Alphington Church Inside (before the re-ordering of 2014)

The Porch

Displayed above the porch door is the Courtenay family arms from 1400 and the figure of St Michael the Archangel conquering evil in the form of a serpent or dragon.

As you enter the porch there is a basin, called a stoup, for holding holy water this is from the time when the church was Roman Catholic.

Above the inner porch door is a notice requesting worshipers to remove their pattens so that the noise would not disturb the congregation; the notice dates back to about 1720. Pattens are wooden soled overshoes with an iron ring for raising the wearer's shoes out of the mud in the lanes.

Above the porch is a small chamber that was once the priest's living quarters.

A wall memorial inside the church by the inner porch doors shows that the beacon cross that once stood on the top of the tower and the lighting of the clock were given in memory of F. Ethel Sibley by her husband Wm. Chas. Sibley.

The window in the priest's room names Bernard Callender Bennett, Rector of Alphington, 1915–1954 and Kittie H. Bennett 1908–1937.

Between the glass and wooden doors in the porch is a floor memorial to Barbara Turner died 13th August 1674. A floor memorial situated by the priest's room now covered by carpet is in memory of Richard Ellicombe Rector of Alphington for 20 years died 4th August 1851 aged 71 years and his wife Eliza Ellicombe died 30th April 1865 aged 78.

The Font


The Norman Beer Stone Font
Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick

This is said to be one of finest Beer stone fonts in Devon. It is Norman, dated to about 1100, and decorated with interfaced arches, scroll ornaments and figures over the arches. A copy of the font was placed in the Temple Church, London in about 1841.

On the southeast side are two panels showing St. Michael attacking a dragon with a lance or arrow. This is quite an unusual subject for a font and these two panels are possibly the reason why the church was dedicated to St. Michael. On the left of St. Michael is what is thought to be a large cat.

Continuing to move left, the next panel represents an eagle; an eagle is often carved on fonts, as it is symbolic of baptism. The old story goes that when the eagle becomes old and his wings hang down and his sight is failing he floats high in the air and scorches his wings in the heat of the sun. After this he dips himself three times in a fountain of clear water and becomes young again.

Another panel represents a bird falling downwards, head first with his wings outstretched.

Other panels show an archer shooting probably a goat, a large flower possibly a rose, a figure of a man carrying a stick, this is probably "Paley's Baptismal Fonts" reference to a man carrying a hare on a cane but it is not easy to make out the hare.

There is a crocodile and hydra carved on the bowl.

The West End of the Church

The west end of the church was probably rebuilt at the end of the 14th Century.

At the northwest end is a list of Alphington's Rectors. Above this list is a window dedicated to the memory of Richard Ellicombe MA who died 5th August 1851. The second window in this corner on the north wall was given in memory of Dorothy and Percy Dadd, who farmed at Sobey's for many years, by their daughter Mrs Williams. The service of dedication took place on Sunday 12th January 1996 at 10 a.m.

The screen across the tower arch was made from the panels from the former Jacobean gallery, which was an upper floor that stretched across the back of the church. It was erected at sometime between 1625 and 1632 and removed during the restoration in 1877. The screen shows ten coats of arms for, from the top, left to right: John Tothill of Peamore; Robert Northleigh of Matford Dinham (the Northleighs and Tothills were among the foremost of the county families); Francis Courtenay of Powderham (the arms of Seymour are impaled as Francis married Elizabeth Seymour); Thomas Alden Rector, 1637–1651; The See of Exeter impaling the arms of Joseph Hall, Bishop of Exeter 1626–1641; William Bouchier third Earl of Bath 1628; See of London; Nicholas Duck Recorder of Exeter; Sir John Bampfylde of Poltimore MP for Devon 1678; Humphrey Turner of Thorverton. These panels were repainted in 1905. According to George Oliver, Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Devon, vol: 1, p.72 (1840) these gallery panels also included the arms of Southcot, Oxenham, Coffin, Prust, Holway of Wadeton and the Taylors' Company.

