The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History
CHURCH OF SAINT MARY, TAMERTON FOLIOT
The Ancient Parish Church of Saint Mary is situated in Tamerton Foliot Road, Tamerton Foliot, Plymouth.
The Ancient Parish Church of Saint Mary at Tamerton
There was certainly a church at Tamerton Foliot in 1291, as it is listed in the Taxation of Pope Nicholas IV, which was completed in that year. The only other churches in the area at that time were at Eggbuckland, Stoke Damerel and Plymouth Saint Andrew's.
The building is of stone, chiefly in the Perpendicular style, the greater part having been renewed since 1850. It consists of a quasi-chancel, nave, aisles, south porch, and an embattled western tower containing six bells and a clock.
A distant view of the Ancient Parish
Church of Saint Mary,
In 1895 the Church was restored, the north aisle being rebuilt and the roof renewed. At the same time a carved oak communion table and choir stalls were provided and an organ installed. With earlier registers having being destroyed by fire, the existing registers date from only 1794.
The Coplestone monument.
The peel of six bells contains a tenor bell of only 11 cwt. It is thought that four of them were originally cast as long ago as 1445 by Mr Robert Norton of Exeter but this it by no means certain. Nothing was done to them until 1773, when they were recast by Messrs John Pennington & Company and increased to a peel of six.
The bells were re-hung in 1878 it is thought by the village carpenter as none of the normal bell-founding firms have a record of doing it. They were again re-hung in 1936, this time on an H-pattern frame, the work being carried out by Messrs Gillett & Johnston of Croydon, who were also responsible for installing the clock in the Royal Naval Barracks.
Mr J Smith of Derby made the clock and Westminster chimes and this was dedicated on February 18th 1896.
On the evening of Friday September 18th 1981 a fire broke out in the roof of the Church. The Vicar, the Reverend Christopher Goodwins, along with Mr John Owen, who had raised the alarm, raced into the building to spray the altar area with fire extinguishers while the Churchwarden, Mr Derek Clarke, and other local residents rescued Bibles, hymn books and cassocks from the vestry and any other artefacts they could. 35 firemen from five fire stations attended the blaze, which lasted about three hours. The damage was limited to the roof, which was completely destroyed, and services were transferred to the Church hall. 
Saint Mary's Church re-opened with a Thanksgiving Service on Saturday September 18th 1982, which was attended by both the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Plymouth, Mr & Mrs Reg Scott, and the previous Lord Mayor, Mr Ralph Morrell. The Church was rededicated by the Bishop of Plymouth, the Right Reverend Kenneth Newing, in the presence of the Curate, the reverend Thomas Tremlett. The organist was Mr Anthony Shaw. 
The records of the parish are held at the Plymouth and West Devon Records Office, Clare Place, Coxside, Plymouth.
|© Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK|
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