The New Church of England Parishes
Parish of St John the Evangelist
Although not the first parish formed, it takes its’ place as number one because of the date of the Torquay Chapel which preceded it. The foundation stone of the Endowed Chapel of Torquay ( to give it the correct title) was laid in 1822 (Although according to White it was 1815) and can be seen in the photo on the left.
The next photo shows the Chapel with new chancel of the new St Johns Church attached to the right hand side. This chancel was built in 1863. The Parish of St John’s came into being in 1861, so therefore the original chapel was the parish church for a few years, it was also the smallest of the new Torquay Parishes and included the whole of the Inner harbour within its boundaries. Work progressed on building the new church to a design by George Edmund Street, in such a way that even though extensive quarrying was necessary behind the old chapel no services were lost or interrupted-
The new church was simply built around and over the chapel and eventually the old chapel was demolished inside the new church. The tower was not completed until 1885.
St John’s Church is unique in having a full immersion font, This is sunk 3 feet 9 inches below the floor level and is reached by four steps This font is cut from a single block of marble.
Interior of St John’s church
This is the church which dominates views of the harbourside. In 1951 an illuminated cross was fixed to the tower on the side facing the sea, this was paid for by the widow of Cyril Maude in memory of her husband, who was a highly regarded actor/ theatre manager before the first world war.
The Parish also had a Choir boys day school which started in 1871, and a Choir Boarding school which opened in 1881 and closed in 1889
There were several MISSION CHURCHES within the Parish:-
St Mary’s Chapel in Braddons Street which opened in 1872, and its associated day school which opened in 1883 and closed in 1918. The chapel was presented with a reredos in 1901. The Chapel was closed in November of 1921 but re-opened in November 1924
St Peters in Brixham in 1874 (not within the parish)
Swan Street Mission Room opened in 1874 but was upgraded to a chapel in 1882 and given the name St Stephens. It closed in 1894.
In 1924 the number of buildings owned by the church was 6, they were:-
The Parish Church
St Mary’s Mission Chapel
St Johns House, adjoining the church and the residence of the assistant curates and organists.
St Johns School, formerly the choir school
St Mary’s School
The Rawson Institute-originally a Working Mens Club opened in 1894 and converted to a Parish Institute in 1905
The two schools and St Johns house were administered by trustees and The Rawson Institute by a small committee
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