The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History
It has already been mentioned on the Ancient Parish Churches webpage that at the time of the foundation of the Church of England in the 16th century there were still several private chapels, or chapels-of-ease, within the ancient parish of Saint Andrew's. They were:
These, in addition to the Ancient Parish Churches already dealt with, had seen occasional services conducted in Latin under the Roman Catholic faith. From the 16th century onward they were rebuilt as Anglican buildings, often becoming a parish church in their own right and they are dealt with more fully in this section.
The first of the new Anglican Churches to be consecrated, in 1665, was Charles' Church. This was followed soon afterwards by a new Chapel of Saint Katherine-upon-the Hoe, built when the Royal Citadel was constructed around the site of the former 14th century Chapel of that name.
18th Century Churches
In around 1700 the first Royal Dockyard Chapel was erected just inside the Dockyard Gate at what was then Plymouth Dock. The area around the Dockyard grew rapidly and in 1771 the Chapel of Saint Aubyn was opened as a private chapel-of-ease to Stoke Damerel Parish Church.
Not long after, in 1789, the dilapidated chapel of Saint Lawrence at East Stonehouse was rebuilt and acquired a new dedication, to Saint George.
19th Century Churches
Out at Pennycross, otherwise known as the Tything of Weston Peverel, the former private chapel of Saint Pancras was rebuilt and re-opened to a wider congregation in 1821, although still as a chapel-of-ease to Saint Andrew's.
Even after the creation of the new parish of Charles, the attendances at the two Plymouth parish churches quickly outgrew their capacity and new chapels-of-ease were being called for. The first to be completed in 1823 was known as Saint Andrew's Chapel but later became the Church of Saint Catharine.
In 1828 the foundation stone was laid of the Eldad Chapel, which was erected especially by the supporters of the Reverend John Hawker, formerly curate of Stoke Damerel. The Chapel was never consecrated.
Naturally, the parish of Charles had to also have a chapel-of-ease and that was what in due course became the Church of Saint Luke, opened in 1830. Likewise, Saint George's at East Stonehouse gained a chapel-of-ease, the Church of Saint Paul, in Durnford Street, opened in 1831.
During the 1840s four new Anglican churches appeared: Holy Trinity in 1842; Saint Michael, Devonport, 1845; Christ Church, 1846; and Eldad Chapel was converted into the Church of Saint Peter the Apostle in 1847.
Devonport gained four new churches during the 1850s: Saint Paul and Saint James the Great in 1851; Saint Mary, 1852; and Saint Stephen, 1858; while Plymouth gained only one, Saint John the Evangelist (also referred to as Saint John, Sutton-on-Plym), and Plymstock also saw the opening of the Saint John the Evangelist at Hooe, both in 1855. The Church of the Good Shepherd at Oreston was opened in 1859 but was not dedicated at that time.
The 1860s brought only two new Anglican churches, one at Devonport, the Garrison Church of Saint Michael and Saint George, and Saint James the Less in Plymouth. This was surpassed in the 1870s when Emmanuel Church, the Church of Saint Saviour, the Church of All Saints, the Church of Saint Matthew, the Church of Saint Jude and the Church of Saint Mark were all consecrated.
In 1885 the private chapel of Saint Aubyn was made into a parish church, to be followed two years later by Saint John the Baptist, both in Devonport. In 1886 the Church of the Good Shepherd at Oreston was dedicated and in 1889 another Chapel of the Good Shepherd was opened within the grounds of the Royal Naval Hospital at East Stonehouse. Only three new churches were consecrated during that decade: Saint Bartholomew; Saint Barnabas; and Saint Matthias.
Not much happened during the last decade of the 19th century. Only two new churches were opened, Saint Michael's at West Hoe, and The Garrison Church of Saint Alban at Plumer Barracks, Crownhill, but the old private chapel of Saint Pancras, at Pennycross, now became a parish church.
The most significant event of that time was the formation in March 1897 of the Three Towns' Church Extension Society.
The Three Towns' Church Extension Society
From its inaugural meeting on March 23rd 1897 onwards the Three Towns' Church Extension Society worked hard to secure suitable sites and obtain tenders for the erection of new places to worship, although it was to be many years before all of the churches were consecrated or became proper parish churches.
Thus in 1901 a temporary buildings were erected for the Church of Saint Boniface at Saint Budeaux and yet another Church of the Good Shepherd, later to be the Church of Saint Thomas, at Keyham. These were followed in 1905 by the Church of Saint Augustine and in 1907 by Saint Simon's.
There was a rather troublesome consecration ceremony for the opening of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint Mary Magdalene at Cattedown in 1912. The permanent building for the Church of Saint Boniface was dedicated in May 1913, to be followed by the Church of Saint Philip in October and the Church of Saint Clement, in Keyham Barton, in the November of 1913.
The last of the Society's Anglican churches was the Church of Saint Thomas, in Royal Navy Avenue, which was finally dedicated in 1929.
Other 20th Century Churches
A temporary Church of Saint Anne was erected at North Prospect but is was never made permanent. In July 1931 the Church of Saint Paul in East Stonehouse was opened. The last development before the Second World War started in 1939 was the opening of the Church of Saint Christopher at Crownhill.
The Post-War Anglican Churches
Once the Second World War ended in 1945 the only way to accommodate the
people displaced by the destruction of their homes was to create new housing
estates to the north of the City and to expand into Plympton and
to the east. This required the creation of new churches and parishes.
First was the Church of Saint Paul at Efford in 1952 followed by the
of Saint Aidan at Ernesettle in 1953-54. On the Whitleigh Estate the
Church of Saint Chad was opened in 1956 and at Honicknowle the
Saint Francis was consecrated. The
Church of the Ascension at Manadon
followed in 1958 and the Church of the Holy Spirit at Southway was opened in
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