St Leonard

A striking feature of Sheepstor church is the fine chancel screen. It is a reproduction of the original, based on sketches made by the Revd Sabine Baring-Gould, and completed by Herbert Read of Exeter in 1914.

Lectern – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); after 1902

A brass plaque on the wall of the church states that the lectern is a memorial to Rev. C.H. Crooke, Vicar of the Parish for 23 years, who died in 1902.

Sheepstor Bench End
Bench End at Sheepstor, possibly depicting the voyages of St Patrick

Bench Ends – Photographs (PWDRO 116/41, 116/113, 244/4, 244/5 & 244/6) Newspaper article (Western Morning News, 1939) V. Pinwill designer; 1914 to 1939

There are 27 carved bench ends in St Leonard’s and, according to a newspaper article, they were all made by V. Pinwill, although the photographs in PWDRO record only 19. Apart from one, the designs fall into two distinct categories: a more modern design, with subjects including scenes from the life of Christ, the death of St Morwenna, the signing of the Magna Carta and crusaders in battle (8) and more traditional, with symbols of the passion (18). Contrary to expectation, the former appear to have been made earlier than the others, since maquettes of at least six of them appear in a photograph of the workshop datable to 1917. The oak pews in the north aisle, together with the screen below, memorials to Eleanor Julia Bayly of Bideford, were made much later and dedicated by the Bishop of Plymouth in May 1939. At the same time the Bishop dedicated the centre block of pews, completed ‘some time ago’ (Ibid. p. 8). The bench ends at Sheepstor appear in a list of notable modern carving in Devon (Slader, 1968).

Vestry Screen – Newspaper article (Western Morning News, 1939); 1939

This screen, across the north transept, formed part of the memorial to Eleanor Julia Bayly of Bideford and was dedicated in May 1939 with the oak pews.


PWDRO 116/41 Photograph. Sheepstor. Bench End.

PWDRO 116/113 Photographs. Various. Bench Ends.

PWDRO 244/4 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/5 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/6 Photographs. Various. Woodcarvings.

Slader, J. M. (1968) The Churches of Devon. David & Charles, Newton Abbot.

Western Morning News (1939) Why People go to Church. Bishop Explains. Memorial Dedicated at Sheepstor. 1 May p. 8.