NORTHAM, Devon – St Margaret of Antioch. 

Additions and alterations 1921-24

Dart and Francis’ archives, now destroyed following a fire, gave some information on the work to be done.

On 20 July 1921 the following estimate was given:

Oak riddels with carved cornice and cresting.  No.4 angels   £130

Oak altar with Sicilian Marble Mensa   £80

War Memorial Tablet with Sicilian Marble shelf and no.4 corbels, and inclusive of the crucifix in centre panel and carved raised and gilded letters for all inscriptions   £135

These were in fact reductions on the earlier estimates. The work was subsequently carried out by the contractors as follows:

23 Jun 1922 – Memorial tablet with marble shelf and corbels

09 Aug 1922 –  Altar and Memorial Screen, and metal plate to fix in paving. (not mentioned in revised estimate)

21 Aug 1922 – granite steps in chapel fixed. Altar and riddels sent with memorial tablet. Tablet to be fixed at west end of north wall of chapel

01 Nov 1924 – correspondence concerning proposed alteration to chancel

The North Devon Journal of 21 September 1922 reported on the dedication of the new War Memorial.

Northam Parish Church war memorial, which was dedicated on Monday, takes the form of a chapel furnished and arranged in one of the aisles on the site of one of the original chapels of the Parish Church of St. Margaret.  In it is placed a tablet recording the names of 86 men connected with the parish… The altar in the chancel and tablet are from designs by Mr. G. H. Fellowes Prynne… The cost of the memorial will be between £600 and £700.

A further detailed description was provided by the Western Times on Friday 22 September 1922.

The chapel altar has been placed in a central position immediately westward of the organ in the east end of the north aisle, which has been set apart as a chapel for constant week-day services for more than 500 years.  When completed the memorial, it is claimed, will be one of the most beautiful erected since the war in a Devonshire church.  Two bread granite steps, with marble and granite altar pace, occupying a space of some 80 square feet, form a dignified dais for the altar.  Four carved and decorated Riddel posts, nine feet high, stand on the top step, supporting a richly carved cornice, from which hangs a beautiful gold and blue dossal at the back, and hangings at the sides, divided by dark blue orphreys of jute velvet edged with gold and blue lace.  These together form a kind of recess of so-called Early English type in which the altar stands, and sculptured angels with gold-tipped wings extended, and bearing shields with carved and coloured sacred monograms, are placed on the top of the four Riddel posts.  The altar, which is 6ft. 10in. long by 2ft. 10in. broad, and is elaborately carved, is divided into three panels with traceried heads.  The panels, which are at present in plain oak, are intended to be permanently decorated with subject paintings.  When the altar is decorated the whole colour scheme will be extremely beautiful, and even in its present unfinished state it is very effective.

The memorial tablet…is of English oak, and is supported on a polished white marble slab or shelf built into the wall.  The tablet takes the form of a kind of triptych, the central panel being occupied by a cross, cut in relief (on which, in the original design, was placed a figure of the crucified Saviour).  This panel is surrounded by a carved circular-headed frame, with a symbolic vine pattern, and with an inscription above: “By Thy Cross and Passion good Lord deliver us.”  At the foot of the cross ins the inscription: “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend”.  Panels on either side contain the names of 86 men connected with the parish, who fell in the war, under the heading of “Roll of Honour, Great War, 1914-1918.”  Below the names appear texts, and at the base, running the whole length of the tablet, is the dedicatory inscription.

The architect’s report, plan and a photo from 1920 are held at the Devon Heritage Centre.