St Andrew with St Luke, Stoke Damerel

Plymouth St Andrew with St Luke War Memorial
War Memorial at St Andrew with St Luke in Plymouth

Choir Stall Ends (2) and Desk Ends (2) – Photograph (PWDRO 116/19 & 244/2); after 1925

There are two sets of choir stalls in St Andrew’s church of different design and makers. The outer ones were donated in 1939 in memory of Preb. S.G. Ponsonbury, former Rector of Stoke Damerel, and were made by Messrs Wippell of Exeter (Western Morning News, 1939). The stall and desk ends of the inner set on the south side are illustrated in the Pinwill photographs at PWDRO. The corresponding seat and desk ends on the north side are almost identical in design but bear no inscriptions. The stalls and desks themselves do not appear to be Pinwill, being rather plain and of a different type of wood. The Pinwill stall and desk ends are in memory of John Henry Collier Coode, Colonel Black Watch (died 1899 Boer War), Frederick Trevenen Coode, Indian Police (died 1918 India), and Montgomery Penrose Coode, India Public Works Department (died 1925 Penlee Gardens, Devonport), all sons of John Penrose Coode and Emily Sarah Collier, who married at Stoke Damerel church in 1852.

Litany Desk – Photograph (PWDRO 116/19); 1950

The beautiful carving on one side of this litany desk is of St Andrew holding in his right hand the saltire cross with which he is most commonly associated. In his left hand are two fish that probably represent Andrew’s part in the feeding of the five thousand. It is inscribed with the words ‘The Gift of Humphrey Woollcombe May 1950’ and so represents an important late piece of work by V. Pinwill, as do the items below.

Side Chapel Altar Rails – Parish Magazine (Stoke Damerel, 1954); between 1948 and 1954

The Rector’s Letter in the Parish Magazine for October 1954, found by Tony Barnard, records that ‘Miss V. Pinwell (sic)… in the last six years… carved our Litany Desk, Side Chapel Communion rail and War Memorial’. The litany desk is the one listed above, but the other items are not recorded elsewhere. An altar rail that remained in the church after reordering bears a memorial plaque to Edna Luther who died in 1949 and therefore must be the one to which the letter refers. As there is no longer a side chapel, the carved elements of the altar rail, together with the memorial plaque, have been used to create a new Rectors Board in a similar style to the existing one, in consultation with the author.

War Memorial(s) – Parish Magazine (Stoke Damerel, 1954); between 1948 and 1954

The WWII memorial mentioned in the Rector’s Letter in the Parish Magazine for October 1954 is situated on the west wall. The memorial for the Great War is almost identical in design and it is entirely feasible that this was also carried out by V. Pinwill.

Rector’s Board – Parish Magazine (Stoke Damerel, 1954); 1954

The reason for the Rector mentioning the items above in the Parish Magazine was that he had earlier that month unveiled and dedicated a board listing all the Rectors from 1310 to the present, the work being carried out by ‘Miss V. Pinwell (sic), whose craftsmanship has already beautified our Church…’. The Rector’s Board is of a similar design to the adjacent war memorials.


PWDRO 116/19 Photographs. Plymouth St Andrew with St Luke. Memorials and Litany Desk.

Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

Stoke Damerel (1954) The Church in Stoke Damerel (Parish Magazine, October 1954, Rector’s Letter)

Western Morning News (1939) New Choir Stalls. Bishop of Crediton in Devonport Ceremony. April p. 6.