St Mary the Virgin

Kelly Panelling
Detail of the Panelling at Kelly

Sanctuary Panelling and Riddel Posts (2) – Plans (CRO AD889/50) V. Pinwill, designer; 1932

Kelly is in the list provided by Chaytor (1990) of churches in which Pinwill work may be found, but a visit there in 2013 did not provide any conclusive evidence for what that might be. However, an interesting set of drawings for Kelly were discovered at CRO among plans related to the work of the architect R.F. Wheatly of Truro. These show a range of options for the refurbishment of the sanctuary. The most precise of these drawings is attributed to V. Pinwill, Carver, Plymouth, though it is definitely not in her hand. The options appear to be either a carved wooden reredos or curtains behind the altar, panelling around the sanctuary walls, wooden altar rails with characteristic semi-kneeling angel supports, floor-standing candleholders, and riddel posts topped with angels ringing hand bells. A small piece of tracing paper shows a sketch of the sanctuary at nearby Bradstone church, with the annotation ‘Reredos & Panelling already in position Kelly to be something like it’ written in the hand of Violet Pinwill.

The sanctuary in Kelly church today has none of the items from the drawings, apart from the panelling. This is in exactly the same style as prescribed in the drawings, with the smallest panels along the top carved with various motifs coloured and gilded. This attractive panelling is almost certainly the work of V. Pinwill. It is in memory of Revd Maitland Kelly who died in June 1929 and was the gift of relatives, parishioners, the Devonshire Guild of Ringers (of which he was a prominent member) and friends (Western Times, 1932). The motifs include acorn scrolls, the Guild device, golden bells and pomegranates. The memorial included two riddel posts, presumably those designed by V. Pinwill (with or without angels ringing hand bells) but these appear to have been removed since. The memorial was completed and a dedication service held in May 1932. It is rather a pity, however, that more of the items on offer in the Pinwill drawings were not taken up for the memorial.


Chaytor, E. (1990) Ermington Days. Melinga Publishing, North Cheam.

CRO AD889/50 Plans. Kelly. Designs for Sanctuary.

Western Times (1932) Belfry Topics. 3 June p.3.