St Mary’s Sticklepath – the window memorials

St Mary’s Church Sticklepath, Okehampton, Devon.

The village is to be congratulated on recent renovations creating an open space inside the church and developments pending of an interactive heritage display. The Roll of Honour is transcribed elsewhere on this website. This page largely concerns the memorial windows. Photos below taken September 2021.

The Altar and three windows depicting the crucifixion at the East end.

An exterior view of this end of the church can be found here

The inscription at the bottom of the three windows reads across left to right: To the Glory of God and in loving memory of George Henry Jackson who died 25th March 1885 aged 72 years and of his wife Mary Isabel who died 4th November 1897 aged 79 years. Jesu Mercy.

There is a small octagonal font, moved during 2021 from the West end towards the altar. Above the new site hangs a picture of St Jeremy or St Jerome which is said to have been retrieved from “The Staplers” house during renovations in 1951 when the boards of a partition were removed, the painting was on the back. There is also a small stone figure believed to be of Mary which is sadly headless and may have come from the original chantry chapel.

The West Window

The west window was erected in 1913 by John Cook, depicting the baptism of Jesus. The inscription reads “To the Glory of God and in loving memory of John Cook who died Decr 2nd 1852 aged 46 years. Also of Mary his wife who died June 21 1882 aged 82 years. This window was erected by their only son John Cook 1913”. They are all buried in the (ecumenical) Quaker Burying Ground.

The Cooks were butchers and farmers. I think they lived in Tudor Cottage in Sticklepath and at some point this was a butcher’s shop. At another point I think they lived in Sunnyside. The marriage license for John Cook, butcher of Sticklepath and Mary Wills also of Sticklepath (dated 2 Aug 1836) is in South West Heritage Trust, Exeter archive. They were married in Sampford Courtenay church 17 October 1836, witnesses Agness Cook and Elizabeth Brooks Wills. The son, born 1840, who erected the window was a school governor (‘chairman of managers’) and gave children 1 shilling if they didn’t miss a day of school during the whole year. Charles Bowden achieved this. His (later) wife Muriel Finch spoke bitterly in 1989, aged 85y, of the fact she never did, as she was ‘a chesty little thing’ so had to miss school sometimes!

Further research is needed into the people memorialised by the windows. The newspaper obituary for Miss E A Seward who was a cousin of the younger John Cook and his housekeeper says she erected the memorial window. Perhaps between them!

NEW: From the middle of 2021 St Mary’s Sticklepath is a stop on the new Archangel Way. Visitors doing the pilgrimage walk are asked to stamp the special visitors book and their card as they visit each church on the route.