History: anniversary of rebuilding of church



The parish church of COALEY, near Dursley, having been entirely re-built, except the tower, was re-opened for Divine Service on Wednesday last, when the Lord Bishop of the Diocese performed the service of consecration.  The old church had long been in a most dilapidated condition, and incapable of affording the requisite accommodation for the attendants of Divine Worship; it was therefore decided to pull the entire structure down, except the tower, which was in a sound and substantial state, and re-build it.  Plans and specifications of the new building were prepared by Messrs. Jaques & Son, architects, of this city, and they were unanimously approved of at a parish meeting which was held to consider the subject.  Mr. Niblett, builder of this city, was appointed to execute the work; the chancel, however, was assigned to Mr. Watkins, of Coaley.  The whole of the work has been executed in a workmanlike and thoroughly satisfactory manner.  To Mr. H. