PILTON, Barnstaple, Devon – St Mary. 

Alterations to chancel and sanctuary 1912

This church is mentioned in Fellowes Prynne’s notes as one he worked on, and one of his contractors, Messrs. Tanner and Co, listed Pilton as one of the places they worked at in Examples of Modern Architecture.  This firm specialised in marble, granite and mosaic fittings.

The North Devon Journal of 13 April 1911 reported on a meeting of the Church Council, where it was proposed

“That in the opinion of this council the time has arrived for the improvement of the existing arrangements in connection with the seating of the choir.” 

The existing seats had, it seems, been placed as a temporary expedient some 15 years earlier, and the speaker pointed out that, in comparison with adjoining churches

the need of a proper scheme for the purpose of a general improvement of the chancel.

It was decided eventually to take advantage of the fact that Mr. Fellowes Prynne was visiting the town and to ask him to draft a scheme that they could submit to the congregation.

The same newspaper reported, on 19 October 1911 that…

Mr. Fellowes Prynne had visited the Church with a view of preparing plans and estimate for the proposed restoration of the chancel, the provision of new clergy and choir stalls, removal of the pulpit to a better position, improved lighting system, &c. …  A general wish was expressed…that the pointing of the tower, which is much needed, should also be included in the scheme.

This proposal was to be put to the congregation, and subscriptions and other fundraising ideas were to be invited.

The North Devon Journal of 24 October 1912 – a full year later –  reported on a meeting at which Fellowes Prynne’s plans for the restoration of the chancel and sanctuary were discussed.  The meeting agreed to adopt the plans but –

…to request Mr. Prynne, if possible, to replace the old Jacobean communion table in its original situation, instead of one of 1846, now in use. 

The report also noted that the tower scheme was all but completed, and that an electric motor had been placed in the vestry to power the organ bellows.  All that they needed was a further £150 to complete the lighting scheme.

The undated postcards show the interior of this church before and after Fellowes Prynne’s work.  (Much is usually made of the unusual and historical hour glass feature attached to the pulpit – nothing to do with the restoration, but worth noting!)