st thomas' | timeline

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.

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
Extension and re-roofing of Keresley Village Community Church.