«SOME OLD DEVON CHURCHES» BY JOHN STABB; 181-192
Pilton ; Pinhoe ; Plymouth, St. Andrew ; Plympton, St. Mary ; Plympton, St. Maurice ; Plymstock ; Plymtree ; Poltimore ; Portlemouth ; Powderham ; Pyworthy ; Rattery .
PILTON. St. Mary. The church, which consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower, originally formed part of a Benedictine priory, one of the most ancient and well as one of the most important ecclesiastical foundations in North Devon. In the Bodleian Library at Oxford there is a Ms. Book of Hours, with calendar for use in the church, drawn up by Thomas Oldston the prior in 1521. The traditional founder was King Athelstan [r. 925-940], and the old seal of the priory bore his name and figure. On the north side of the chancel an Early English archway was discovered which now gives access to the vestry. During the Civil Wars [1642-1651] the tower was destroyed and it was rebuilt in 1669. There are eight bells, one of which bears the inscription:—
"Recast by Thomas Taylor and son
Who the best prize for Church bells won
At the Great Ex-hi-bi-ti-on
In London 1-8-5 and one."
It is said, that with the exception of that at Exeter Cathedral, this is the finest peal of bells in the west [of England]. The custom of ringing the curfew still continues in the parish.
The rood screen [plate 181a] has carving of fine and delicate character, but is in a bad state of repair, it encloses chancel and south aisle chapel. The work is of a type not often met in Devonshire, showing a reversion to florid Decorated forms. It is said that the screen was "made and painted by Dr. Jonys" in 1508. No two arcades agree in the character of the tracery. The groining has disappeared, but there is a good deal of cornice work left. There is no cresting strictly speaking, but some of the canopy work from the old rood loft has been nailed on the top of the screen.
The font [plate 181b] is plain, octagonal in form, of the Early Decorated period, but the carved oak canopy and cover date from the 15th century and has been said to be the finest in the West Country; behind the font is a canopy which at one time formed the back of the prior's chair, the mark can be seen where the seat was removed. The pulpit [plate 181c] is of stone, Late Perpendicular; it retains the arm holding a stand for the hour-glass, and is surmounted by a sounding board.
The chancel contains monuments of the Chichester family, that on the north side of the altar is the elaborate tomb of Sir Robert Chichester (eldest son of Sir John Chichester, whose monument is also in the chancel), his two wives, daughter and two children, date 1627 [plate 181d]. On the base of the tomb is the figure of a knight kneeling on a crimson and sable cushion edged with gold; before him is a prie-dieu, on which is a closed book; he wears a ruff and the head is uncovered. He is arrayed in plate armour, the right hand resting on the breast and the left holding the hilt of the sword, of which the blade is gone. He wears full breeches, close at the knees, greaves on the legs, and rowel spurs on the heels. Facing him are three kneeling figures, all dressed alike, with their hands raised in prayer. They wear head-dresses of black lace falling in ample folds to the feet, round the necks small ruffs from which hang white lace. The bodices fit tight at waist and wrists, and a full skirt completes the dress. They kneel at a prie-dieu, on which are a closed and an open book. Behind the knight are the figures of two children, male and female. The boy wears a black suit, with short breeches, and shoes with buckles: the girl has a white head-dress and ruff, and a black dress with closed bodice and full skirt. There are three shields of arms behind the figures; at one time there were four, but one is missing. They represent the arms of Chichester, Chichester impaling Harrington, and Chichester with the impalement left blank.
The altar rails once surrounded the altar on three sides, but many years since were rearranged across the chancel and aisle. In the vestry are preserved the Elizabethan altar table, the old chained books, and set of pewter altar vessels.
The earliest record of the dedication of the church is 1259.
The registers date: baptisms, 1569; marriages, 1569; burials, 1566.
PINHOE. St. Michael and All Angels. The church [plate 182a] is Perpendicular and consists of chancel, nave, north aisle, south porch, and embattled west tower with four bells; the first bears a legend in Latin, the next two are dated respectively 1691 and 1655, and the tenor has the admonition "Pres not Thyself." The church was built at the end of the 14th or commencement of the 15th century, was restored in 1880, and will accommodate about 200 people.
