Building Name

Church of St Thomas, Haverfordwest

Pembrokeshire, Wales

RE-OPENING OF ST. THOMAS CHURCH. - This Church was re-opened for Divine service yesterday morning by the Lord Bishop of St. David's. The Church occupies a commanding position in the highest part of the town, and possesses a very fine tower, exhibiting the chief characteristics of the Norman style—size and massiveness. ..... We have only space for a brief description of the improvements and additions which have now been effected, and which have imparted to the building what it previously did not possess—an architectural character. An aisle has been added on the north side, and an organ chamber, which being divided also serves the purposes of a vestry. The aisle has been formed by continuing the roof of the nave with a flatter angle, and the old north wall has been pierced, and a series of well-formed arches introduced, which are supported on pillars of Bath stone. The organ chamber opens by an archway into the aisle, and also in the same manner into the chancel, in which are now placed seats for the choir. The chancel arch is very prettily designed, and greatly enhances the appearance of the Church. A new and larger east window, with a representation of the Crucifixion and other Scriptural subjects, has taken the place of the old one, and the windows in the aisle arc also larger and prettier. A new organ, of great power and rich tone, has been erected, and occupies the new opening on the north side into the Chancel. A new stone pulpit, and an efficient warming apparatus on an unproved principle have also been provided. The floors of the nave, aisle, and chancel, have been re-laid with coloured tiles of a pleasing pattern. The improvements and alterations have been skilfully designed and very successfully carried out. The architect was Mr Lingen Barker, of Hereford, who has restored a large number of the churches in this county. The contractor was Mr W. Reynolds, of Hill Street, who feeling a genuine interest in the work, has bestowed his best skill and attention upon its execution. The dressed stone work— of which there is a considerable quantity—was wrought by Mr Geo. Jones, of Merlin's Hill. 11 Some portions of the work are individual gifts of kind friends of the Church :—the east window, which is elaborately executed, is the gift of the former Rector, the Rev. George Horne, and is a memorial of the Rev. Thomas Horne, (who was also rector of the parish); Mrs Horne; and other members of the donor's  family; the chancel arch was erected at the expense of Mr Henry Mathias and Mrs Mathias, as a memorial of their deceased children; the handsome stone pulpit is the gift of the contractor, Mr W. Reynolds; and the splendid organ is presented by the Rector and Mrs Hilbers. [Pembrokeshire Herald 3 June 1881 page 2]

ST. THOMAS' CHURCH. Having been furnished with the following additional interesting particulars respecting the work recently done in the above Church, we have much pleasure in laying the same before our readers. The increased sitting accommodation is for 106 persons, the old numbers being 263 in nave and tower, and 20 in chancel, or a total of 283; and the ones 209 in nave and tower, 28 in chancel, and 92 in new aisle, giving a total of 389 but as there is plenty of space round the font for chairs, the Church will really hold 400 comfortably. The exquisite stained glass window in the east gable of the chancel is the work of the celebrated Munich Artists, Messrs Mayer, Co. and the beautiful wrought iron and brass altar standards are from Mr T. Brauns's works, at Birmingham. The encaustic tiles were supplied from Messrs. Webbs, Worcester Tileries, those in the chancel being richly glazed, and all laid according to designs specially prepared by Mr Lingen Barker, the Architect, who also provided the designs for the new Pulpit, the various new fittings in the chancel, and the stone tracery of Messrs. Mayer's new east window. The system of heating by hot air channels patented by Mr W. Poritt, of Bolton, Lancashire, has been adopted, and the trial it has received has proved highly successful. The organ builder was Mr. W. G. Vowles, of Bristol, who also supplied the design for the ornamental pitch pine case which harmonizes very fairly with the surrounding fittings. The new proportions of the interior much more closely resemble those of the original Church than before, the exceedingly narrow nave (only 22 feet for its length of 80 feet) having been altered when the north wall was rebuilt about 80 years ago. The widths of the arches, between the nave and new aisle had to be regulated by the numbers and positions of the nave roof principals, or they would have been made wider with fewer columns. The principal part of the stone carving was done by Mr J. L. Watts, of Pembroke, in imitation of natural flowers and foliage, that of the caps of the Chancel arch responds, being really excellent in both design and execution. [Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser 19 August 1881 page 2]