Church of the Ascension

Real effort was put into making Ascension a stunning contemporary architectural achievement.

About this church

The innovative design was by distinguished architects Potter and Hare, who had already worked on Chichester Cathedral, and restored many churches and several Oxford colleges. Interior features were commissioned from the eminent artists of the day, including Sir Jacob Epstein, who sadly died before his designs were completed.

The building makes extensive use of local stone, including the imposing unplastered east wall of Buckfastleigh limestone, as well as modern materials including concrete (for the slender pillars and ceiling) and Portland stone for the altar and font. It’s a building full of light and soaring open space, thanks to vast west windows and slender tapered columns, but is also a building full of colour, with a rich maroon reinforced concrete vaulted ceiling, colourful baldaccino altar canopy painted by Robert Medley RA, whose work hangs in the Tate and Government Art Collection, and unique geranium garden inside the church under the west window. The cross on the east wall was made by the monks of Buckfast Abbey, and the twelve part east window by renowned artist Geoffrey Clarke RA, with altar candlesticks designed to match by the architect.

The church is a Grade II listed building, and has been praised by English Heritage, Nikolaus Pevsner in his ‘Buildings of Devon’, and lauded as ‘Beautifully detailed ... one of the most satisfactory buildings for liturgy to be completed in this country since the war’ by Peter Hammond in his survey of 20th century church building ‘Liturgy and Architecture’.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Social heritage stories
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Café within 500m
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

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