The rood screen, which is of the same date as the church, is very perfect, Perpendicular, and consists of eight bays extending across nave and aisle; it retains its groining, and a rich cornice of vine leaves and grapes and in general construction follows the pattern at Kentisbeare. It formerly bore traces of colour, but it has now been cleaned. The pulpit is carved and is of the same date as the screen. The font [plate 182b] is of the style which prevailed in the reign of Edward the Confessor [1042-1066], and is certainly much older than the church; it is a misshapen block of stone scooped out, its only ornament being a rudely carved cable twisted around it, and what seems like ferns, flags or bulrushes. Pinhoe Church has probably served as a landmark for those entering the estuary of the Exe, for, quite recently, the upper portion of the tower was painted white.
Originally it is probable the church was full of ancient oak benches with handsomely carved ends, unhappily only one of these, that immediately below the pulpit, remains. A unique object in the church is a curious statuette, about 2 feet high, representing the parish beadle in the time of Queen Anne [1702-1714]. He holds a staff in his right hand and two books in his left, on the corner of the top of one the words "Ye poor man of Pinhoe 1700" are inscribed. He stands on a strong alms box which is of very recent date [plate 182c]. A point of interest in connection with the church is the pension annually paid to the vicar on October 1st, dating from very early days. Tradition connects it with the Battle of Pinhoe, A.D. 1001. The Danes fought the men of Devon and Somerset on the high ground above the church in that year, and it is related that the parish priest, watching the battle, noticed that his countrymen were short of arrows. Mounting his ass he rode into Exeter and secured a fresh supply and served them out personally to the men, and so turned the tide of conflict in their favour. He was rewarded with a mark from the King's purse. Another account attributes the payment of the pension to the saying of masses for the souls of the slain. In either case the pension is of very early origin.
The registers date from 1561.
PLYMOUTH. St. Andrew. The church [plate 183a] consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, chapel adjoining north aisle, north and south porches, and west tower which contains a carillon of ten bells. The interior was restored in 1874-75, by Sir Gilbert Scott [1811-1878], and consequently there is little of ancient architectural interest. All the window tracery is modern. There are however some old monuments remaining with inscriptions worth recording. One is in memory of:— "Sir John Skelton, Knt., who by Dame Bridget Prideaux his wife had issue five sonnes and one daughter. He dyed the 24th December, Anno Dom 1672." He and his wife are represented kneeling at a prie-dieu, their hands clasped in prayer. Another is dated 1649, with initials "W.M." and the following epitaph:—
"His parents chiefest joy and grief lies here
Their only child Like Abraham's sacrifice
Who the Almighties fatal marshal kills
To Gods will then did they resign their Wills
Like Noah's dove in the tempesteus seas
Of a distracted state he found no ease
His soul then mounted like the early larke
To find a resting place in Heaven his arke."
At the east end of the south aisle is the monument by Chantrey [1781-1841], of Zachary Mudge, Prebendary of Exeter and Vicar of St. Andrew's, born 1694, died 1769. Beneath the south window at the east end of the aisle is the tomb of Aaron Wilson, Doctor of Divinity, Vicar of Plymouth, dated 1643. In the north aisle near the organ is a tablet with the inscriptions:—
"I was once as thou art now
A man could Speake and goe
But now I ly in silence heere
Serve God thou must be soe."
"When death did me asayle
To God did I crye
Of Jacobs well to newiste my soule
That is might never die."
On the wall near this tablet is the monument in memory of the wife of Mr. Moyses Goodyear, with the lines:—
"I being deliver'd of a dead borne sonne
My soul deliver'd and my labour done
His birthday wrought my death to sweeten this
Death is to me the birthday of my blisse."
The date is October 21st 1642.
On the west wall of the north chapel are three old monuments. In the centre is that of John Sparke and Deborah his wife, daughter of John Rashleigh. The husband arrayed in armour, and the wife in veil, ruff, and long flowing dress, kneel before a prie-dieu, behind the man kneel two sons and behind the woman four daughters. Underneath are half figures of a man and woman holding each others hands, with three children on the man's right side, and one child and two chrisom children on the woman's left side. The date is 1635. On the right of this monument is that of Elizabeth, wife of Edward Calmady, dated 1645, and on the left that of Mrs. Mary Sparke, daughter of Jonathan Sparke, dated December 30th 1665, with the following lines:—
"Lifes but a Sparke and weake uncertain breath
No sooner kindled but put out by death
Such was my name, my fame, my fate yet I
Am still a living Sparke though thus I dye
And shine in Heavens orbe a star most bright
Though death on earth so soone eclipst my light."