A memorial on the wall/pillar to the left of the screen is dedicated to John and Elizabeth Way, who resided in Alphington for 45 years.

The memorials on the southwest wall are dedicated to Caroli Porter died 25th November 1864 aged 85. William Butterfield Jnr buried 15th January 1859 aged 29, Anna Butterfield buried 18th October 1860 aged 70, William Butterfield buried 18th November 1879 aged 81. Colin Campbell Esq Younger of Stonefield in Argyleshire, North Britain died 4th May 1799 aged 40. I was told that a true Scotsman once came into the church and read the memorial to Colin Campbell and he was not impressed that Argyleshire was said to be in North Britain!

The window is in memory of John Williams Ellicombe killed in Holland on 19th September 1799.

Behind the pews the floor memorials are in memory of Mary Turner, Robert Northleigh died 1622. Mrs Hannah Stile, John Stile died 3rd March 1752 aged 8? and Mrs Ann Stile died 3rd October 1757 aged 66. Jane Matilda Walker died December 1836 aged 18 and Francis John Walker died 30th December 1840 aged 18? years. John Sonders died 29th July 1674.

There are floor memorials underneath the carpet and these are in memory of Thomas Hayne the third son of Thomas Hayne of Eastwood died 26th November 1643, Agnis Branscom wife of Allexander Branscom daughter of Thomas Hayne died 11th June 1643 and Mary Hayne the second daughter of John Hayne of Eastwood died 29th October 1699. Richard Bulford son of Joseph Bulford buried 10th August 1691, John Bulford son of Richard Bulford buried 27th May 1699, Mary Bulford daughter of Richard Bulford buried 12th June 1706, Joseph Bulford son of Richard Bulford buried 30th September 1710 and Ellonoi Bulford daughter of Richard Bulford buried 17th April 1723. Rear Admiral William Townsend Dance died 5th September 1857 aged 67. Samuel Symons died 24th January 1841 aged 81, Samuel Symons his son died January 1789 aged 3 years 7 months and Ann Symons wife of Samuel Symons died 1st April 1844 aged 83. Anthony Weekes died 7th July 1702 aged 86 and Joan Weekes daughter of Antony Weekes died 2nd July 1685 aged 31. Daughter of William Simonds died 30th June 1670. Frances Vinicombe died 22nd October 1675 and Daniel Vinicombe died 2nd October 1700. Grace Wotton daughter of William Wotton buried 10th March 1759 aged 4.

Under the cupboard in the tower room Grace Walkey died 21st February 1717, Samuel Walkey buried 17th December 1721 aged 77, Sarah Walkey died 22nd March 1726 buried 26th March 1727, Thomas Hall eldest son of Mr. Edward Hall died 3rd July 1735 and Elizabeth Walkey buried 1st March 1687.

The west window (in the bell ringing chamber) is in memory of Thomas Symons died 24th August 1877 aged 75, Mary Symons his wife died 7th October 1854 aged 49 and their younger children Henry, Elizabeth and Mary Ann. The window was erected by Thomas and Mary's son William Symons.

The South Aisle

This aisle was added in 1878 when the church was restored.

The first wall memorial is in memory of Elizabeth Hurding daughter of John Hurding died 1st April 1680.

The window is dedicated to the memory of Thomas Robert Symonds died 20th July 1867 aged 32, Eliza Symons died 11th April 1910 aged 71, William Symons died 23rd March 1913 aged 68.

