The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History
CHURCH OF SAINT GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL
The Anglican Church of Saint Gabriel the Archangel is in Hyde Park Road, Mutley, Plymouth.
The old parish of Pennycross took in all the land between what is now Central Park to the main Tavistock Road, down as far as Hyde Park. By the 1890s this southernmost part of the parish was becoming more developed and it was thought necessary to open what was called the "Mutley Mission" in a house on the corner of Mutley Plain and Ford Park Road. This would save the parishioners a long walk through Weston Park Road and Ham Lane to their parish church in Honicknowle Lane. 
On March 5th 1893 the congregation moved to the iron gymnasium at Plymouth College, which was converted into a church on Saturday evenings and back into a gymnasium after the Sunday School and services had been held. 
A permanent Church was one of seven planned for the suburbs of Plymouth as part of the Three Towns Church Extension Scheme.
Then in 1908 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were offered 15,000 feet of land adjoining Peverell Park Road by the Reverend Doctor John Trelawny Trelawny-Ross and his eldest son, the Reverend William Edwin Trelawny-Ross, descendents of the original owner of the land, Mr Robert Trelawny of Ham. The land was large enough for a church and church hall. He imposed two conditions: that the Bishop of Exeter and his successors should be the patrons of the future parish; and that all the seats in the church should forever be free and open, without money given or received. 
Large contributions towards the cost were given by Messrs Richard and Robert Bayly of Tor, Sir John Jackson of Pounds House, and Mr J Bright James. The services of Mr W D Caröe were engaged to design a building to accommodate 720 people and the Reverend J L Nightingale, MA., was appointed as curate-in-charge. 
Church of Saint Gabriel
The foundation stone was laid on May 22nd 1909 in due Masonic form, by the Provincial Grand Master of Devon, Mr G C Davie, JP. 
In 1910 the ecclesiastical parish of Saint Gabriel was formed from portions of Saint Pancras and Emmanuel and the Church was consecrated on Tuesday July 26th 1910 as a chapel of ease of Saint Pancras. At that time only four out of the five bays of the nave had been finished and the chancel was still to built. The cost had already reached £6,200 and a further £5,000 was required to complete it.
The Church is built of stone in the Perpendicular style and consists of nave, north and south aisles, and chancel. The chancel was completed in 1924. The altar rails date from 1627 and came from Saint Bartholomew's Church at Lostwithiel, Cornwall, being presented by Colonel Hext. There is a memorial window in the north transept to those who fell in the Great War. It was designed by Messrs Kempe & Company. The high altar table came from the old church on the island of Lundy and was presented by the Reverend. W Heaven.
In June 1915 the church hall was opened by the Headmaster of Plymouth College. The hall had originally stood in the playground of Hyde Park School and was used for recreation and refreshment purposes when the School was a hospital during the Great War. After the War Colonel and Mrs Mildmay, who had instigated the erection of the hut, gifted it to Saint Gabriel's and it was moved to the site alongside the Mutley side of the Church in May 1915. The hall was removed and replaced by social housing in 1997.
The Lady Chapel was constructed using stone from the old Church of Saint George at East Stonehouse, and was opened on June 11th 1955. It was dedicated by the Bishop of Exeter in July 1955.
Finally the bell turret and bell were dedicated by the Anglican Bishop of Plymouth, the Right Reverend Norman H Clarke, on the evening of Sunday February 19th 1956 and the construction of Saint Gabriel's Church was completed, 46 years after it had begun. The service was conducted by the vicar of Saint Gabriel's, the Reverend J W G Molland. The cost of the Lady Chapel, bell turret, bell and a new heating system for the Church was quoted as£7,000, of which £1,000 was still be be raised. 
The Reverend John Stark has been the vicar of Saint Gabriel's since 1979. 
|© Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK|
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