St Fimbar

Fowey Chancel Screen
Part of the Chancel Screen at Fowey with some of the Sanctuary Panelling in the background

Chancel Screen – Photographs (116/50, 244/4 & 244/5); 1907

The chancel screen at Fowey was designed by Edmund H. Sedding (Western Morning News, 1921) and erected in 1907 as a thank offering to Canon H.N. Purcell, then celebrating 40 years as Vicar (Spreadbury, 1986). One photograph (PWDRO 116/50) shows the screen fully erected in the church but with only small pieces of the running ornament and the cresting in place, whereas in the other picture (PWDRO 244/4 & 244/5) it is complete. There is also a newspaper report about Purcell, the church and the screen, which states that at the time of the dedication only a portion of the cornice was carved (Hubert Minchinton Archive).

Memorial Benches – Newspaper article (Western Morning News, 1921); after 1918

Evidence for these four benches and two desks is in the obituary for Edmund Sedding. This states that they are ‘a beautiful design with heraldic details, in honour of three members of the Treffry family’ (Ibid. p. 8) who died in WWII. The design for the benches and desks exists at CRO (AD 889/13). The carving of the bench ends and particularly the pairs of angels holding shields are entirely in keeping with the work of Violet Pinwill, although no direct evidence exists that this is her work.

Reredos and Panelling – Faculty (CRO D/R 20/3) R.F. Wheatly architect; after 1945

The elaborately carved reredos and adjacent panelling were placed in the church as a memorial to Col. Edward Treffry of Place, Fowey, who died in January 1942. The petition for faculty was submitted in August 1942 but the intention was to delay installation until after the war ‘to enable the artist to proceed with the carving as pieces of suitable oak are obtained’, which reflects the shortages of materials during this period. The ‘artist’ in question was almost certainly Violet Pinwill, as the design and carving is very similar to other work, particularly that at Postbridge in Devon. The plans accompanying the Faculty, which may have established the carver for certain, are missing, probably passed on to the family. The work is comparable to that at Postbridge, completed during the previous decade, in portraying both native and exotic species of birds, insects, animals, amphibians and fish.

Sources

CRO AD 889/13 Plan. Fowey. Benches and Desks.

CRO D/R 20/3 Faculty Petition. Fowey. Memorial Reredos and Panelling.

Hubert Minchinton Archive held by Kitty Green and copied to author.

PWDRO 116/50 Photograph. Fowey. Screen.

PWDRO 244/4 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/5 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

Spreadbury, I. D. (1986) The Story of Fowey Church.

Western Morning News (1921) Mr. Edmund Sedding. Plymouth Architect’s Death in London. Work for Churches. 23 February p. 8.