Two wall memorials remember the War dead from the village: 1914–1919, Frederick Buckingham, Leopold Cann, Dick J. Carpenter, Albert Conway, William H. Counter, Joseph C.H. Edgecombe, Robert H. Evans, Henry Godfrey, E. George Hambly, Ernest R. Hamilton, John Leach, F. John Loram, Stanley A. Loram, Claude de N. Lucas, John B. Lucas, Harold G.M. Lucas, Samuel Mitchell, William H. Mitchell, George T. Milton, Charles Paddon, James R. Rowe, Walter Selley, William J. Shepherd, Henry B. Smith-Rewse, Meyrick B. Smith-Rewse, William E. Stephens, Michael L. West, William H. West, Frederick J. Westcott. 1939–1945 Daniel Casely, James Coombe, Ian Craig, Douglas Edyvean, George Ford, Ronald Franklin, Kenneth Little, Harry Moulding, Albert Rogers.

The following window was erected by Wm. N. Griffin in memory of his father W. Royle M. Griffin died 18th June 1880, his wife Teresa Griffin died 27th January 1898 and his mother Ellen Griffin died 11th September 1896.

Another wall memorial is dedicated to Fanny Ethel Sibley. Her husband, William Charles Sibley of Cathedral Yard Exeter , installed the electric lighting in the church in 1930 and this electricity and memorial tablets were dedicated on 1st February 1931 by the Lord Bishop of Crediton; the church was packed full. The other memorial is in memory of George Leach died 10th December 1684 buried 15th December 1684, Joanna died 2nd April 1662 and Rebecka Leach widow of George died 14th December 1716 aged 92.

The next window is in memory of Thomas Woodman of Alphington Cross, this was erected by his nephew Joseph Godfrey of Plymouth.

The following wall memorial is in memory of Joseph Somasrer Esq. Collector of Excise died 30 June 1733 aged 64, Julian, his wife, died 13th February 1749 aged 76 and their daughter, Frances, died 25th February 1762 aged 51.

The next window is in memory of William Ellicombe BA and Hannah Ellicombe his wife.

The last two wall memorials in this aisle are in memory of William White Esquire of Exminster Villa died 12th January 1817 aged 64. Hugh White Esquire born at Alphington on 24th September 1758 and died at Ide on 18th March 1836.

The floor memorials are in memory of William White died 12th January 1817 aged 64. Joanna White wife of Captain William White died 24th May 1776 buried 30th May 1776, some of their children were John, Mary, William, Charles, Nicholas and Hugh. Agnes Hussey died 18th September 1677 buried 20th September 1677. John Hayne died 22nd January 1665 at Eastwood buried 24th January 1665 and Joanne Hayne wife of John Hayne died 15th December 1687 at Eastwood buried 19th December 1687. Another memorial for the Hayne family is in memory of John Hayne died 27th April 1664, Joan Hayne third daughter of John Hayne died 4th February 1704/5, Agnes Hayne wife of John Hayne died 3rd November 1644 and John Hayne son of John Hayne died 15th June 1636.

Wheatley Chapel

The staircase well in the south wall is the remains of the stairs that originally led to the Rood loft.

The large chest is the Parish Chest. It has three different shaped key holes as the three keys were held by the Rector and the two churchwardens, this ensures that they were all present when the chest was unlocked. This Parish Chest was used for storing the Parish registers and money.

The wall memorials in the Wheatley Chapel are dedicated to Anne Fletcher Cotton wife of William Cotton Esq., they lived for many years at The Elms, she died 21st November 1882 aged 41. Hannah the wife of the Revd. William Ellicombe, she died 4th July 1821 aged 70. John Williams Ellicombe an Ensign in the 40th Regiment of Foot died 19th September 1799 at Oud Karspel, Holland aged 23. Revd. William Ellicombe died 20th April 1831 aged 86, he was Rector of Alphington for 51 years. Revd. Richard Ellicombe died 4th August 1851. Eliza Ellicombe widow of Revd. Richard Ellicombe and daughter of Revd. John Swete of Oxton House died 30th April 1865 aged 78. Laura Blackall the third daughter of Hugh Myddleton Ellicombe Esquire, wife of Samuel Blackall MA buried 22nd July 1848 after giving birth to a daughter in her 10th month of marriage.

