St Mary the Virgin

Botus Fleming
Reredos for Botus Fleming (PWDRO 244/5 with permission of Pinwill family)

Reredos – Photograph (PWDRO 244/3, 244/4, 244/5 & 244/6); 1900

This elaborate reredos is an important piece of work and is shown in the (repeated) photograph before installation, with a card on which is written ‘Pinwill Carvers’. Either side are empty niches, later filled by two carved figures of angels that are probably Pinwill work, one holding a scythe and the other a cross and trumpet. In the centre is a gilded cross bearing the symbols of the four evangelists. Above sits some fine open work composed of vines, while the base houses an inscription in perforated lettering. This states that the reredos was given by the tenantry and parishioners in memory of General Sir William Penn Symons KCB, who died in the Boer War in 1899. The reredos was dedicated in April 1900 by the Archdeacon of Bodmin and a newspaper report of the event states that the memorial ‘is executed in a manner which reflects immense credit upon its designer and maker, Miss Pinwell [sic], of Plymouth’ (Royal Cornwall Gazette, 1900 p. 7). Added in the centre, after the dedication, is a painted panel of the risen Christ appearing to the two Marys, given by the brothers of the deceased. Unfortunately, the guide (Botus Fleming, undated) states that the work was carved by ‘Messrs Pinwell and Rashleigh’, and, interestingly, the Church Times (1900) attributes the reredos to Miss M. Rashleigh Pinwill. These reports, together with the card in the photograph, record an interesting transitional period in the history of the company. A photograph of the reredos was placed on display in an exhibition in June 1900 of wood carving, ancient and modern, at the Royal Hotel, Plymouth (Western Morning News, 1900).


Botus Fleming (undated) Unpublished guide within church.

Church Times (1900) The Late General Symons. 12 April p. 425.

PWDRO 244/3 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/4 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/5 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/6 Photographs. Various. Woodcarvings.

Royal Cornwall Gazette (1900) The Late General Symons. Memorial Dedication at Botusfleming. 12 April p. 7.

Western Morning News (1900) Wood-Carving at Plymouth. 6 June p. 4.