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.
THORVERTON. St. Thomas à Becket. The church [plate 231a] consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, north transept, and west tower with eight bells; the two treble bells were added to the peal in 1894 in memory of Arthur Felix Risdon, vicar's warden, who died on January 23rd 1894.
There are some old tombstones in the floor of the chancel: Elizabeth Richards, daughter of Ralph Richards, October 20th 1643; Elizabeth, daughter of Roger Tuckfield, and wife of Richard Mallock of Axmouth, September 17th 1682; Roger Tuckfield, January 20th 1683; Mary, wife of Roger Tuckfield of Raddon Court, January 22nd 1677; and Walter Tuckfield, son, February 19th 1668; and Nicholas Thomas, November 26th 1668; in the aisles there are remains of others of about the same date. The only monument, a mural one on the south side of the chancel, bears the following inscription:- In Memoriam
Rogeri Tuckfield De Raddon Court
Armigeri et Marie Uxoris sui Deo
Illa 22 Januarii 1677 ætat 72
Illa 22 Januarii 1683 ætat 78
In meliorem Transmigrarunt
Hic etiam Dormit Johannes Rogeri
Filii Natu Maximi et de Raddon
Court Armigeri Primogenitus Qui
Trimestris Prœpropera Morte Rap
Tus Tutissimas in Tumulo Invenit
Cunas 15 Julii 1681.
There are the remains of a piscina, and in the pillar of the north arch of the chancel, at the east end of the north aisle, there is a niche, probably used as a rest, as it could hardly, from its position, have been a piscina. The nave is separated from the aisles by six lofty arches, supported on pillars with carved capitals with angels holding plain shields. The old seats have been removed, but there are very good modern seats with carved backs and ends. The font [plate 231b] is octagonal, with a plain bowl resting on a central shaft with four smaller pillars resting around it; the base is probably older than the bowl and shafts.
The greatest object of interest to the antiquary will be the south porch with parvise over. The roof of the porch is of stone, and there is a fine central boss representing the Holy Trinity; it is a pity the boss has been pierced for the suspension of a lamp. At the ends of the roof ribs, against the walls, north, south, east and west, are carved figures preaching from pulpits, all, with the exception of that on the south side, having books before them. On the east and west walls are carved the emblems of the four Evangelists. Over the entrance to the church is a niche without an image; on the east wall of the porch are two stone brackets.
The registers date: baptisms, 1730; marriages, 1725; burials, 1725.