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.
TORRE, TORQUAY. St. Saviour [All Saints]. The church [plate 237a] consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles divided from nave by four arches on each side, south porch, and west tower with six bells. There were originally three bells, but in June 1911 three more were added; the cost of one was met by subscription, the second was given anonymously, and the third was given by Colonel Lucius Cary and his wife, in memory of many Carys buried there. On the south side of the chancel is a restored piscina, and on the north a credence. Beneath the north chancel window is a brass [plate 237b] formerly on the floor of the chancel; it is in memory of Wilmota, daughter of John Gifforde of Yeo, and wife of George Cary of Cockington, who died June 21st 1581. On the brass is a female figure arrayed in close-fitting head-dress with veil behind, bodice with high sleeves, and flowing skirt with embroidered front; at the left hand stand three smaller female figures wearing reticulated head-dress, gowns tied in at the waist with girdles with bows in front, and full sleeves. There are five shields with coats of arms. There is a brass plate with inscription beneath the figures, but this has been broken in half. On the south side of the chancel is an old stone with the inscription:- Here lyeth the Body of Daniell Luscombe,
Gent: of this P'sh who was buried ye 18th
day of March, Anno Domi 1687.
"Here is My Home till trumpets sound
Till Christ for Me doth call
Then shall I Rise to life a gaine
No more to Dye at alle."
Here lyeth also ye Body of Mary ye wife of Daniell
Luscombe who died ye 19th Day of November
Anno Domi 1693, Also Mary the wife of Thomas
Smith who died Feb: 7th 1737, aged 67 years the
only only daughter of the above Danl Luscombe.
Above this stone are tablets in memory of the Dashwood and Taylor families dated 1847 and 1848. Near the pulpit is an oval brass:- In Memory of Hester Smith Godfrey who Departed This Life, April ye 21 1799, aged 19 years, Grand Daughter of Mary Rackwood.
Behind the choir stall on the north side of the chancel is an altar tomb beneath an ornamental arch, on the slab is the inscription:- Hic jacet Thomas Carius, Armiger qui obiit 27 die Marcii Ano domini 1567 Caius Anime Deus propitietu.
At the back is a shield with coat of arms, surmounted by a helmet with crest of a bird with uplifted wings. Over this tomb is a mural monument with the inscription:- Near this place lies interred the Body of George Cary Esq: of Torr-Abbey in the County of Devon, who for his Religious and Charitable Disposition was esteemed in Life and lamented in Death. He departed this life the 23rd day of September in the year of our Lord 1758 in the 74th year of his age. This Monument was erected to his Memory by his widow the Honble Ann Cary. R.I.P.
On both walls of the chancel there are many commemoration tablets, also on the walls of the nave. At the east end of the south aisle is a fine monument [plate 237c] with recumbent male figure in alabaster, in memory of members of the Ridgeway family. The effigy of a knight is arrayed in complete plate armour, the head rests on a pillow on which is his helmet. On the head is a close cap from which the curly hair projects at the sides, he wears moustache and pointed beard, his sword with metal blade by his side. At the back of the monument under the canopy are three slate tablets with inscriptions in Latin, too long to be inserted here, but they will be found in full in White's History of Torquay. The monument is surmounted by a coat of arms and shield with crest. Beneath the west gallery in the floor of the nave, partly covered by pews, is a gravestone with ledger line, the inscription as far as can be read is:- Here lyeth the body . . . . Martin Chilson
who departed this life ye 1 day of Novembo
Ano dom 1661.
"In time of life a virtuus Wife
A friende and mother Deare
Here lyeth in dust in hope and trust
Christ's servant to appeare
Rest there deare co . . . . until ye day of Doome
Rejoyne thy soule in thy celestial home."
A stone in memory of William Ley, of Kenn, who died at Torre Abbey, May 8th 1634, bears the inscription:-
"A carcase here In tombe doth lye
Fil'd with divine Rayes from above
Made happy with ye Great God's love
Peace did attend in life and death,
Soe lived and soe resygne his breath
If blessed be peace makers
Blest is he
Who with ye blesed
Blest for aye shall bee."
There is an old octagonal font [plate 237d], at each angle there is an angel, the wings supporting the bowl, the hands clasping each other. In the churchyard is the tombstone of the Rev. John MacEnery, the Roman Catholic priest at Torre Abbey; with the following inscription:- Mr. MacEnery was the pioneer of systematic observations in Kents Hole and other caverns in this neighbourhood. The segacious and reverent observer of the works in nature of Him whose is the earth and the fulness thereof. He died at Torre Abbey, February 18th 1841.