned over the forehead. The female figure is arrayed in Elizabethan costume with ruff. Of the two smaller figures the male has a cloak over his shoulders and holds a skull in his hands. The female wears coif and veil.
The monument bears no inscription but it is supposed to be that of Sir John Speccott (son of Humphrey Speccott and Elizabeth daughter of John Walter), who married first, Elizabeth daughter of Sir Peter Edgcomb by Margaret, daughter of Sir Andrew Luttrell. His second wife was Jane, daughter of Sir William Mohun of Hall, Cornwall. He married a third time.
On the side of the north aisle is a piscina with drain. The choir stalls are faced with the remains of some old bench-ends with good carving [plates 230c and 230d].
The registers date: baptisms, 1653; marriages, 1656; burials, 1652.