Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: August 18, 2019
Webpage updated: August 19, 2019

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When the original Anglican Church of Saint James the Less in Clarendon Place, Citadel Road, Plymouth, was destroyed during the Plymouth Blitz, it was decided to use the money received from the war damage compensation to erect a church on the new Council estate at Ham, partly as a replacement for the temporary Anglican Church of Saint Anne, at North Prospect.

The work started in September 1957 and the foundation stone was laid in March 1958 by the Reverend William Edwin Trelawny Trelawny-Ross (1883-1962), the last owner of Ham House.

This new rectangular building of a steel frame faced with red brick was designed by Messrs Evans and Sloggett.  It had Georgian-style, mustard-coloured window frames, a heated floor and a striking roof of pure white arches between blue acoustic tiles.  It even boasted a bell turret.

The new Saint James the Less was opened in 1958 and consecrated by the Bishop of Exeter, Doctor R C Mortimer, on Saturday February 28th 1959 in the presence of the Bishop of Plymouth, Doctor Norman H Clarke, and the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, Alderman and Mrs G J Wingett.  The Reverend G Sunderland became its first vicar. 

The interior of the new Church of St James the Less at Ham, Plymouth

The interior of the new Church of Saint James the Less.

At the rear of the Church is an altar dedicated to Saint Stephen, upon which is fixed: 'This chapel has been furnished as a memorial to St Stephen's Church, Devonport (1858-1941), destroyed by enemy action.   The war damage payment for the ruins of the building provided most of the money to erect this Church.  The statue of St Stephen is a replica of the one which formed part of the screen of the old Church.  Together with the altar cross, it was carved from the wood of the figure on the crucifix erected outside the Church in memory of the fallen of the Parish (1914-18), which was later removed and almost destroyed by enemy action.  The furnishings of the chapel are a gift of former members of the congregation of St Stephen's, Devonport.'

The east window was designed by Sir Ninian Comper.