St Mary Blessed Virgin, Plympton

Edmund H. Sedding appears to have been engaged to complete the refurbishment of the chancel, begun by his uncle John Dando Sedding with the installation of an ornate reredos in 1886 (Cherry & Pevsner, 2004).

Plymouth St Mary Plympton Choir Stalls
Plymouth St Mary Plympton Choir Stalls

Choir Stalls – Photograph (PWDRO 116/7, 244/3 & 244/5) E.H. Sedding architect; 1898

These beautifully designed and carved choir stalls are dedicated to Harriet Sophia, Countess of Morley, who died in 1897 and were given to the church in 1898 by her son. A faculty exists at DHC dated 1898 for alterations to chancel furnishings (PWDRO 2423/4).

Parclose Screens (2) – Photograph (PWDRO 116/7 & 244/3); 1907

In January 1907 it was announced that the two parclose screens to be erected in Plympton St Mary church in memory of the late Earl of Morley were to be carried out by ‘the Misses Rashleigh Pinwill, of Plymouth’ (Western Morning News, 1907a p. 6). The screens were completed by November and a further newspaper report stated that one of two ‘richly-carved oak parclose screens’ (Western Morning News, 1907b p. 8) was on view in Harris and Sons’ Galleries, George Street, Plymouth, for the next few days. The work had been carried out from designs by Edmund Sedding and a full description of the screen was provided. They were given in memory of Albert Edmund, 3rd Earl of Morley, who died in 1905, by his son Edmund Robert. Designs for the screens exist at DHC (1626B/P/167-168).

Altar Rails – Photograph (PWDRO 116/107); 1910

These highly ornate altar rails were also placed on display at Harris and Sons’ Galleries for the public to view (Western Morning News, 1910). They had been commissioned by the Earl of Morley as a memorial to his mother Margaret, Countess of Morley, who died in 1908. The report states that the altar rails were designed by Mr E. Sedding and that the preparatory models were made by Mr F. Shelley, art master of Plymouth Technical School. The carving was the work of ‘Rashleigh Pinwill, of Plymouth, whose interpretation of the characteristics of style in the design and refined workmanship are worthy of all praise’ (Ibid. p. 5).

Front Rails North Chapel – Photograph (PWDRO 244/3); after 1928

These memorial rails are dedicated to Charles William Hartley Luard of Priory Mount, Plympton, who died in 1928 aged 13 at Hawtreys School, Westgate-on-Sea, Kent (The National Archive, Probate 1928).


Cherry, B. & Pevsner, N. (2004) The Buildings of England. Devon. Yale University Press, London.

DHC 1626B/P/167-168 Plans. Plymouth St Mary Plympton. Parclose Screens.

PWDRO 116/7 Photographs. Plymouth St Mary Plympton. Parclose Screens and Choir Stalls.

PWDRO 116/107 Photographs. Plymouth St Mary Plympton. Altar Rails.

PWDRO 244/3 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/5 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 2423/4 Catalogue. Devon and Cornwall Faculty Petitions held at Devon Record Office I-Z.

The National Archive, Probate 1928 Wills and Administrations. Charles Law Biscoe. Calendar accessed at

Western Morning News (1907a) West of England News. 26 January p. 6.

Western Morning News (1907b) Memorial to the late Earl of Morley. 14 November p. 8.

Western Morning News (1910) Late Countess of Morley. Memorial Carvings for Plympton Church. 11 August p. 5.