ofed, opened


  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: October 11, 2021
Webpage updated: October 11, 2021




The Ancient Parish Church of Saint Mary and All Saints is in Church Road at Plymstock, Plymouth.

The Ancient Parish Church of Saint Mary and All Saints
at Plymstock, Plymouth.
From a postcard.

Like most of the Ancient Parish Church in the Plymouth area, it was originally served by the monks from Plympton Priory.  Ironically the Manor of Plymstock was held by Tavistock Abbey.  This situation often led to arguments between the Abbot of Tavistock and the Prior of Plympton.  Mr Graham Naylor, a native of Plymstock who is very knowledgeable about church architecture in general, states on his highly recommended website, https://someolddevonchurches.wordpress.com, that the Church was originally un-dedicated but in 1352 it was expressly referred to as "All Saints' Chapel" and speculates that this might have been when the original timber-built structure was rebuilt or enlarged.  Perhaps this was when the church was rebuilt ion stone and the south aisle and south porch added the original nave and chancel.  During the fifteenth century the north aisle and the tower were added.

The Church of Saint Mary and All Saints is built in the Perpendicular style and consists of a chancel, nave, aisles, north and south porches, and an embattled tower with a clock and six bells.  The font dates from the Early Norman period.  There are two excellent granite arcades, of differing styles, and a handsome 15th century rood screen.  The pulpit is late 17th century, with contemporary stairs and sounding-board.

Mr Naylor also tells us that on October 7th 1547 King Edward VI granted the appointment of the clergy to Plymstock to the Dean and Canons of Windsor.

Originally the tower held five bells.  The second bell was cast in 1735 and the remaining ones in 1739.

Graham Naylor also revelas that the Churches full dedication to Saint Mary and All Saints only came into use from around 1742.

In around 1848 the then incumbent, the Reverend F F Cloke, added an large Elizabeth-style vicarage on land donated by the Duke of Bedford, who was by now the Lord of the Manor.

During 1866, under the incumbency of the Reverend T Coulthard, the Church underwent restoration work.  The bells were al re-hung and the sixth bell was added, the Church was re-roofed and a new vestry built.  Together with work outside to the burial ground and walls, the work cost some 2,500.  It was reopened with a service on a very wet Wednesday February 287th 1867.

Messrs Hele and Company, of Plymouth, installed a new organ in 1868.  The rood screen was restored in 1887, under the direction of Mr R Medley Fulford ARIBA, of Exeter.  The work was carried out by Mr Harry Hems, of Exeter, at a cost of 350.

A chapel-of-ease known as The Mission Chapel of the Good Shepherd, was erected in Marine Road, Oreston.

Further restoration work was carried out under the incumbency of the Reverend Arthur Saint Quentin Sproule between 1884 and 1895.

The Parish Room was erected 1902.

In the south chancel aisle, which was the private chapel of the Harris family, of Radford, are some good 17th and 18th century mural monuments of the family.

During the twentieth century the stained glass window in the tower has been removed to the north aisle and the organ has been removed to the tower archway.  Mr Naylor states that: 'The C20 undid a great amount of the nineteenth century beautification and this saw the removal of the reredos, tiles and other Victorian "improvements" in the chancel.'