The window is in memory of Hugh Myddelton Ellicombe who died 4th October 1857 aged 80; Lucy Ellicombe, his wife, who died 22nd November 1864 aged 87 and their children, John Bradford and Laura. They are buried in the churchyard.

The memorials on the floor are in memory of Lucy Barnwall the wife of Edward Barnwall Esq. died 27th April 1811 aged 30 years 10 months. John Ducke of Dunchidock MA And Fellow of Kings College Cambridge died 28th January 1727. Agnus Tate Pawlin wife of John Pawlin the younger daughter of William Amery of Dodescombleigh died 25th September 1680 aged 32½.

The Sanctuary

There is an ancient stone basin (piscina) in the south wall of the sanctuary for draining water. It was moved to its present position when the church was lengthened in 1877. Originally, there were three piscina's but over time two of them have disappeared.

There was originally a carpet in the sanctuary that was worked by Elsie Powlesland.

The sanctuary was decorated and a carved oak reredos was erected in 1900.

On the 5th May 1957 oak panelling on three sides of the altar were dedicated in the memory of Revd. Bernard C. Bennett MA, Rector of Alphington from 1916 until 1954 and Prebendary of Exeter, an inscription in this panelling shows this dedication.

Two memorials on the small wall are in memory of Sophia Laetitia Dupuis and her husband Edward John Gore Dupuis.

The small window is in memory of George Short.

The large East window is in memory of John Hart, Edward Huime and Maria Hart.

The Bishop's chair was presented by the widow and ten children of William Middleton who died on 15th December 1899.

The gate of the sanctuary rail displays a memorial in remembrance of Leonard Mitchell born on 9th October 1894 died 23rd January 1959 and his family given by his sister Minnie. This gate replaced the former crude centre rail.

The Chancel

The Rood screen, which replaced the chancel arch, is 15th century but the north aisle screen may have come from another church as it is different in design and execution. The groining is lost and the spandels filled in with fragments of old carving. On the lower panels are paintings of Saints and Bishops. On the south side of the chancel portion of the screen there is a representation of St. Dunstan clutching the devil by the nose with a pair of pincers. On the north side is a painting of Sir John Shorne, who according to legend caught the devil and shut him up in a boot. John Schorne was appointed vicar of North Marston in 1290 and he was said to have a great gift of healing. The chancel screen was restored in 1870 at the expense of Reginald Courtenay, Earl of Devon.

The parclose screen, the old screen that stands behind the choir stalls, enclosing the chancel is made of Victorian timber and originally contained some Tudor wood dating from 1500.

The Rood Cross was added to the church in memory of Revd. Dupuis, Rector from 1880 until 1915, and was dedicated by his college friend the Bishop of Crediton.

The crucifix above the chancel screen was offered by parishioners and friends also in memory of Revd. Dupuis. The floor memorials are in memory to Sara Seaman died 26th March 1662 wife of John Seaman daughter of the three times Mayor of the City of Exeter. Grace Prowse wife of Humphry Prowse of Mamhead died 9th January 1659. Mary Sowdon daughter of John Tucker of Brampford Speak wife of John Sowdon died 9th February 1686 aged 39 and John Sowdon of Underwood died 13th March 1693 aged 58.

The Lady Chapel

At the end of 1929 the Church Council had started discussing the plan for the placing of a window given by Mary A Tolman. By March 1930 the Rector called a meeting of church people to discuss this and other planned alterations. It was decided that the 'Tolman window' would replace the small window which was obliterated by the organ. The organ would be moved to the gallery side, part of the organ would be in the church and the other part in the vestry. The space created by the removal of the organ would become a small side chapel for daily service and other small gatherings. Herbert Read carried out the work using 17th century oak panelling found in the rectory.

