The History of St. Mary's Part 2

1901 - 1977


1901 Bishop John Garroway Holmes arrived on May the 1st to consecrate a new addition to Georgetown Cemetery. He also confirmed 14 candidates and left on the same day for England on H.M.S. Thetis.
1902 Revd. Dallas Brooks chaplain. Further restoration of the church, replastering of walls and a new concrete floor laid.
1904 Bishop visited en route for England, confirmed six candidates.

Garrison reduced to 120. Chaplain Dallas Brooks withdrawn. Bishop Wm Arthur Holbech visited for 10 days. 1 Adult confirmed. The Commanding Officer RMLI, Capt. Reginald Morgan and Assistant Paymaster Oswald Carter licensed as Readers to take Morning and Evening Prayer.

For the next 60 years, until 1967, there was no resident priest. The Bishops paid twice yearly visits and Sunday worship was led by lay people licensed by the Bishop.
1906 Bishop Holbech, visiting from May 2nd, noted that Sunday services had been regularly maintained, and that "the small school is doing good work with Mrs. Edwards as teacher." During his second visit from October 17th - November 3rd the Bishop 'taught in the school every morning at 10.'
1912 Slate roof replaced by 'Iralite', paid for by the Admiralty. Capt. Geo. Carpenter was Commandant.
1917-1922 Bishop visited once each year.
1922 Royal Naval Garrison withdrawn. Ascension Island became a dependency of the Colony of St Helena. Eastern Telegraph Company continues to occupy the island.
1923 Bishop visited from January 30th to February 16th. Met with the MD of ETC, Rear Adml. Grant. He agreed that the Company would take over from the Admiralty the cost of twice-yearly visits for the Bishop, provide free accommodation, and also 'spoke favourably of the Company's willingness to make such repairs as may be necessary for the church building.' (Further visit in August.)
1924 Bishop Holbech visited twice, from January 27th to February the 14th, and from September the 20th to October the 24th. On February 3rd 12 people took Communion. Besides several services each visit two marriages took place. At the second visit it was noted that the ETC had 'done valuable work for the building,' including installation of electric lighting.
1925 H.M.S. Dublin visited in January, her chaplain Revd. P.C.Gough celebrated Holy Communion on the island. Bishop visited in June. Noted that attendances at worship taken by Lay Readers had been small.
1926 Bishop visited for the whole of January and again in September. Had intended being on Ascension for Christmas but the steamer was delayed. Visited English Bay to see the new settlement of the Guano Company on both occasion.
1927 Visits from the Bishop from April 23rd to May 17th and November 13th - St. Andrews Day. On each Sunday there were services at 8am, 11am and 5am, with an extra "Children's Service" at 4pm on two occasions. On Mondays there was Evensong and Sermon with Holy Communion the following morning at Green Mountain.
1928 Only one visit by the Bishop, May 23rd to June 15th. One man confirmed. H.M.S. Birmingham visited, Chaplain Rev. Archer Tanner celebrated the Holy Eucharist on the island.
1929 Bishop Holbech on island from January 23rd until March 6th, his return to St Helena delayed by two weeks due to the breakdown of a steamer. Evensong was changed from 5pm to 6.30pm. At his next visit (September), the Readers were asked to take morning services on three Sundays each month and Evensong on the first Sunday.
1930 Bishop Holbech died in England at the age of 79. 1931 Bishop Charles Christopher Watts consecrated Bishop. The fifth Bishop of St. Helena, and the first to buy a car.
1935 Bishop William Aylen consecrated.
1939-1945 Second World War. Visits by Naval and American chaplains.
1939 Bishop Gilbert Price Lloyd Turner consecrated in October. In spite of the war he made annual visits to Ascension and thereafter came on average twice a year until 1960. Remembered as "a lovely personality, with great pastoral concern."
1942 Americans constructed Wideawake Airfield. "The Grotto" constructed for Roman Catholics. Extended 1964 as "The Grotto of Mary, Help of Christians", further restoration in 1963. At a Mass of Thanksgiving in 1984, Revd. Michael Hawes, Anglican RAF Chaplain, was the preacher.
1947 Americans depart leaving Cable & Wireless (formerly ETC) as sole inhabitants of Ascension. 1955 An altar bookstand in oak given by Mr. & Mrs. Stevens of Cable & Wireless. (No longer available.)
A succession of Readers continued to take services until the appointment of the first Vicar in 1966. They did valuable service, outstanding among them Mr James Bruce who was associated with St. Mary's from 1936-1963.
1960 Bishop Harold Beardmore consecrated. Founded the St. Helena Diocesan Association in England. 1961 Bishop visits in April.
1963 The present Altar, choir-stall and pews were made by Mr Bertram Williams (Little Willie) a St. Helenian, under the supervision of Clerk of the Works E. Schirn.

Foundation stone for the vicarage laid by Sir John Field, Governor of St. Helena.

Revd. John Crawford appointed first Vicar of St. Mary's. Took the Christmas Services. Lived in a tent at English Bay.

1967 Bishop Edmund Michael Hubert Capper consecrated. Reorganised Diocesan Finances.
1968 Vicarage completed, blessed by Bishop Capper in October. Crawford raised 3000 for repairs to St. Mary's.
1969 Revd. Thomas Duffy appointed. Started a choir, began monthly evening Communion Services. Restoration included re-roofing with copperoid sheeting, replacement of sheeting of the spire and installation of louvred windows.
1973 Bishop George Kenneth Giggal enthroned in May.
1973-1975 Readers took the services.
1975 Revd. David Bowles vicar.
1977 Revd. John Harvey priest in charge en route to England.

Next page


Last revised on the 1st of September 2002. For any comments or questions about the Society and its work, or this website, please e-mail us via this link in Ascension.