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.
WIDWORTHY. St. Cuthbert. The church consists of chancel, nave, north and south transepts, south porch, and west tower with five bells. Over the entrance by the west door is a carving so obliterated by time that it is impossible to say what it is intended to represent; there are apparently three figures at the top and three shields without arms beneath.
On the south wall of the chancel there are two mural tablets, one, in memory of the Isack family, has the following inscription:- Mrs Alice Isack the wife of
Sebastian Isack Esq, was interred
the 3rd of May 1635.
Mr Sebastian Isack was buried ye 14th of August 1683.
Mrs Elizabeth Isack was buried 31st January 1677.
Mr Thomas Isack was buried 16th April 1683.
In each case the date of burial is given instead of the date of death. The second tablet is in memory of members of the Marwood family: James, Benedictus, and Thomas, who died in 1722, 1745 or 6, and 1748, the last was "eminent for Honesty, Piety and good Îconomy." There is a piscina in the south wall of the chancel with drain. The chancel is small, and on the arch are the appropriate words:- "I will be unto them as a little sanctuary." Beneath an arch, under the window in the north transept, is a recumbent male figure in armour in an excellent state of preservation. He is arrayed partly in plate and partly in chain armour. On his head is a bascinet, descending from which is the camail protecting the neck and shoulders suspended by a belt passing over the right shoulder, his shield hangs on his left arm and reaches to the lower part of his thigh, his hands in the attitude of prayer rest on his breast. On the shield are three lions rampant between five crosslets. The feet, on which there are spurs, rest on a lion; at each side of the head is an angel. There is no inscription, but the effigy is supposed to represent Sir Hugh Prouz [plate 254]. Sir William Prouz of Gidleigh married Alice, daughter and heiress of Sir Hugh de Widworthy, by whom he had four sons, and it is very probable that Hugh, one of these sons (to whom he gave Stapleton, Widworthy, and Gatcombe in Colyton), is intended to be commemorated here. There are monuments to the Marwood family in this transept dated 1767, 1797, and 1815.
In the south transept is the monument of James Thomas Benedictus Marwood, of Arvisays, Somerset, and Sutton, Devon, dated 1811, and of Robert Marwood, of Cookhays, who died in 1733, and his sister Bridget, who died in 1736. In this transept there is a piscina.
On the north wall of the nave are tablets in memory of Jacobi Somaster, who died August 28th 1744, and Anna his sister, who died March 9th 1755, and of Thomas White, who was the steward to the Marwood family for 40 years, and died December 31st 1838; on top of the tablet is a portrait bust. By the door is a tablet in memory of the Rev. William John Tucker, rector of the parish, who died December 26th 1830. There is an old font beneath the tower, and the Royal arms are preserved on the wall of the tower.
The first rector was Sir Roger de Donelond, 1274.
The registers date from 1540.