©  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 14, 2016.
Webpage updated: March 23, 2017

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The Roman Catholic Church of Saint Michael and Saint Joseph was situated in James Street, at Mutton Cove. It no longer exists but has been replaced by the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Joseph in Raglan Road.

The Roman Catholic Church of Saint Michael and Saint Joseph
and the adjacent Schools.
From Ordnance Survey sheet CXXIII.11 dated 1914.

Apparently the parish dates back to the Autumn of 1793.   A Franciscan priest by the name of Father Flynn celebrated the first Mass in Stoke Damerel since the Reformation in a stable loft hired from the landlord of the George Inn in Fore Street.  In 1803 a French priest by the name of Abbé Jean Louis Guilbert, took over the parish and on December 20th 1807 he celebrated Mass in the Chapel of Saint Mary and Saint John, which, in 1838, became the Plymouth Cathedral.

But the Roman Catholic Bishop of Plymouth, Bishop Vaughan, wanted to build a church for the Catholics in Devonport and for the sailors who were regularly in port.  To do this he applied to the Secretary of State for War, Lord Panmure, for a site. The strength of numbers averaging at least eight hundred of the faithful worshipping aboard the Roman Catholic hulk chapel of "HMS Hotspur" moored in the Hamoaze, swung the argument and "Princes Gardens" at Mutton Cove was offered.  This formed part of the Government Laboratory, at Mount Wise.

Schools were built on the south side of the site.  By September 24th 1859 the Bishop was able to build the nave and south aisle for a church.  This became the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Michael and Saint Joseph and its foundation stone was laid on June 25th 1860.  The building work, done by Mr Roberts, the builder of the Cathedral, was completed in 1861.  The opening celebration led by the Right Reverend Doctor Vaughan took place on Thursday December 19th 1861.

It was built of limestone in the Early Gothic style and the architect was Mr J A Hansom, of Clifton, Bristol.

The chancel, north aisle and Lady Chapel were added in 1884 and were designed by Mr H A K Gribble.  There was a small turret in the south-west corner.

Following the Second World War, when most of the housing around the Church was destroyed, it was decided that it was necessary to move the Church and schools to a more convenient area.  First to move was the Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Primary School in 1972.

On May 15th 1984 the old Church was sold and then demolished, to be replaced in Raglan Road by the Church of Saint Joseph.