Timeline of St Thomas’

This history of St Thomas’ Church is based in large part on notes prepared, in 1972, by the sixth vicar, Mr Bastin. These notes have been edited and brought up to date for this website by the current vicar, Mr Norris.

YearEvent Details
1842Plans 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.
1847Parish 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).
1852Church school built: of stone with a tower; a house below and 2 classrooms above.
1868First 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.
1874Second vicar, Rev G. T. P. Deere
1875Church school enlarged: one class room added and school manager's room below
1884First extension to churchyard with surrounding wall, given by Mrs Troughton.
1886Chancel and Sanctuary floor laid with tiles representing implements of the crucifixion, the money raised by a "Sale of Work".
1890First monthly leaflets, forerunner of the present church magazine.
1897An 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.)
1898Mr H. P. Loasby appointed School Headmaster and Church Organist
1905Third vicar, Rev W. C. Kerr. Approximate date of improvements to church, organ and heating
1909Local Authority (Warwicks) built Infants School - removed infants from Church School
1911Boring started for coal in North East part of parish
1918Change of Diocese from Worcester to Coventry
1919Colliery Village begun astride N.E. boundary with Exhall
1920Enabling 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
1921Fourth vicar, Rev T. H. Perry. Stipendiary Reader Mr A. B. Barnes
1923Hut in Fivefield Lane for services and social events. Churchwarden Mr S. Glover
1925Mission Church opened in Bennetts Road
1928Housing estate in East of Parish: astride St Lukes and Exhall
1929Keresley 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
1930Housing Estates developed in S.W. and S. of parish
1931Work on Church Bells; Miss Rotherham leaves Keresley Grange. Fifth vicar, Rev G. N. Roper
1934Death of Mrs Hands, born 1837, the last surviving person who remembered the church being built
1935Parish 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.
1936Sixth vicar Rev E. J. Bastin
1937Capt A. G. Walker (Church Army) took on work in Colliery area Keresley Grange became headquarters squadron RAFVR
1938Second extension to Churchyard and fence given by Mr E. Turrall. Mr H.P. Loasby retires after 40 years as Church Organist.
1939Work on Church Tower & Spire. Full time Verger/Sexton appointed.
1940-1941Casualties in Air Raids; St Nicholas and St Francis destroyed
1941 onwardsNational Service Hostels built
1942First Assistant Curate appointed; Rev D. R. McKinnon ; restarted children's work ; Keresley Hospital enlarged
1944Rev W. H. Oliver succeeded Rev D. R. McKinnon; Church School closed.
1946Rev 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.
1947First 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.
1948Coundon Hall became a hotel. Church organ rebuilt.
1950Development of Colliery estates. Vicar ceased to be chaplain at hospital; Newlands House became Old People's Home
1951Coundon Court becomes Girl's Comprehensive School
1952Adjustments to parish boundaries; Church repaired and redecorated
1955Negotiations begun for site of new vicarage.
1957Assistant 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.
1958Mr H.S. Pettitt becomes Reader
1960Rev W. H. Bates leaves
1961Rev R Hawtin assistant curate
1964New Vicarage built on Tamworth Road. "Dovedale" converted to Church Room with flat above.
1965Church Walk and Church path given to church by Coventry Boy Foundation Trust, full time Verger/Sexton ceased to be employed.
1966Repairs to South side of church, 2 acres of land exchanged with Coventry Corporation. Rev R Hawtin leaves
1968New heating system installed in church, Keresley Hospital closed.
1970Mission Church altered and repaired/re-decorated. Church Hall built in Wickham Close. Churchyard extended. Parish Magazine ceases
1971Seventh vicar Rev J. H. Tyers
1972Repairs to North wall of Church. Sanctuary re-worked again. Mr L. Green completes 25 years as Reader ; Rev M. Clarke becomes Assistant Curate
1979Eighth vicar Rev J. Panting
1980Captain 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
1982Mission Church became Church of the Ascension
1989The Galilee Room is built on the North side of the church, giving a meeting room with kitchenette, and toilets.
1990Rev A. Donaldson appointed to Keresley Village as full-time minister for Church of the Ascension.
1991Colliery closes for the first time.
1992Ninth vicar Rev K. Mobberley
1994Church of Ascension building declared unsafe in May, demolished in December.
1996Colliery closes finally.
1997Parish celebrates 150 years. Two shops bought in Keresley Village for new church.
1999Keresley 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'.
2000New Church Heating System installed
2003Extension and re-roofing of Keresley Village Community Church.