History of Holy Spirit Church

It is due to the generosity of “The Old Kellians” (old boys of Kelly College, Tavistock) that the Church of the Holy Spirit came into existence.

To provide for the “Spiritual wants of a large and congested population” which existed in the Parish of St James Devonport, the Old Boys of Kelly College agreed to finance the appointment of a Missioner to carry out this work based at St Chads, Morice Town. The Mission, supported by the the school and Old Kelleians, continued throughout the 2nd World War, despite the destruction caused by the blitz in 1941 which rendered the area almost uninhabitable.  However the Admiralty extension scheme of 1956 brought the Kelly Mission to an end when the site was compulsorily purchased and the sum of £25000 was received in compensation.

The money was used to endow a Church and hall for a population of 7000 people, largely from Devonport, in a new housing estate in Tamerton and thus the Church of the Holy Spirit was born.  The dual purpose building was constructed by Messrs A N Cole at a cost of £17500.

The building was dedicated on 4th June 1960 by the Bishop of Plymouth, Dr Norman Clarke.

In 1965 a strip of land to the east of the church was given to the City Council in a “Deed of Exchange” for an “L” shaped piece of land at the west end.  This was in order that the Council could provide a footpath in Flamborough Way.  The Vicarage, at 70 Inchkeith Road, was built in 1969 and further extended in 1980.

In 1983 the Parish Boundary was altered under the Pastoral Measure of 1968. This transferred the northern part of the Parish of Southway to the Parish of Bickleigh.

Until 1971 we were the daughter church of St Mary’s, Tamerton Foliot.  We became a Parish in our own right in the September of 1971.

In 1985 permission was obtained to sell a piece of land to the south of the church to the Tamar Housing Association in order that they could build flats for the elderly.  The money from the sale of this land, coupled with a generous grant from Plymouth City Council and serious fundraising by the congregation enabled the Hall to be built adjoining the church.  In addition many alterations were made to the church including the installation of the two stained glass windows.  One depicts the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit” and the other is “The Day of Pentecost”.  They were designed by Father Charles Norris of Buckfast Abbey in 1985.


Chapel of the Holy Spirit

A re-dedication service was conducted on 4th June 1985 by the Bishop of Plymouth the Rt Rev Kenneth Newing.  The new hall was officially opened on the same day by the then Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor John Mills.

The Church of the Holy Spirit was finally consecrated on 24th November 1989 by the Rt Rev Richard Hawkins, Bishop of Plymouth.

The Chapel along with a small altar, to match the main church altar, were consecrated on 11th June 2000 by the Rt Rev Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter.


This potted history was taken from  “A History of the Holy Spirit, Southway”, compiled by Iris Welland (nee Norman) with updates by Michael Bennett