At the north-east end of this aisle is a tablet in memory of Jane, the daughter of Sir Anthonye Barker, and wife of Edward Fowell, died May 23rd 1649; over which is the figure of a female in a shroud. The font [plate 183b] is modern, it was placed in the church about 1876. The old font of 17th or early 18th century date was discovered in an old building yard in Plymouth by the late Mr. J. Brooking-Rowe. He acquired possession of it and presented it to St. Catherine's Church, Plymouth, where it now is. There is an inscription on a brass plate stating:— This Font was formerly in the mother church of St. Andrew's Plymouth having been placed there in the year 1661 in the stead of the ancient Font destroyed by the Great Rebellion was after many vicissitudes rescued from ruin and presented by a townsman to this church of St. Catharine's A.D. 1900.
The registers date from 1581.
PLYMPTON. St. Mary. The church [plate 184a] consists of chancel with priest's door, nave, north and south aisles, north and south chapels opening out of the aisle, south porch, and west tower with eight bells. In the chancel is a trefoil-headed piscina with drain and shelf, and triple sedilia with trefoil heads. The east end of the sanctuary is panelled with marble, the modern carved reredos has panels representing the Adoration of the Shepherds, and the Entombment. The east window is filled with modern stained glass. There is a hagioscope in the chapel at the east end of the south aisle, and in the south wall is an ancient monument with a recumbent figure, it is in memory of Philip Courtenay of Loughtor (now Newnham Park). The figure, much mutilated, is arrayed in plate armour. The front base of the monument has canopied niches with figures, they are in a very bad state of preservation, the monument dates from about 1514. There are some small remains of ancient glass in the upper portion of the east window. The walled-up doorway in the south wall conceals the staircase which led to the rood screen, this, and the marks on the pillars for the attachment of the screen, prove its former existence, but there is nothing remaining now. There are the remains of a piscina placed rather high in the south wall. On the east wall is marble tablet in memory of the Snelling family, sometime of Chaddlewood, with dates from 1622 to 1673. The east window of the north aisle chapel contains in the top lights some remains of ancient glass, bearing the arms of Hill of Shilston on the left, and Hill of Hill's Court, on the right.
On the north side of the chapel is a very fine tomb erected in memory of Richard Strode, of Newnham in this parish, who died in 1464. Beneath a canopy rests a male figure arrayed in plate armour, the hands in the attitude of prayer, the head with long hair rests on a helmet. The front of the tomb has eleven niches with figures of monks holding their rosaries. The centre niche has a representation of the Holy Trinity [plate 184b]. The Father with His Hand raised in blessing and holding a crucifix between His knees and a dove at the top of the cross. Mrs. Jameson says in her History of our Lord that this device, known by the name of the Italian Trinity, obtained a strange popularity from the 12th to the 17th century, exhibiting little variety of composition during all those ages. With the exception of a carving on a tomb in Ashwater Church, this is the only carved representation of this device I have met with in a Devonshire church. Other niches contain figures of St. Paul, St. Katherine, the Blessed Virgin and Child, and St. John. At each end of the tomb are pinnacles, each with two niches, these niches contain figures of St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John, with their usual emblems.
On the north wall of the chapel is the monument of William Strode. In the centre is a kneeling male figure in armour with his hand on his sword; on either side of the centre figure are effigies of females kneeling at a desk; on a panel beneath the left hand figure are half figures of the seven daughters and three sons of Sir William. The two female figures at the desk represent Mary the first wife, who died in 1617, and Dyonisia the second Lady Strode. Underneath the right hand figure is a representation of Death cutting a flower with a sickle, the flower is held by a hand appearing out of a cloud.
Above the central effigy is the inscription:—
"Tread soft, for if you wake this knight alone
You rayse an hoast, Religious champion
His country's staff, right bold distributor,
His neighbour's guard, the poor man's almoner
Who dies with works about him as did hee,
Shall rise attended most triumphantly."
Above the left hand figure are the words:—
"Mary, incarnate virtue soule and skin
Both pure, whom death not life convinced of sin
Had daughters like seven Pleiades but shee
Was a prime star of greatest claritie."
Above the right figure are the lines:—
"Dewnes hath merited no slender prayer
In that she well supplyd the former's dayes
Conceive how good she was whose very worst
Unto the knight was this that she died first."
