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.
WOODLEIGH. St. Mary. The church consists of chancel, nave, north and south transepts, south porch, and west tower with five bells, two dating from 1640.
On the north side of the chancel is a fine Easter Sepulchre [plate 259], and on the south side a piscina with drain. On a scroll over the canopy of the Easter Sepulchre is the following inscription in abbreviated Latin:- Orate pro anima dom Thomas Smyth quondam Rectoris hujus Ecclesia. The pillars on each side have niches for figures. There are three sculptured panels at the back, that on the left having the Descent from the Cross, the centre the Resurrection, and that on the right, angels showing the grave clothes at the empty Sepulchre. The front of the tomb has two shields with the initials "T.S."; there are two shields, one on each side of the arch with same initials; between the shields on the front of the tomb there are two figures of saints with the faces mutilated.
On the north side of the chancel is a beautiful modern memorial tablet commemorating the wife of a former rector with the following inscription:-
------- "In Thy Light
To the Glory of God and in Memory of Zoe Irene
Sutherland Sanders daughter of the Revd John
Callander Meadows, M.A. and wife of the Rector
of this Parish who on Nov 7th 1898 aged 42
years passed to her rest with eyes long sightless,
but again to see at the unveiling of the Beatific
Vision. This Memorial of their much loved niece is
placed by Richard James and Georgiana Hayne.
shall we see Light."
The subject is Christ giving sight to the blind [Mark 8:22].
There is a rest for an image over the door in the porch, but the image is missing. The octagonal font is of granite, the panels of the bowl being divided into arches. The church has been restored, and the west gallery which contained an old barrel organ has been removed. The chancel screen is also conspicuous by its absence, but this was probably demolished at an earlier restoration. The modern organ is now in the north transept.
The registers date: baptisms, 1635; marriages, 1663; burials, 1663.