top of page


History of the United Benefice

The two parishes (formerly three) of the United Benefice were formed out of the parish of Saint Nicholas, Plumstead, at a time of increasing population in the area during the mid- to late- nineteenth century.

Since Saint Nicholas was an early follower of the Oxford Movement, it is not surprising that its daughter churches are all firmly (yet un-selfconsciously) within the catholic tradition of the Church of England, with an emphasis on sacramental worship.

In 1864 the church of Saint Margaret became the Parish Church of Plumstead in place of Saint Nicholas. As a consequence the Vicar of Saint Margaret (and therefore in succession the incumbent of Plumstead Common United Benefice) is the patron of the living of Saint Nicholas, Plumstead, as well as being ex officio a Foundation Governor of Saint Margaret School, the Church School closely connected with St Mark with St Margaret, and the United Benefice and central to its sense of mission.

The incumbent is also a trustee of Dr. Plume’s Trust, constituted on 2 September 1704. The Plume Trust is largely concerned with Provision of relief by way of monetary grants to necessitous clergy in the Church of England Diocese of Rochester (which then included the deaneries of Eltham, Greenwich and Plumstead). It meets twice a year and meetings are usually followed by lunch.

Our Church Buildings

There are two churches – south of the Common, the Ascension Church built in the early 20th century has remained virtually unchanged to the present day. As set out above, north of the Common there were once two parishes and two buildings. The Victorian St Margaret’s Church was closed in 1968 and the parish was united with St Mark’s. Then in the mid-70s both St Margaret’s and the 1901 St Mark’s Church were demolished due to structural and maintenance issues and a new church was built on the St Mark’s site, retaining some features of both churches and dedicated to both saints.

The United Benefice Vicarage

St Mark’s vicarage was compulsorily purchased by the Council to extend Plumstead Manor School on the common and as part of the deal a modern vicarage (albeit in a traditional style) was built for the new benefice created in 2010. The new vicarage is almost equidistant from both churches. There is also a further traditional Victorian terrace house for a Priest in the Ascension Parish, which is used for the 0.5 FTE Associate Priest of the benefice. This replaced the Ascension vicarage which was suffering from subsidence, as part of the creation of a United Benefice.

History of the Ascension

Download a PDF of the 1925 pamphlet here soon!

Image of the 1925 Ascension pamphlet

The Acension

Timbercroft Lane
SE18 2SG

St Mark with St Margaret

Old Mill Road
SE18 1QE

Assistant vicar (both churches): Fr Berhane Asmelash 07838 167 198

St Mark’s Hall hire: Jill Creed 0208 317 3907 (evenings only)

bottom of page