CREDITON, Devon – Holy Cross.
The work was fashioned by the locally based firm of Messrs Dart and Francis.
Much correspondence between the architect and Dart and Francis survived until recently. Here is a summary of what I was able to see before the archive was lost in a fire:
31 Jan 1925: Head of the firm Dart and Francis pleads for extensive work at East end (of his own parish church in Crediton)
2 April 1925: Plan for reredos as memorial to late vicar costed at £600
25 Sep 1925: Sketch plan sent
15 Dec 1925: Beer stone would cost £573, including centre figure panel and 8 side ones £120, and marble panels £10.
21 Jan 1926: Argument develops over kind of stone to be used
13 Jul 1926: Donor wants alabaster, the architect and Dart and Francis favour Beer or Caen stone.
20 Sep 1926: Architect proposes Farleigh Down stone, with marble panels for relief.
24 Sep 1926: Dart and Francis propose Corsham Down stone, still “warmer”, but still £600.
13 Oct 1926: Quote for possible oak panels either side at £100.
17 Jan 1927: Work progresses, but Fellowes Prynne is ill.
14 Apr 1927: Further modifications agreed.
23 April 1927: Details of several figures to be placed on the reredos.
George Fellowes Prynne died on 7 May 1927. The new reredos was installed in December 1927, and the Devon and Exeter Gazette described it thus, on 19 December:
The parish church of Holy Cross, Crediton, rich in historical associations and memorials, has been further beautified by the provision of a reredos as a memorial to the late Vicar (Preb. W. M. Smith-Dorrien). The memorial…is of Beer freestone, elaborately designed. The Resurrection forms the subject of the central panel of the reredos…. During the work of preparing the east-end wall, against which the reredos has been erected, a massive piscina (unfortunately seriously damaged) was revealed, set in the wall on the right-hand side. Formerly the wall was covered with painted plaster, illustrating Moses and Aaron, and it was in removing this that the piscina, considered to be of 15th century date, was exposed. As a result of this discovery a proposal to oak panel the wall on either side of the reredos was abandoned… The memorial was designed by the late Mr. G. H. Fellowes Prynne, and executed under the supervision of Mr. Sidney Tatchell, of London, by Messrs. Dart and Francis, sculptors etc., of Crediton.