Plymstock - St Margaret Mary

20 Radford Road, Plymstock, Devon

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A good functional design of the 1960s, the fruit of collaboration between Paul Pearn (the architect) and Dom Charles Norris (stained glass), who later worked together to more dramatic effect at Buckfast Abbey. 

Plymstock originally formed part of thePlymouthparish of Holy Cross.  Mass began in a private house in 1930 and then in 1932 a site inQuarry Park Roadwas purchased for a new church. This small building, opened in 1932, now forms the parish hall.  Plymstock became a parish in its own right in 1947, a presbytery was purchased in 1950 and in 1960 designs for a new and large church adjacent to the existing small building were commissioned from Paul Pearn of Walls & Pearn, with stained glass designs by Dom. Charles Norris (the two later collaborated on the design of the Blessed Sacrament chapel at Buckfast Abbey). The new building seated 250 people.  

Paul Pearn’s new church of 1960 was designed in a modern functional style. The building is a wide rectangle on plan with the baptistery and confessional at the west end flanking the main door.  The entrance fromQuarry Park Roadis approached by steps leading to a covered way which at its western end gives access to the church. The front wall is blind, apart from a central cross-window over the entrance.  The church has a concrete frame consisting of exposed reinforced concrete columns supporting a ring beam, which in turn supports cross-beams and slabs covered by a very shallow pitched roof. The columns are treated on the side walls as a peripteral order, behind which are screen walls of local rubble limestone with squared corner quoins and a strip-clerestory at the wall-head. The stone was apparently reused from the demolished Anglican church of St Mary Devonport.


The interior is a simple space with a west gallery and a sanctuary each occupying the full width of the building.  In the centre of the blind east end wall are three round-headed panels. Lighting the Sanctuary on the north side is a full-height rectangular stained glass window by Dom. Charles Norris of Buckfast Abbey.  This is said to be his first such window in the West Country using the 20th century French dalle de verre technique of thick glass set directly in concrete. Norris also designed the cross window in the west wall.  All the fittings including the altar and lectern are of grey industrial brick; the font and the timber nave benches appear to be original. 

Diocese: Plymouth

Architect: Paul Pearn of Walls and Pearn

Original Date: 1961

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed