Some Old Devon Churches

By J. Stabb

London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)

Page 235

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.

TOPSHAM. St. Margaret. The church, which consists of chancel, nave, north and south transepts, north and south aisles, south-east porch, and embattled tower, was entirely rebuilt, with the exception of the tower, between the years 1869 and 1877. The tower contains six bells dated 1778, 1709, 1640 and 1750. There are monuments by Chantrey [1781-1841] to Admiral John Thomas Duckworth, Bart., who died August 31st 1817, and to his son, Colonel George Henry Duckworth, who was killed at the Battle of Albuera [Spain], May 16th 1811.

The font [plate 235] is the principal object of interest in the church; it is probably Norman; the bowl is circular, and on the east side is carved a beast of nondescript character, its head turned over its back, and a round object in its mouth. The carving may be intended to refer to the legend of the beaver, mentioned in the article on the St. Mary Church font. There is a handsome brass font cover, the gift of the late Rev. Henry T. Ellacombe [1790-1885].

The registers date from 1600.