Church of the Ascension, Crownhill, Plymouth
Called The Church of the Ascension because its hill top site was reminiscent of Christ’s ascension into heaven from a high place, the church was built in the late 1950s as the new church for a growing suburb. It replaced St. Christopher’s, which the congregation had outgrown, and the garrison church which had been pulled down.

Land for the new church was donated by Lord St. Levan, whose family own St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, and the building was funded by donations from a congregation determined to have a new church, topped up by money from the War Damage Commission as compensation for another church destroyed during World War Two.

The congregation of St. Christopher’s felt that their services would be enhanced by the provision of a silver processional cross, and they donated silver articles which were melted down by a Plymouth jeweller and cast to form the cross which is still in use today. The cross was carried in procession from St. Christopher’s to the site where the church was to be built and Princess Alexandra of Kent laid the foundation stone in May 1956. This was the first time the Princess had laid a foundation stone, and she asked to keep the silver trowel used, and revisited the church on the twenty-fifth anniversary of laying the foundation stone.

Work on the church did not go smoothly, however, with two building firms going out of business during the project, but such was the determination to complete the building that church warden Robert Lavers took over stewardship of the building work, employing direct labour and overseeing the work so that the church was finally completed and consecrated in December 1958.

The church isn’t all new. Ascension inherited pews from St. Catherine’s church in Lockyer Street, which was demolished when the city centre was being developed, and the organ from St. Mary the Virgin and St. Mary Magdalene at Cattedown, which was destroyed during the war, and one of the bells from Widey Court.