St Probus & St Grace

Within Probus church are memorials to two of Violet Pinwill’s great grandparents. The window on the north side of the Lady Chapel is in memory of the Revd William Stackhouse of Trehane, who died in 1861. His mother was Mary Rashleigh, after whom Violet’s older sister was named. William’s wife, Sarah (died 1845), is memorialised in the font, on which are carved part of the Rashleigh coat of arms (Probus, undated).

Probus Tomb
One of the four figures on the Tomb at Probus

Tomb – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4 & 244/5); 1914

This enormous and unusual project consists of a tomb in Purbeck stone in memory of the Hawkins family and of Sir Christopher Hawkins (1758-1829) of Trewithen Manor near Probus. It features four semi-kneeling pall-bearers in Cavalier attire, three of whom hold on to the top slab with a gloved hand. There are four photographs taken from different angles, two in the studio and the others in Probus churchyard. The ones in the studio were taken prior to the slab being placed on top of the tomb, which was probably done when it was in place in the churchyard. Insertion was only possible by the slab being made in two sections and by the lack of a grasping hand on one corner. This clever design was by Edmund H. Sedding (Western Morning News, 1921), although his role is not acknowledged on the photographs. The tomb bears more than a passing resemblance, however, to one in Westminster Abbey to Francis De Vere (d. 1609) that also features a slab supported on the shoulders of four life-sized knights in armour who kneel at each corner. This monument, in turn, seems to have been inspired by that of Count Engelbert II of Nassau-Dillenburg in the church at Breda, Netherlands ( The tomb was showing serious signs of deterioration from weathering in November 2016, but in 2018 repairs were being undertaken that have improved the stonework considerably.


Probus (undated) Probus Parish Church Guide.

PWDRO 244/4 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/5 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

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