Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

National Heritage Weekend - St Thomas the Apostle

The leaflet for the Heritage Open Days issued by Tameside Council says this of the Church of St Thomas the Apostle in Lumn Road, Hyde:

'Grade II listed church built in 1868, of brick and stone, by Architect Medland Taylor of Manchester. The roof is unusual in that the architect created a double or extra pitch to the lower elevation. The building is blessed with magnificent stained glass windows by Bourne Jones/William Morris (I think they mean Burne-Jones). The church will be displaying full priest robes and photographs of Priests, May Queens, Servers and more. It is hoped to have information on the Chartist Movement and St Thomas.'

Nancy published a post about the church on 15 April 2011 but I took the opportunity to go and take some interior shots.

View of the interior

The South Window
In the War Memorial Window both figures were designed by Henry Dearle for St Lawrence Church, Bradfield, Essex, to which William Morris & Co supplied a window in 1919. The figure of St George was used in 6 places between 1919 and 1922, and always in War Memorials. The figure of Salvador Mundi was used in at least 15 places and not always in War Memorial windows.

The North Window
The figure of St Thomas was designed for a window of 1874 in Calcutta Cathedral and appears in 6 places in the UK. In the window in Calcutta, St Thomas is shown facing the viewer's left, but in Hyde it has been reversed mirror-wise so as to face right and in two other places (Brighton College Chapel and St Mary Dundee) the figure faces right and has been given a beard. The figure of St Hilda in the Hyde window was a versatile one. It was used originally in 1876 in Paisley Abbey, to represent Salome; but it was also used to represent Eunice, St Anne, Devotion, Phoebe and St Hilda in Hyde and Shrewsbury; but only in Hyde was it modified by the addition of a pastoral staff. The staff does not appear anywhere else.

The East Window
In the East window the figure of Christ as Love is a design which first made its appearance in 1895 in Albion Congregational Church, Ashton-under-Lyne. This Burne-Jones figure makes over 20 appearances in churches up and down the country.The figure of Mary makes at least 25 appearances mainly at representations of the crucifixion.
I am indebted to the website of St Thomas the Apostle for the information about the stained glass windows.

I noticed that this statuette of St Thomas was holding a carpenter's square and checked to see what reference there was to him being a carpenter. I found the following:
'In portraits St Thomas often holds a book as a sign of his apostolate. His primary attribute is most often a carpenter's square or T-square. This refers to the first episode of the Acts of the Holy Apostle Thomas where the apostles draw lots to see who will bring the gospels to what countries. When St Thomas draws India, he is reluctant to accept this difficult mission, but Jesus settles the issue by selling him to a royal official just arrived from India looking for a slave skilled in carpentry.'

Two statuettes of Mary and the infant Jesus

And lastly, at the Church of St Thomas the Apostle you don't have to climb a lot of steps up a tower to see the church bell. It's conveniently placed outside the building, though you would need a ladder if you wanted to see it up close!


Werneth Low said...

Thank you so much for these delightful photos of St Thomas's Church. The stained glass is magnificent and it's good to have the information to go with it.

Marjorie said...

I went along too, but forgot to take my camera so really appreciate these wonderful pictures. The windows are a real gem. I was baptised here and one of the church officials brought out the register to show me the entry of my baptism.

Tom said...

Thank you for such a good post Dave, this is such a lovely building inside and out. The windows are very beautiful and your pictures show them off so well.

Anonymous said...

I also was baptised at St Thomas's, and also a choirboy there.

Brian McGuire said...

Fantastic Blog.. wonder if this might be of some interest here are some excellent Paisley Photographs of the Paisley Abbey Medieval Festival which took place on September 15th 2012. www.paisley.org.uk 

raam sharma said...

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raam sharma said...

fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
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