THE EAST WINDOW
To the Glory of God and in loving memory of George Hickson Feltrim Fagan MA. Vicar of this Parish 1889 – 1924.
The stained glass window was given by his parishioners and friends.
This is a ‘Jesse’ window and traces the ancestry of Jesus in pictures. The centre panel shows the Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child. There are three rows of lights; medieval glass has been incorporated into the middle panel, which produces enhanced colours in morning sunlight.
The Reverend George Fagan MA was born in 1852 and became Vicar of the Parish of Kingskerswell in 1889 where he remained for thirty five years. He died in office on 24 April 1924 and is buried in Kingskerswell Churchyard.
George Fagan, a bachelor, was devoted to his parishioners and they to him. At Christmas time he used personally to deliver the Poor Relief to the people of the parish. In his clerical dress of frock-coat, gaiters and a large brimmed hat he would arrive at the recipients’ homes in his pony and trap and off-load a sack of coal and whatever else made up the Poor Relief.
The window was made by Ward & Hughes of Frith Street, London and has recently been restored by Bob Tucker of Heritage Glass, Kingskerswell.
Our organ was built by George Hawkins of Newton Abbot and installed by Hele & Co of Plymouth, around 1890.
The decorated pipes on the north and west sides of the instrument are well worth a closer inspection. The instrument has had several upgrades, the last major one being carried out by George Osmond & Company in 1965.
The pedalboard is radiating and concave. The National Pipe Organ Register reference is N13007.
THE TOWER AND BELLS
The tower was built in the early 15th century and is about 60 feet high (18½ metres). It is constructed of locally obtained sandstone and the walls are about 5 feet thick (1½ metres) at the base. It has always been rendered and this was renewed in the 1990’s. The bells are now rung from the recently installed mezzanine gallery.
Above this is the old ringing chamber from which the bells used to be rung. This contains the clock mechanism installed in 1897 by public subscription to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The clock strikes the quarter hours on the 4th and 6th bells and the hour on the 8th (tenor) bell. The clock was converted to automatic winding and time keeping as part of the recent refurbishment of the tower and bells. There is just one clock face on the east wall of the tower. Unusually, there is a fireplace in the west wall, as this room was thought to be have been used as lodgings for a visiting chaplain.
Very little is known about the early history of bells at Kingskerswell. In 1301, it is recorded that there were 2 bells in existence, one for tolling for the dead and the other for observing the consecration of the mass. It is not known where they were situated as the present tower had not been built. Four bells were recorded in the 1553 inventory.
A ring of 5 bells was installed in 1815. They were cast by John Pennington IV, of Stoke Climsland in Cornwall. In 1887, the tenor (heaviest) bell was recast by Mears and Stainbanks in London, and the whole ring rehung in a new frame. Later in the year a 6th bell was added and hung in an additional frame added in the north sound opening reveal. The bells were rehung in 1937, when the 5th bell was recast by Mears and Stainbanks and the others retuned.
In 2019 a major refurbishment of the tower was carried out. A new mezzanine ringers’ gallery was installed and below this a new screen was constructed and a new kitchen installed. The new gallery gave the ringers so much more space compared with the old cramped ringing chamber above. It also meant that it was possible to augment to bells to a ring of 8.
The old bell installation had reached the end of its useful life, and the bells have now been transformed with a complete restoration. A new metal frame for 8 bells together with supporting beams were installed and the bells were retuned and rehung with all new fittings and augmented to 8 with the addition of 2 new bells. The 5th bell (the old 3rd) was found to be cracked and after it had been welded was found to be un-tuneable. It therefore had to be recast. The restoration was carried out by Nicholson Engineering Ltd of Bridport, and the 3 bells cast/recast by Eijsbouts in the Netherlands. The restoration was completed at the end of November 2019 and rededicated by the bishop of Plymouth on the 1st December. We now have a fine light ring of 8 to be proud of.
photograph by www.peterprior.com
Our churchyard is maintained by the Parochial Church Council for the residents of Kingskerswell either to bury their dead or to inter cremated remains. Because a churchyard, unlike a cemetery, is for the living as well as the dead, we take pride in keeping ours as a place which others want to visit for peaceful re-creation as well as tending the graves
The original churchyard was extended in the last century in a southward direction towards Kerswell Downs by a gift of land from the then Squire of Kingskerswell.
The burial ground to the north of the Parish Church was given in the 1940’s by Mr Thomas Brown, the present Squire of Kingskerswell. It was extended in 1991 when the Parochial Church Council purchased a further parcel of land which included the ruins of a Pound House, once part of the mediaeval Manor House complex of buildings. The ruins were stabilised using donations given by parishioners and a grant from Devon County Council. The work was completed in 1993 and there is now an on-going programme of maintenance work on the walls as funds become available. As part of the heritage of Kingskerswell the Pound House is maintained by the Parochial Church Council and is used for quiet meditation and relaxation, for social events and for wedding photographs.
VIEW UP TO THE POUND HOUSE RUINS
In 2008 further ground was gifted to the Parish by Mr. Brown for use when required as a burial ground. Some of this land is close to the stream and therefore unsuitable for burials. It has been leased to St Mary’s Allotment Society. The upper part was consecrated on 16th April 2018 by the Bishop of Plymouth in a service attended by many.
Kingskerswell Churchyard Maintenance Fund
This special fund is for the regular maintenance of the churchyard and the provision, when necessary, of further land for burial. It is hoped that the annual income of the fund will exceed the annual expenditure so that capital will be built up for future possible major works on the boundary fences, paths and drainage. Relatives and friends of those buried in the churchyard are invited to make a regular contribution to the Maintenance Fund to enable us to ensure that the churchyard continues to be a fitting memorial to past generations and a source of pride to the present generation of Kingskerswell residents.
Further information may be obtained from the Church Office.
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