This display was prepared for the recent Secret Gardens event to exemplify how the Vicar of the time, Frederick Townshend Chamberlain, had worked tirelessly to restore the Church of St Peter & St Paul in Broadhempston.
If you have any further information on Frederick Townshend Chamberlain, or his family, please respond by leaving a comment.
Copies of several pencil drawings came to light recently which match carvings on pews in St Peter & St Paul church.
We don’t know who produced these or undertook the carving, but it is clear they had considerable artistic talent.
We do know a little more about when they were produced.
From 1935, journalist and educator Arthur Mee undertook a perambulation of the whole of England. From this survey, he wrote a number of books under the collective title ‘The Kings England’; this became a topographical and historical series in 42 volumes.
In the Devon volume, first published in 1938, there is a reference to these carvings in the section on Broadhempston.
“…when we called fine country scenes were being carved on the oak benches; among them scenes of a ploughman at work with birds hovering, a man sawing logs for his cottage fire, horses drinking, and apples on the way to the cider press…”
Only one of the carved bench ends remains in the church at the present time, however as you can see it beautifully illustrates the carver’s skill.
If you have any more information about these carvings, the original pencil drawings, or who undertook the work, then please submit a comment below.