BARNSTAPLE, Devon – St Mary Magdalene. 

Choir vestry 1904; proposed stained glass window 1909; oak panelling 1914

The choir vestry was built in memory of Alderman John Harper, former Mayor, and long-time churchwarden at the church.

The North Devon Journal of 19 May 1904 reported that:

The choir vestry which has been erected in St. Mary Magdalene Church, Barnstaple…was dedicated by the Bishop of Crediton…  The new vestry has cost about £200 and practically the whole of this amount has been raised.  The memorial may be regarded as portion of a scheme of improvement being carried out in connection with the church.  Some four years ago a portion of the chancel was laid out with tiles and marble, at a cost of nearly £100:  and it is hoped to complete the scheme in the near future, a further £50 being required for the purposes of the work.

The new vestry…is situate [sic] at the north-east corner of the church.  In the clear it is 16ft. by 18ft. 6in.  It is of stone, with hammer-dressed facings.  The plinth, windows, doorways and parapet coping are of Bath stone, the architecture being in keeping with the church… The architect was Mr. G. H. Fellowes Prynne of Westminster, the builders being Messrs. J. Bryant and Son, of Barnstaple.

Another memorial was proposed, this time in the form of a stained glass window at the east end of the church, to Archdeacon Seymour, according to the North Devon Journal of 29 April 1909.  This would cost about £200, and

would complete a scheme of enrichment of the sanctuary and chancel, which had been approved by Mr. Fellowes Prynne.

I do not know whether this stained glass was ever installed.

A few years later, under the heading “Memorial Dedicated at Barum Parish Church” the Western Times of 26 May 1914 reported the following:

At Barnstaple Parish Church on Friday, the Lord Bishop of Exeter dedicated the oak panelling erected in the sanctuary of the Church as a memorial to the late Rev. Richard Turner, M.A… The work, which was carried out by the well-known firm of Messrs. Shapland and Petter, of Barnstaple, from drawings by Mr. Fellowes Prynne, ecclesiastical architect, of London, comprises exquisite panelling on either side of the altar table, and also two returns, and is three panels high, the uppermost one being perforated and relieved with bronzed canvassed back.  The centre panels are of linen fold, the whole being beautifully carved and executed.

The church no longer exists, but the dedication remains in the town’s church of St Peter and St Mary Magdalene.