The early days
St Thomas’ Church was built in 1837 and is attributed to Thomas Kinnersley of Clough Hall – a local landowner and business proprietor. The first Church service took place on Sunday 7th May, 1837. Men, women and children flocked from all parts of Kidsgrove to witness and participate in the first service – it was a new experience for most of them, not only to walk along the beautiful tree-lined carriage drive, but also to take part in divine worship.
St Thomas’ was modified in 1853 when Sir Giles Gilbert Scott added the eastern chancel, funded by Mrs Kinnersley in memory of her husband Thomas. The chancel is very different in detail and construction to the rest of the Church, it having a tiled roof, stone walls and more intricate detailing around the windows. A vestry was also added on the south side of the tower, with a pitched tiled roof but brick walls, possibly at the same time the chancel was added.
The east windows are fine examples of stained glass. The centre window depicts ‘The Resurrection’ and those on either side represent ‘Christ appearing to Mary in the Garden’ and the appearance of the ‘Lord to St Thomas’, respectively.
In 1970, a Church Hall was added on the north side of the building with a flat roof and brick walls. The Church sits alongside the old St Thomas’ School, now known as The Wade Centre, which has recently been refurbished and remodelled to provide a modern, purpose-built home for St Thomas’ Nursery and function room/meeting space for use by the wider Kidsgrove community.
On 2nd July 2007, we suffered a dramatic flash flood following torrential rain, which caused 6 inches of water and sewage to come into the Church building. As a result of the contamination, we had to replace the floors, platform and some of the plasterwork. However, we turned our disaster into an opportunity to reorder the building!
The old pews were replaced with more comfortable chairs (which also provide us with a more flexible seating arrangement), a new underfloor heating system was installed to keep us all warm, and new lighting was fitted – we definitely made the best of our chance to improve!
The work was mainly funded by our insurance claim, with the congregation contributing most of the rest through an appeal day that raised £18,000. As part of the rebuilding work, we decided to restore the old wall plaques that adorn the building. Four of the plaques can be found at the front of Church, and these show the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed.
A plaque on the side wall shows the Kinnersley family crest – Thomas Kinnersley being the influential local landowner who built the Church in 1837. Finally, on the front of the balcony, is a Royal Coat of Arms. Each plaque represents part of Kidsgrove’s history and we were delighted to be able to restore them, and extremely grateful to Staffordshire County Council and Kidsgrove Town Council for the grants that made the work possible.
St Thomas’ Church 2014