Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 27, 2021
Webpage updated: February 27, 2021




The Church of The Ascension is located at The Lawns, just off Tavistock Road at Crownhill, Plymouth.  It is considered by Pevsner (see his "Buildings of Devon") as one of the most interesting of the modern local churches.  It is regarded as the parish church of Crownhill.

Originally the congregation had met at Trinity Chapel in Budshead Road but as Crownhill grew after the Second World War so it became necessary to have a bigger place of worship.   At first the congregation moved to the former church hall in Crownhill Road, which became Saint Christopher's but later it amalgamated with the Plumer Barracks' Garrison Church of Saint Alban.

The new Church was designed by Messrs Potter and Hare and and Her Royal Highness the Princess Alexandra laid the foundation stone on Friday May 25th 1956, in the presence of Lady Astor; Mr W J Oats, the newly elected Lord Mayor of Plymouth; and the Right Reverend Norman H Clarke, the Bishop of Plymouth.  The priest-in-charge of Crownhill was the Reverend Eric Turnbull.

However, the construction was beset with problems.  The first contractor went into liquidation, quickly followed by the second one in the summer of 1957.  The Parish Council got around this problem by directly employing the sub-contractor and his men.  It was paid for largely by War Damage settlements from the old Saint George's Church at East Stonehouse.

However, the work was eventually completed and the Church was dedicated on  December 6th 1958.

It inherited the old pews from the Anglican Church of Saint Catharine of Alexandria in Lockyer Street, the old organ from the Anglican Church of Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint Mary Magdalene at Cattedown and a bell from Widey Court.

The Church of The Ascension has a unique altar, which is set further inside the building than is normal.  Behind it is a splendid granite wall with lights of amber, blue, green and red glass.  It was designed by Mr Geoffrey Clarke.  Slender granite pillars support the maroon-painted reinforced concrete roof.