Places of Worship

St Mary’s Church

Ascension Island / Africa

St Mary’s Church was built between 1843 and 1846, the foundation stone being laid by Mrs Dwyer, wife of the Commandant, Captain Thomas Dwyer, on 6 September. It was consecrated by the first Bishop of St Helena in 1861. The church was modernised between 1879 and 1880, with a chancel and new altar added. In 1912 the church got a new roof, and electricity was installed in 1924. It used to be run by Lay Readers, and the first resident priest took over in 1967. Every Sunday there is a Eucharist service at 10.30, with occasional other services. In 1957 Prince Philip visited and noticed many memorials to Royal Marines, including “one rather pathetic little memorial to a young seaman who lost his life while driving the daily cart up Green Mountain. It must have been quite an undertaking because some of our party who went up found it hard enough by car.” Outside the church are memorials to soldiers who served on the island, and a large stone commemorates Alexander Duff Gordon, Commander of HMS Hegate, who died at the age of 36 on 2 December 1856. There are two stained glass windows in memory of the service men who died in the Falklands War of 1982.

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