2. Building of the church

In 1901 the decision was taken for the parish of Kirkby-in-Ashfield to be split into three. An iron building built as a daughter church to the former St Wilfrid’s Parish Church was deemed as not sufficient and plans were made for a new church to be constructed. Subscriptions for the building of the church included those from The Duke and Duchess of Portland who gave £2000, The Butterley Company £1000, The Ecclesiastical Commissioners £500 and Reverend J Butterwick the rector of Kirkby-in-Ashfield £100.



On Saturday 27th July 1901 the foundation stone for the new church was laid by the Duke of Portland, assisted by Bishop Hamilton Baynes, vicar of St Mary’s Nottingham, the rector of Kirkby and the vicar designate of St Thomas’ the Reverend T B Lawson. Underneath the foundation stone was placed a bottle containing a copy of a daily paper and a number of coins. Despite the showery weather which prevailed during the morning the sun shone brightly during the ceremony which was attended by a very large congregation.

The architect for the new church was Mr Louis Ambler, who designed the building in a style of English Gothic of the early 15th century. The building is of red brick, with nave and aisles divided into five bays, octagonal stone columns and moulded arches springing from piers without capitals. The roof has open timber construction with hammer-beam trusses, windows of stone with arched heads and there are two bell turrets at the west end of the building. The floor under the seating is of wood blocks and in the aisles of terrazas and marble mosaics. The glazing is of leaded cathedral glass. Seating is for 350 adults, seated in the Nave so that each worshipper has full view of the Chancel.



On Saturday 23rd May 1903 the church was consecrated by Dr George Ridding, the Bishop of Southwell, who also preached at the service. The consecration was followed by Evensong with the Revs T B Lawson and A B Reid taking the prayers and Canon Lewis and the Rev J E Phillips reading the lessons. The Bishop based his sermon on the text “Let us labour to enter into that rest lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” The organist was Mr A H Bonser of Sutton-in-Ashfield. At that time £4500 had been raised towards the £6000 costs with £500 of that having been raised by the congregation towards the cost of furnishings and the organ. The congregation raised a further £52.11s during the service.

The following day the first baptisms were celebrated at St Thomas. There were seven children baptised on that day Jessie Daybell, Ethel Kemp, Dora Jarvis, Oliver Houlston, Emma Houlston, Bernard Houlston and Wilfrid Limb. The first marriage took place on 2nd July 1903 and was between John Thomas and Lillian Jewsbury.


Posted March 21, 2011 by stthomaschurchkirkby