Parish Timeline

This history of St Thomas’ Church is based in large part on notes prepared, in 1972, by the sixth vicar, Mr Bastin with recent additions made between 2006 and 2022[1]
Year Event
1842 Plans drawn by Benjamin Ferrey for a new church in Keresley. A copy of these plans is now kept in the Lambeth Palace Library, you may view the plans by clicking on this thumbnail.
1847 Parish formed from St Michael's Coventry and Holy Trinity without. Church and Churchyard consecrated 10th September 1847; bells and clock added later. First vicar, Rev W. H. Thickens, lived at Keresley House (his brother was vicar of Exhall).
1852 Church school built: of stone with a tower; a house below and 2 classrooms above.
1868 First vicarage built on Brownshill Green Road, the land was a gift of Maria Wilmot. There were 14 rooms, 2 cellars, a coach house, 3/4 acre grounds and no mains services.
1874 Second vicar, Rev G. T. P. Deere
1875 Church school enlarged: one class room added and school manager's room below
1884 First extension to churchyard with surrounding wall, given by Mrs Troughton.
1886 Chancel and Sanctuary floor laid with tiles representing implements of the crucifixion, the money raised by a "Sale of Work".
1890 First monthly leaflets, forerunner of the present church magazine.
1897 An organ is installed in the gallery for the first time and the choir moved back there. (At first the choir had sat in the gallery, where string and wind instruments provided the music, but then they had moved to the chancel where they were accompanied by a harmonium.)
1898 Mr H. P. Loasby appointed School Headmaster and Church Organist
1905 Third vicar, Rev W. C. Kerr. Approximate date of improvements to church, organ and heating
1909 Local Authority (Warwicks) built Infants School - removed infants from Church School
1911 Boring started for coal in North East part of parish
1918 Change of Diocese from Worcester to Coventry
1919 Colliery Village begun astride N.E. boundary with Exhall
1920 Enabling Act creates P.C.C.s etc. Capt and Mrs Miller helped to build Women's Institute in New Road. This continued here until 1970
1921 Fourth vicar, Rev T. H. Perry. Stipendiary Reader Mr A. B. Barnes
1923 Hut in Fivefield Lane for services and social events. Churchwarden Mr S. Glover
1925 Mission Church opened in Bennetts Road
1928 Housing estate in East of Parish: astride St Lukes and Exhall
1929 Keresley Hall (former home of Hillman family) became Alcock Hospital, vicar becomes honoury chaplain. Conventional District is created of St George with Hall/Church in Coundon
1930 Housing Estates developed in S.W. and S. of parish
1931 Work on Church Bells; Miss Rotherham leaves Keresley Grange. Fifth vicar, Rev G. N. Roper
1934 Death of Mrs Hands, born 1837, the last surviving person who remembered the church being built
1935 Parish of St George (Coundon) formed from parts of Keresley with Coundon, St Nicholas Radford, and St John the Baptist Coventry. Church School became Juniors only. Mr D. K. Daniels became Lay Reader.
1936 Sixth vicar Rev E. J. Bastin
1937 Capt A. G. Walker (Church Army) took on work in Colliery area Keresley Grange became headquarters squadron RAFVR
1938 Second extension to Churchyard and fence given by Mr E. Turrall. Mr H.P. Loasby retires after 40 years as Church Organist.
1939 Work on Church Tower & Spire. Full time Verger/Sexton appointed.
1940-1941 Casualties in Air Raids; St Nicholas and St Francis destroyed
1941 onwards National Service Hostels built
1942 First Assistant Curate appointed; Rev D. R. McKinnon ; restarted children's work ; Keresley Hospital enlarged
1944 Rev W. H. Oliver succeeded Rev D. R. McKinnon; Church School closed.
1946 Rev W. H. Oliver left; the Birches became part of Keresley Hosplital; The Manor becomes a children's home; a house called "Dovedale" and 4.4 acres purchased for church use to mark the first centenary.
