OLD PLYMOUTH . UK
www.oldplymouth.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: July 03, 2017.
Webpage updated: July 03, 2017

        

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ANGLICAN CHURCH OF SAINT LUKE THE EVANGELIST

The Anglican Church of Saint Luke the Evangelist, formerly known as Charles' Chapel, was situated in Tavistock Place, off Tavistock Road, Plymouth, behind the Central Library.  It survives as an annex to the Central Library.

It had its origins in a desire to break away from the Anglican Church of Charles.  When the vicar of Charles, the Reverend Robert Hawker, died in 1827 it was assumed by the congregation that the Reverend Septimus Courtney, the curate, would be appointed to replace him.  However, this was not to be the case and as a result some members of the congregation organized a public meeting in July of that year at which it was decided that as Charles Church was insufficient to hold even a quarter of the potential congregation, then it was necessary to construct a Chapel-of-ease elsewhere in the parish.

The money was raised and on March 1st 1828 the foundation stone of Charles Chapel was laid.  Costing some 4,000 to build and designed by a Mr J H Ball, it was dedicated in 1830 by the Bishop of Exeter.  The Reverend Courtney became its first Vicar.  Described later by the Western Morning News as 'tasteless', the original Doric style stone building was an oblong shape with a gallery running around three sides of it.  There was a porch at the western end, with a turret containing one bell.

As the surrounding fields became covered with houses, it became necessary for a new parish to be created and thus on March 17th 1874* Charles Chapel became a parish church dedicated to Saint Luke.

Saint Luke's underwent some restoration and alteration over seven weeks in 1878.  A small chancel was added, along with a stained glass window of a plain but colourful design.  The large pulpit and reading desk were transposed and the Church was repainted throughout.  The exterior was washed and repointed.  During this work the vicar, the Reverend L Hawker, held the services in the schoolroom.  The work cost a total of about 490.  The builders' work was carried out by Messrs Palk and Partridge while Messrs Rundle and Prowse did the painting and the east window.  The Church reopened for worship on Thursday April 11th 1878.

Further restoration work was carried out in 1891. 

In 1913 a stone pulpit with a sounding-board was erected outside the Church in memory of the last incumbent of Charles Chapel, the Reverend Frederick Courtney, who distinguished himself as the Bishop of Nova Scotia.

Following the destruction of Charles Church in the Second World War, the parish was enlarged and re-styled Charles-with-Saint Luke.  Later, when Charles was not rebuilt, it was decided to amalgamate the parish of Charles with that of Saint Matthias on North Hill, which happened in March 1964 and Saint Luke's was then closed.

The Church has been used as a store by the Plymouth City and Devon County Library services since 1966, when it also housed the bindery.

At that time the Saint Luke's, Plymouth, Great War Memorial was removed to the Church of Saint Matthias on North Hill.  The Memorial reads: 'In Honoured, Grateful and Loving Memory of the Men of this Parish and Congregation who Gave their Lives in the Great War, 1914+1918.'

The Memorial records the following names: S C ASH; J BAGGE; J BERNARD; J W C BOWDEN; S BRICKWOOD; F BUTLER; S R CHISWELL; M S CORBY; J T ELSON; T EVANS; W E FICE; J FINNEMORE; H FRIEND; J HANNAFORD; R G HERBERT; A B HODGE; W G HOOPER; W HUGHES; F B HURRELL; A LANDRECOMBE; E C LANE; R H F LAVERS; F LUXTON; G R OSGOOD; T S PALMER; W PEARCE; W PENBERTHY; H PETRIE; E A ROBINS; E ROUTER; A SHEA; C F SOPER; F C TOOGOOD; and G W WARREN.

At the end of the list are the words: 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'

*  Kelly's directories quote March 20th 1874.