Upon completion it was stated 'The new chapel does add to the beauty of the church and was thankful to received the beautiful gifts to its adornments'. Mrs Kitts had made and given the kneelers. Mr. A. Pike had made the credence table with some of the oak from the gallery. Mr. Harry Brewer had made the neat oak altar desks. Miss M. Merrick had given the flower vases. The linen cloth had been worked by Mrs Bentley-Carr and Mrs Selley. The altar cross was given in memory of Mrs Kay by her family. The candlesticks and panelling was given by Mrs Bennett in memory of her parents.

On Sunday 28th September 1930, the eve of the Patronal Festival, the Lord Bishop of Crediton dedicated the side chapel and window at the 6:30 pm evensong. The first celebration at the altar of the chapel took place on St Michael and All Angels Day.

James and Erica Malcolm are remembered by an inscription on the wood panelling by their daughter Kate Hilda Bennett.

In 1936 Mrs Bonus and Miss Gladys Bonus presented six beautifully carved oak pews as a memorial to the late Revd. Albert Bonus MA Priest Scholar 4th September 1854–24th March 1936 and his son Mr. John Courtenay Bonus churchwarden 1922–1929 born 22nd December 1891 died 15th April 1936. These pews replaced the chairs in the Lady Chapel and the carvings in the panels were a representation of the life work of Revd. Albert Bonus and Mr. John Courtenay Bonus. A carving on one of these pews shows a gowned scholar who is concentrating so much on his studies that he does not notice a mouse gnawing at his gown. The Archdeacon of Exeter conducted the dedication service in 1936. The decorative work of the pews were in the same Jacobean style as the old panelling in the church.

The first window is the Tolman window that was given by Mary A. Tolman in memory of her parents, brothers and sisters.

The first wall memorial is in memory of Master Robert Northleigh of Matford Dinham, Alphington, he married Joan the daughter of Henry Tothill of Peamore Esq, they had eight sons and three daughters, Henry, George, Jeffry, Robert, John, Robert, Thomas, James, Marye, Joan, Margarett; Robert Northleigh died 18th January 1638 aged 55. The second memorial is in memory of Henry Northleigh of Peamore Esq. born in Dean Prior on 4th March 1642 and died 31st January 1693 in London a member of Parliament. The last wall memorial in this chapel is in memory of Joseph Martyn died 17th March 1676 aged 79.

There is also a floor memorial in memory to Henry Northleigh. Another Henry Northleigh of Peamore Esq. is remembered through a floor memorial, he was buried 1st January 1675. Other floor memorials are in memory of Joseph Martyn Dr of Lawes sometimes Chancellor of this Dioceses and Judge of Vica Admiralty of Devon died 17th March 1676 aged 79 and Mary Martyn daughter of Joseph died 28th June 1707. Stephen Toller died 11th September 1693 and his wife Elizabeth Toller died 2nd March 1678. Lettice Northleigh wife of Henry Northleigh of Peamore Esq. died 14th February 164?.

On the wooden book rest there is a memorial in memory of Albert Beer, Sexton of the church for 25 years he died 18th January 1942. On the oak chair there is another memorial to James and Erica Malcolm.

The North Aisle

The large memorial is in memory of Frances (shown in the picture on the left) wife of Samuel Walkey gent. buried 7th November 1678, Elizabeth daughter of Samuel Walkey buried 1st March 1687, Grace her sister buried 21st February 1717. Samuel Walkey their father buried 17th December 1721 aged 77, Sarah his wife died 22nd March 1726 and Thomas Hill of Bridford gent. who married Sarah eldest daughter of Samuel Walkey died 26th March 1726.

Dorothy daughter of Samuel Walkey and wife of the Revd. John Pitman Rector of Alphington buried in the Chancel 23rd May 1721.

Samuel Walkey Esq. son of Samuel Walkey buried 30th October 1749, Samuel Walkey of the Midd. Temple gent. buried 10th April 1753, Mary wife of Benjamin Walkey of Exeter gent. and daughter of Joseph Elliott Esq. buried in the church.

