The Devon Historian Volume 83, 2014

Since Volume 82, we have been publishing full abstracts of our journal articles.

The Devon Historian, Volume 83, 2014


Medieval Devon Roodscreens from the Fourteenth Century to the Present Day
Devon retains many of its medieval roodscreens. This article considers their history from c.1300 and reflects upon their original function, their liturgical significance, the importance of the painted saints upon their dados and how local demands might have influenced their presence, and the reasons for both the screens’ destruction and survival. Little attention has been given to the fortunes of Devon screens after the Reformation; the present article attempts to fill that gap, and ends with an optimistic note concerning their future.

Coping with Tribulation in the Late Middle Ages: A Sequence of Prayers in a Medical Compendium in Exeter Cathedral Library
A medical compendium now housed in Exeter Cathedral Library includes a sequence of French and Latin prayers, with instructions for their recitation. The texts are printed and translated in an appendix to this article. Individually, they occur also in several late medieval collections of prayers and books of hours. They seem to have been widely used in times of need by people in religious orders as well as by the laity, by women as well as men, in gentry and merchant circles.

Evidence for eighteenth-century rebuilding at Poltimore House: Interpreting Edmund Prideaux’s Drawings of 1716 and 1727
This article provides a detailed examination of evidence of the major rebuilding which took place at the Bampfylde family’s Poltimore House between 1726-8. Detailed analysis of Edmund Prideaux’s three drawings of Poltimore provides visual evidence of the changes made to the building and its grounds between 1716 and 1727. A re-examination of evidence from the surviving early fabric, together with newly-discovered documents of a court case in which John Moyle, the builder, describes all that he has completed, reveals new understandings both of the original Tudor manor and the updated Georgian mansion it became. Taken together, this evidence provides a new reading of the early building history of Poltimore House.

Charles Lanyon, Merchant of Penzance: Victim of Cruelty and Corruption in the County Debtor’s Prison in Exeter
In 1726 Charles Lanyon was incarcerated in the Sheriff’s Ward at St Thomas, the County prison for Debtors. The circumstances of his imprisonment are not known, but the conditions he endured for the two and a half years he spent there are shown through a series of letters he wrote to Andrew Brice, the owner and publisher of Brice’s Weekly Journal. His account gives a vivid and disturbing picture of how educated men, not perpetrators of any crime, were thrown into prison at the whim of a creditor, and the indignities and mis-treatment that they suffered as a result.

Napoleon in Plymouth Sound
The arrival of the defeated Napoleon Bonaparte on board the Bellerophon in Plymouth Sound in 1815 was a notable event in Plymouth’s History. This article summarises the events of the two week period using local reports, memoirs, and diary extracts.

Early Victorian Farming on the Culm: Using the Tithe Survey to Examine Patterns of Land-Holding and Tenure
The Culm Country of Devon is often overlooked and has been frequently regarded as a problem area. The paper uses the Tithe Survey of c 1837-1841 to examine patterns of land-holding and land-tenure in a sample of parishes across the Culm Measures in northern Devon.

The Bideford Rope-Maker’s Posts
This article examines a significant dispute in Bideford in the 1880s over the perceived rights of the town’s old established rope making industry when the local council became involved and which led to changes both within the council and also in the rope making industry.