Beneath the central figure is the inscription:—
Gulielmi Strode, Equitis Aurati
et in isto ordine tandem antiquissimi:
Familia satis clari
Sed Religione integritate morum consilio Justica Publica
Generosa hospitalitate rebus probe et fśliciter gestis longe clarioris
Qui et septem filiarum quinq: nuptarum Equitibus nexu lugati
Et arctiori nexu plurium virtutum
Devonić suś gluten, et Oraculum diu substitit
Is duarum uxorum unanimi fretus consortio,
Marić et Dionysić
Quare ex altera decem suscepit liberos
ex altera serius solamen dierum et operum satur obdormivit
In gremio terrć matris
cum sorore vermicula, et ultima propinquitate naturć decumbens
In te occidit spes omnes et fortuna nostri nominis
donec nominis generisq: discrimen
Communi gloria resurrectionis
et soluis affinitate Christi evanescit
Occidit Junii 27, 1637. Aetate suć 76.
Patri Gulielmo, matri Marić et Dionysić quasi matri
Monumentum hoc posuit Gullielmus Strode.
On the third pier from east end of the north aisle is an image niche, and on a line with this pier, in the north wall, a filled-in doorway. The south porch with parvise is worthy of notice. Above the doorway are three canopied niches. The highest of these, above the parvise window, has a representation of the Holy Trinity; the Father is seated with the cross in front, the dove is missing. The lower niches have figures of the Blessed Virgin, and the Angel Gabriel; in the centre between the niches are the remains of a tree with helmet and wreath, the crest of the Strode family.
The roof of the porch has carved bosses, the centre one bearing a representation of the Crucifixion. There are three niches over the inner doorway, but the images are missing. In the south-east corner is a holy water stoup, and the eastern wall has a window which has been filled in.
|LIST OF VICARS|
|1460 Thomas Mychett||1772 John Britton|
|1613 John Cooke||1778 G. Crossman and William Bateman|
|1624 Alexander Grosse||1783 Philip Mayow|
|1653 Alexander Pomeroy ?||1801 Thomas Culme|
|1660 John Searle||1803 William Hayne|
|1669 Samuel Colepress||1817 William Isaac Coppard|
|1692 John Stokes||1867 Edward George Hunt|
|1739 William Goddard||1873 Merton Smith|
|1768 John Willcocks||1884 Joseph Mercer Cox|
This list of vicars is taken from an interesting book on the church written by Rev. Mercer Cox, Vicar.
The registers date from 1603.
PLYMPTON. St. Maurice. The church is dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury, but is more commonly known as St. Maurice from the chantry founded by John Brackley in the 14th century. The building, for the most part Perpendicular, was erected in 1440 and consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, north and south porches, and embattled west tower with eight bells. The granite base of the old pulpit remains against the first column of the south aisle arcade.
The rood screen is modern [plate 185], with portions of the old screen incorporated. It is complete with groining, cornices, and doors; but presents a curious appearance, having been made too long for the church, the northern portion has been turned at an angle to make it fit.
On the wall of the north aisle is a tablet to the memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds [1723-1792], who lived in the parish, and whose father was master of the old Grammar School.
The registers date from 1616.
PLYMSTOCK. St. Mary and All Saints. The confirmation of rights issued to the Priory of Plympton by Bishop Grandisson (middle of 14th century) enumerates these parochial chapelries as appropriated to it: Plympton, Brixton, Wembury, Plymstock, and Shaugh. The chapel is expressly referred to in 1352 as dedicated to All Saints. On October 7th 1547, Edward VI [1547-1553] granted to the Dean and Canons of Windsor, the rectory and church of Plympton, with the chapels of Plymstock, Wembury, Shaw, Samford, Plympton Maurice and Brixton. The Deans and Canons of Windsor are therefore the tithe owners of Plymstock and Patrons of the church, the incumbent coming under the designation of perpetual curate.
The church [plate 186a] consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and embattled west tower with six bells, all dating from 1739, with the exception of the second, which dates from 1735. There is a fine Perpendicular rood screen extending right across the church, retaining its sets of doors. The groining is gone and the spandrels are filled with pieces of the old carving cut in lengths, giving a rather stiff appearance. It was restored in 1887. The southern series of arches are of the Decorated period, those on the north side of the Perpendicular.
The wainscot oak pulpit has a fine canopy, the carving of the Harris arms indicates that family as its source, it bears date 1666. To members of the Harris family (of Radford, in the parish) are several monuments, notably two erected about 1623 and 1677.
The church was spoilt by having a mean pitch pine sharp angled roof substituted for the old oak waggon roof at the time of renovation some 35 years since [ca. 1875].
This church has an old font [plate 186b], cup-shape in form, with a broad band of carving of Grecian character: it is mounted on a circular shaft. It is of dark red sandstone, its source unknown, probably it was brought from some other church. There is a good cover, but it was evidently not made for this font, as the font is circular and the cover octagonal: each alternate side is ornamented with a carved figure. It is probably of German workmanship, and dates from the 17th century.
The registers date from 1591.
PLYMTREE. St. John the Baptist. The present church dates from 1460 and consists of chancel, nave, south aisle, south porch, and western tower, restored in 1895, when the number of bells was increased to six. On the west front of the tower is a statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child beneath a canopy, its high position probably saved it from the hands of the [Puritan] iconoclasts [17th century].
The chancel and nave date from the 14th century, large 16th century windows have been placed in the latter; the south aisle, called the Forde aisle, is 15th century work.
There is a fine Perpendicular rood screen of nine bays [plate 187a], retaining its groining, cornice, and doors; it does seem to have been made for the church, as it does not fit its present position. The panel paintings are in a very good state of preservation, this is probably due, as in several other places, to the protection afforded by high-backed pews. Beginning from the north side, they are as follows:— St. John the Evangelist (this is a half-panel — it has been cut in two to make it fit its present position), St. Anthony the Hermit, St. Matthew, St. Thomas, St. James the Great, St. John the Baptist, our Lord Risen, the other half of St. John the Evangelist. On the doors are depicted the Annunciation and the Visitation, each occupying two panels; the next four panels represent the Adoration of the Magi, then a bishop, St. Catherine Virgin and Martyr, St. Roch and the angel who appeared to him, St. Margaret of Antioch, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary Magdalene, or St. Lucy, an unknown saint, St. Osyth, St. Thomas of Canterbury, St. Dorothy, St. Michael, St. Sebastian, St. Helen. The next figure is difficult to identify; Mr. Keyser calls it St. Romuald, Dom Bede Camm thinks it is intended for St. James, and the vicar gives the same saint in his description of the screen. The figures on the last four panels of the screen are St. Agnes, St. Edward the Confessor, St. Barbara, and St. Stephen.
The three male figures in the representation of the Adoration of the Magi have been said to be portraits of King Henry VII [r. 1485-1509], Prince Arthur [died 1502], and Cardinal Morton [elected Archbishop of Canterbury in 1486]. The Rev. Thomas Mozley, who was one time Vicar of Plymtree [1868-1880], wrote an illustrated pamphlet in proof of this, but it seems extremely doubtful if his theory is correct. The only portrait of Cardinal Morton in existence is the effigy on his tomb at Canterbury [Cathedral]: this has no beard and does not resemble the figure on the panel [plate 187b].
The screen has not been restored, but is in bad repair, and a judicious restoration is needed if only to keep it from falling to pieces.
There are some beautifully carved bench-ends in the nave of 15th century date, and in the south aisle are some pews of the old horse-box pattern.
The first vicar recorded is John Walerand, April 9th 1261.
The registers date from 1538.
POLTIMORE. St. Mary. The church [plate 188a] consists of chancel with priest's door, nave, north and south transepts, south aisle, north porch, and west tower containing six bells. At the end of the aisle a gallery has been erected which abuts on the screen and cuts off the light from the south transept window; it would be well if this could be removed, as it is a disfigurement to the church. The gallery, which is the property of the Poltimore family, is reached by a wooden staircase through a door in the aisle. There is a clerestory, and the roofs of the chancel, nave, and aisle are flat. There is a hagioscope on each side of the chancel arch. The screen, of five bays, retains its cornice and groining; it is evidently not in its original position, as the north and south bays extend beyond the chancel arch on each side. There are piscinas with shelves in the chancel and the north and south transepts. In the south transept is the tomb with recumbent figures of Richard Bampfield and Elizabeth his wife; he died on May 29th 1594, and she on March 4th 1599. The male figure is arrayed in armour with his sword by his side, around the neck is a ruff; the head, which is bare, rests on a cushion, and the feet on a dog. The female figure is clothed in flowing gown tied in at the waist with a girdle, but open in front to show the skirt; she wears a ruff around the neck and a close-fitting head-dress with a flap turned up over the head from the back, her feet rest on a ram.
In the north and south transepts there are corbels of carved figures, but they do not support the present roofs; in the north transept the flat roof is lower than the top of the window arch. On the floor of the nave is the tombstone of John Bampfield, Bart., who died on April 24th 1650, in the 41st year of his age. Another John Bampfield is buried in the chancel.
The font [plate 188b] is very plain, simply a stone bucket encircled midway by a couple of roll mouldings; it stands on a circular base.
The registers date from 1718.
PORTLEMOUTH. St. Onolaus. The church consists of chancel, nave, north and south transepts, north and south aisles, north porch, and embattled west tower containing three bells. The church, with the exception of the tower, was rebuilt in the 15th century.
The rood screen exhibits some very fine carving [plate 189]; the groining is missing, but the remains of the ancient carving, which have been fastened on the spandrels, are particularly fine. The lower panels have paintings of saints and Evangelists. We here find Sir John Schorn, a Buckinghamshire rector [ca. 1300]; he was supposed to have caught the Devil and shut him up in a boot. Here, as at Alphington and Wolborough, he is represented holding a long boot in his hand with the Devil's head emerging from the top. Up to the time of the Reformation [ca. 1550] he was greatly venerated as a patron against gout and the ague. His shrine was at North Marston, Buckinghamshire. On the chancel door is a representation of the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin. The church was restored in 1881.
The registers date: baptisms, 1563; marriages, 1594; burials, 1562.
POWDERHAM. St. Clement. The church consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower with six bells. The first church on the site was consecrated by Bishop Bronescombe in 1259; two hundred years later the church was to a greater extent, if not entirely, rebuilt by Sir William Courtenay and Lady Margaret his wife.
There is a screen [plate 190] across chancel and aisle, the chancel portion consists of three bays and two half bays fitted between the pillars, in the aisle there three bays, both portions retain the doors. It is doubtful if the screen was made for the church, and it is certainly not in its original position. Parts may be remains of the original Powderham screen, but of the rest it is difficult to give the origin, as the 11th Earl of Devon [1807-1888] was a collector of old carved oak, and it might have come from more than one place. The upper part of the screen was restored in 1853, the groining is gone, and the spandrel spaces filled in with carving; there is a modern cross over the central doorway. The lower panels have paintings of saints, which are obviously additions, but from whence they came there is no evidence to prove.
Against the north wall of the chancel is an ancient recumbent female figure, the hands clasped in prayer, angels supporting the head, and the feet resting on a dog; at one time the effigy was against the north wall of the aisle. Whom it represents is a matter of uncertainty, but it does not, as has been often stated, commemorate Isabella de Fortibus [1236-1293].
On the south side of the chancel is a monument that was originally against the east wall of the north aisle, from whence it was removed to its present position on the erection of the organ. It somewhat resembles in style the Courtenay monument at Colyton, as is in memory of William, 10th Earl of Devon [1777-1859], Harriet his first Countess, and five children.
Over the south door is placed a carving of the Royal arms, behind which are faint remains in fresco of Royal arms of an earlier date. The former were probably erected in 1859, and the latter were probably obliterated when the church was garrisoned by the Parliamentary troops during the Civil Wars [1642-1651]. With the exception of this portion of plaster on which the arms are painted all the plaster has been removed from the walls.
On the top of the screen in the tower arch are placed carved figures of Aaron and Moses; they are coloured, and came originally from Moretonhampstead. The chapel at the east end of the south aisle contains a tomb with a recumbent figure of Elizabeth, Countess of Devon, who died on January 27th 1867.
The registers date: baptisms, 1575; marriages, 1559; burials, 1558.