The memorial underneath is in memory to Thomas Lane Esq died 20th April 1822 aged 77 and his wife Ann heiress of Henry Bowyer Esq. died 9th November 1830 aged 78.

The following window was given by Gladys Mary Bonus in memory of her mother Mary Elizabeth Bonus buried 6th August 1941 aged 82 and her sister Marion Faith Bonus buried 22nd January 1941 aged 51.

The next wall memorial is in memory of Elizabeth wife of James Ballie died 18th December 1809.

The next window was given by Catherine B. Griffin in memory of her father W. R. M. Griffin died 18 June 1880 and her mother Ellen died 11th September 1898.

The last wall memorial is in memory of Henry Adney Bale son of John Henry Bale died 10th January 1874 aged 32, he was serving with the force operating against the Ashantees and this memorial was erected by his Brother Officers of the exhibition.

The floor memorials in the north aisle are in memory of Henry possibly Helmore died 1653 and A. R. Will died October 1691. Edward Turner died 18th April 1659 and his wife Alice Turner died 21st August 1667. Ann Turner daughter of Edward Turner died 18th May 1667 and Mrs Alice Churchill died 28th May 1686. Robert Stone buried 30th October 1723 aged 10 months, Joseph Stone died 16th January 1722 on the day of birth, John Stone buried 29th October 1725 aged 2 years 10 months all born on 16th January 1722 at Larkebear in Talitton described as three twins of Mr. Richard Stone, Admonition died 28th March 1727 aged 9? years, Anna Stone died 9th June 1719 aged 1 year 4 months, Ann Stone died 22nd April 1717 aged 4 years 1 month, Agnes Stone died 5th April 1717 aged 9 months, all were daughters of Richard Stone. George Leach died 10th December 1884, Rebecka Leach died 14th December 1716 aged 92 wife of George Leach, Margaret Leach died 2nd July 1649 daughter of George Leach.

Centre Aisle

The centre aisle has floor memorials in memory of Thomas Hayne died 26th May 1659 aged 73 and Richard Hayne youngest son of Thomas Hayne of Eastwood died 1st October 1696 aged 71. Joane Hayne daughter of Thomas Hayne of Eastwood died 8th January 1669 aged 53, John Hayne the second son of John of Eastwood died 22nd August 1704 and John Hayne of Eastwood died 7th November 1709. John Tothill son of John Tothill died 2nd March 1639. John Tothill died 12th April 1656 and Mrs Sarah Reynell her first husband was John Tothill and her second was Edward Reynell, son Edward Reynell of Malston Esq., she died 29th August 1680.

The pulpit was replaced with the present stone one in 1881.

Memorials on the Pews and other Church Furniture

Many of the pews are in memory of Kittie H. Bennett. Others are in memory of Marion Rebecca Veitch born 7th October 1858, died 31st January 1939, buried 31st January 1939. James Richard Raymont Mitchell born 14th January 1854, died 2nd March 1939 and Henrietta Elizabeth Jane his wife born 14th January 1856, died 23rd January 1905. Alison Pope widow of William Pope of Adelaide Australia born Alphington 27th January 1867, died 4th June 1941. Doris Gigg born 1908, died 1981 and Tom Gigg (treasurer and churchwarden) born 1910, died 1991.

There are two memorials on the hymn book cupboard the first is in memory of John James Brewer who gave 73 years service to the church, he was choirman for 30 years, verger and sexton for 44 years, bellringer for 58 years and captain for 50 years, he was born in 1887 died in January 1961 and buried 19th January 1961. The second memorial is in memory of Janice Grimes born in 1936 and died in 1983. New hymn books were purchased with donations given in her memory and these were dedicated at Harvest Thanksgiving in October 1983.

A memorial on the display case for the memorial book was given in memory of Frank Taverner who died 14th June 1981 aged 74.


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Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick