The Church of St Thomas

Stanley Crook

CHURCH HISTORY

The Church of St Thomas' is the most prominent land mark of the village, and is Grade II Listed.

It's foundation stone was laid on August 17th 1875 by Mr David Dale (later Sir David).The Rev Joseph Roscamp, was the first Vicar of Stanley Crook, and the patron was Lord Strathmoor (Bowes-Lyons). The Church was completed and opened by the Bishop of Durham the Right Reverend Charles Baring, on February 13th 1877

The original church was built to hold around 500 parishioners, at a cost of £3162. Of which £900 came from the Bishop of Durham, £150 from the Incorporated Church Building Society, £100 from Mrs Walling, £100 from Mr A Wilkinson, £100 from Mr F.L Barrington, £100 from Miss Pease and £100 from Lord Boyne, to name but a few. Much of the money for the construction came from the people of the parish which when you consider what most of the population of Stanley were earning, makes the church a tribute to them.

The Church has not had a quiet history, in fact quite a turbulent one. November 1893 saw the near total destruction of the church by fire. The fire took place during a violent storm, which caused the heating system to explode. Accounts from the day talk of the fire being so intense that the church roof was completely destroyed within minutes, along with stained glass and the church furniture. Remarkably the rebuilding of the Church only took one year, during which time the church hall took on the role of the church. On November 17th 1894 the church was reopened, the event only being overshadowed by the church hall burning down as the church was reopened. Again, remarkably, the hall was reopened on Saturday 15th June 1895, less than one year on.

The Parish has had to adapt from being at the centre of a thriving mining community, survive through the years of high unemployment and decline and is now emerging into the 21st century. The village of Stanley Crook is now growing with many new homes being built and more in the planning stage, so it is hoped the parish will go on for many years more, but the building and congregation has to adapt to new methods and new ideas but not forgetting our heritage.

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