Violet Pinwill

Violet Pinwill

Alongside Harry Hems and Herbert Reed, Violet Pinwill was a major force in woodcarving in Victorian Devon. Based in Ermington, and then Plymouth, she and her sisters, carried out work across Devon and also deep into Cornwall. Her success is all the more remarkable given the status of women in Victorian society, as well as the fact that she was located somewhat remotely away from the Diocese of Exeter, which is based in Exeter Cathedral.

St Peter & St Paul, Ermington is fortunate to have a body of Violet Pinwill’s work, stretching across the whole of her working life. Born in 1874, her first woodcarving in the church dates back to 1890 when she was just 17 years old. Her final piece of woodcarving in the church is the Second World War memorial plaque, after 1945, carved when she was 71 years old.

Violet Pinwill passed away in 1957 and so 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the death of this remarkable woman. There is a renewed academic and artistic interest in her work. To mark the occasion, a commemorative booklet detailing Violet Pinwill’s body of work within St Peter & St Paul, Ermington, has been produced by Devon based architect, Grant Elliott. The booklet includes colour illustrations of her woodcarving spanning a period of 55 years, from the late Victorian era to post WWII Britain.

Copies of the booklet are available for a donation to the church of £5.00. To obtain your copy, please forward a cheque made payable to 'Parochial Church Council of Ermington' together with details of your address to:

Grant Elliott, Rose Cottage, Westlake, Ermington, Ivybridge, Devon, PL21 9JT.

Grant will then send you a booklet in the post. All proceeds from the sale of the booklet will be used for the restoration of the war memorial clock on the church tower and for repairs to the church fabric.



Grant Elliott is an Associate Architect at Lacey Hickie & Caley Ltd. He is admitted on the RIBA Conservation Register and is registered with the Diocese of Exeter as an Inspector authorised to carry out Quinquennial Inspections. He is the author of the booklets Violet Pinwill, Woodcarver – A Guide to her woodcarving in St Peter & St Paul, Ermington Devon and The Battle of Loos – 25 September – 18 October 1915.