Church of England Diocese of Exeter Ermington

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 marked the 60th anniversary of the death of this remarkable woman. There is a renewed academic and artistic interest in her work. Please go to our website for more information.