PYWORTHY. St. Swithin. The church [plate 191a] consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, separated from nave by four arches on each side, south porch, and west tower with six bells. The bells were re-hung in 1904, when a new bell was added; it bear the inscription "Te Deum Laudamus". This is one of the few old Devon churches having a clerestory, the others being North Molton, South Molton, Cullompton, Tiverton and Poltimore. On the south side of the chancel there is a piscina with drain, and a triple sedilia. The floor of the chancel has been raised several steps above the level of the nave so that the original seats of the sedilia are now level with the floor of the chancel. There is an old priest's door and by the side a window now boarded up; this should be examined from outside the church, part of the arch cuts into the side of a window over, the upper window appears to be of an earlier date than the lower. The rood staircase and doorways remain on the south side of the chancel, the last pillar of the nave having been cut away for its erection, a rather risky operation.
In the south aisle there is a piscina beneath the south-east window. The waggon roof has carved bosses, flat in design and not of much merit, the carved wall plate remains in the south aisle. There are four clerestory windows on each side, which are boarded two-thirds of the way up, if they were ever filled with glass it must have been before the erection of the present aisle roofs, which are higher than the lower parts of the windows.
In the west tower [plate 191b] is a curious feature, one which I have not come across in any other Devonshire church, the steps to the belfry instead of being in a turret are inside the tower, there is a modern doorway to give access to the stairs from the exterior of the tower. Over the south doorway there is a niche without image, inside the doorway is a holy water stoup, a hole has been bored in a bowl as if it were a piscina. The font has a massive octagonal bowl of granite resting on a thick central shaft with eight smaller shafts around it. A portion of the original base remains, the rest is modern, as are the pillars. The porch has a modern carved wall plate; there are two old bosses, one showing a pelican feeding its young, and the other, two faces side by side. On the south exterior wall of the chancel is a slate slab with skull and crossbones and the inscription:— Memento mori; Near this place lyeth the body of Samuel Parsons, yeoman (of Derreton in this Parish) who was buried the 4th day of Sept Anno Dom 1791, aged 82 years and Ten Months. Also Margaret (his wife) was buried the 30th day of March Anno Dom 1798 aged 81.
|LIST OF RECTORS|
|1262 John le Gras||1537 John Colyns|
|1268 Henry de Montfort||1539 Richard Benese or Benys|
|1309 Master Henry occurs as Rector||1547 Nicholas Arscott|
|1310 Sir Henry occurs as Rector||1550 Sir Thomas Rogers|
|1326 Roger de Bokhurst||1565 William Moore|
|1347 William de Brauntone||1576 Roger Allye|
|1367 Sir John Flemynge||1590 Christopher Leche|
|1403 Richard Fraunce||1610 William Tucker|
|1405 Richard||1627 Thomas Blighe or Blight|
|1408 John Cowyk||1647 John Kelland|
|ľľ Sir James Francheyney||1661 Edward Boni|
|1432 Sir John Thomas||1683 Robert Beckley|
|1434 John Ranald||1712 John Bayley|
|1441 William Bontemps||1737 Thomas Morton|
|ľľ Sir John Theforde||1743 Oliver Rouse|
|1444 Sir John Stranglonde||1781 Thomas Kingdon|
|1449 William Lambstone||1808 Thomas Hockin Kingdon|
|1469 George Strangways||1853 George Thomas Kingdon|
|1474 Sir John Joce||1862 Samuel William Taggert|
|1479 John Dunmore||1904 Edward Andrew Donaldson|
|1526 Sir John Arscott|
The above list has been kindly given to me by the present rector, the Rev. E. A. Donaldson.
The registers date: baptisms, 1653; marriages, 1681; burials, 1682.
RATTERY. St. Mary. The church is an ancient edifice in the Norman style, consisting of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, north porch, and an embattled west tower with spire containing four bells, all dating from 1763.
There is an oak rood screen with some very fine carving [plate 192], it has been partially restored in recent years, the church was restored about 35 years since [ca. 1875].
The font is Norman, of the type which is common in the neighbourhood.
The registers date from 1653.
Pilton: Rood Screen
Pilton: Chichester Monument
Pinhoe: Poor Man of Pinhoe
Plymouth, St. Andrew: Interior
Plymouth, St. Andrew: Font
Plympton, St. Mary: Interior
Plympton, St. Mary: Representation of the Holy Trinity
Plympton, St. Maurice: Rood Screen
Plymtree: Rood Screen
Plymtree: Paintings on Panels of Screen
Portlemouth: Rood Screen
Powderham: Rood Screen
Pyworthy: Tower Staircase
Rattery: Rood Screen
«Some Old Devon Churches»:
[Dr. R. Peters: email@example.com]