Wolverhampton's Listed Buildings

St Thomas' Church and the Bate Monument

Church Street, Wednesfield

Listing: 1751. Reconstruction after fire and chancel, 1903, by F.T.Beck. Classical style.


Pevsner, Staffordshire p.300: [Beck] totally replaced the chancel of 1842-3 by Wyatt & Brandon. The rest must be facsimile, and apparently a good deal of the exterior may have been kept. ... The interior is Beck's.

Roger Poole, The Church on Wednesfield Green: the Story of St. Thomas's Church, Wednesfield, 1750 - 2000, nd[2001], published by the church.


The original church, as it was before the fire.

Much of Wednesfield's town centre has been rebuilt in the second half of the 20th century and this church, the pub next door and a row of cottages near by (all listed) are almost all that remains of the old place. 

Since it was built St. Thomas's has been pretty much the heart of the place and continues to stand for Wednesfield and identify it. 

The church was built by voluntary subscription and consecrated in August 1750. Technically, it was a chapel of ease of St. Peter's, Wolverhampton and known as the Chapel of St. Thomas in Wednesfield. 

In 1849 it became a separate parish with its own vicar, instead of a curate. In its turn St. Thomas's established Holy Trinity, Heath Town, as a chapel of ease, in 1852; Holy Trinity became a parish of its own in 1869.  Likewise, St. Gregory's was established in 1954 and became a parish of its own in 1966.  Today a team ministry covers this area.

The interior was extensively altered in the 1840s when it was widened and a gallery added. There were further alterations in 1884.  In 1902 it was almost destroyed by fire, said to have been caused by an overheated stove pipe.

The interior as it was before the 1884 alterations.

The fire of the 18th January 1902 fire destroyed most of the building except the nave and tower. The section of the present tower below the top windows is original, whereas the upper section including the clock is new.

The aftermath of the fire. Wolverhampton fire brigade took about half an hour to reach the church because several stops were needed en route to rest the horses.

Willenhall fire brigade did not attend because they could not find any horses.

The reconstruction after the fire was carried out by F. T. Beck, a Wolverhampton architect responsible for many buildings in many styles.

The chancel was preserved largely in tact and possibly some of the side walls. 

Certainly such features largely guided Beck's plans so that it is almost repro - which may be why it is one of his best looking buildings. 

From an old postcard.

The interior, looking towards the altar. The chancel windows survived the fire.  They date from 1872.

The interior, looking towards the west and the entrance below the tower.


Thanks to the Vicar for permission to photograph the interior.

From the fire to the rebuilding of the church (which cost £5,500) was only 19 months.

Beck's interior is very effective, even if some might feel that the galleries are not quite as well integrated as they might be. In the traditional way for the style of this church, the windows on the upper level are plain glass but some at ground floor level have now had stained glass put in them - two by Archibald Davies (in 1949 and 1950) and two very good one by Bronwen Gordon (in 1971)The interior also contains much good woodwork, the pulpit being very fine. 

All the stonework was cleaned in 1983 and the exterior was lit in 2001. 

The Bate Monument.

A fine figured oak board in the north aisle records the following curates (to 1849) and vicars (thereafter) of St. Thomas's:

Richard Nocke


Charles Blackham


William Moreton


John Clare


William Lee Afflett Parker


William Stephens


John Birch


Francis Handley Roach


Guy Heathman Parkhouse


Stanley Arthur Howard


Harry Baylis


Frederick Norman Lewis


Walter John Turner


Barry Rogerson


John Newcombe Craig


John Dudley Dowell Porter


The board is in error:  it seems that there were two curates, Cornelius Jesson and William Jones who were the first holders of the office; and that Richard Nocke was not the curate but an assistant. 

Barry Rogerson was consecrated the first Bishop of Wolverhampton in 1979.