1947 First Centenary celebrated. Captain Walker died suddenly. During the last 50 years various alterations took place in the church. The pulpit and reading desk were moved, opening up the chancel and sancturary, while prayer desks and a brass lectern took the place of the square reading desk. Keresley Grange became a Children's Care reception centre; Mr L. Green becomes Reader.
1948 Coundon Hall became a hotel. Church organ rebuilt.
1950 Development of Colliery estates. Vicar ceased to be chaplain at hospital; Newlands House became Old People's Home
1951 Coundon Court becomes Girl's Comprehensive School
1952 Adjustments to parish boundaries; Church repaired and redecorated
1955 Negotiations begun for site of new vicarage.
1957 Assistant curate Rev W. H. Bates; curae's house bought; Old school sold, later realised over £6,000 which went to the diocese for Blue Coat School.
1958 Mr H.S. Pettitt becomes Reader
1960 Rev W. H. Bates leaves
1961 Rev R Hawtin assistant curate
1964 New Vicarage built on Tamworth Road. "Dovedale" converted to Church Room with flat above.
1965 Church Walk and Church path given to church by Coventry Boy Foundation Trust, full time Verger/Sexton ceased to be employed.
1966 Repairs to South side of church, 2 acres of land exchanged with Coventry Corporation. Rev R Hawtin leaves
1968 New heating system installed in church, Keresley Hospital closed.
1970 Mission Church altered and repaired/re-decorated. Church Hall built in Wickham Close. Churchyard extended. Parish Magazine ceases
1971 Seventh vicar Rev J. H. Tyers
1972 Repairs to North wall of Church. Sanctuary re-worked again. Mr L. Green completes 25 years as Reader ; Rev M. Clarke becomes Assistant Curate
1979 Eighth vicar Rev J. Panting
1980 Captain Martin Hathaway appointed to serve Keresley Village and the Mission Church. At St Thomas the five bells were re-cast as a peel of six.
1982 Mission Church became Church of the Ascension
1989 The Galilee Room is built on the North side of the church, giving a meeting room with kitchenette, and toilets.
1990 Rev A. Donaldson appointed to Keresley Village as full-time minister for Church of the Ascension.
1991 Colliery closes for the first time.
1992 Ninth vicar Rev K. Mobberley
1994 Church of Ascension building declared unsafe in May, demolished in December.
1996 Colliery closes finally.
1997 Parish celebrates 150 years. Two shops bought in Keresley Village for new church.
1999 Keresley Community Church opens, an ecumenical church shared by Anglicans and Methodists. Tenth vicar Rev P. A. Walker appointed together with his wife Rev R. E. Walker to job-share Keresley Village and St Thomas'.
2000 New Church Heating System installed
2003 St Thomas' Churchyard is officially closed for new burials by Order in Council and maintenance is passed to Coventry City Council. Extension and re-roofing of Keresley Village Community Church.
2011 Steven Medley, formerly Children and Families Worker in the parish, becomes Lay Pioneer Minister at Keresley Village Community Church
2012 Eleventh vicar, Rev Mark Norris.
2017 St Thomas' sanctuary replastered, redecorated and recarpeted.
2018 Keresley Village Community Church congregation closes. The building is renamed by the local community as 'The Pit Stop' and continues to be used by St Thomas' for outreach and building community in Keresley Village.
2019 The Garden of Remembrance is opened in St Thomas' Churchyard, providing over 500 new burial plots for cremated remains.
2020-2021 St Thomas' Church embraces change through the COVID-19 pandemic and, for a period, moves to online worship and develops an online community.
2021 Clement Wedderburn licensed as a Reader at St Thomas'. Work commences on the proposed 2000+ new houses in the centre of the parish.
2022 175th Anniversary of St Thomas' Church.
12th vicar, Rev Charlotte Jackson

[1] 2006 additions made by Rev Peter Walker, 2012 and 2020 additions made by Rev Mark Norris, 2022 additions made by Heather Hudson

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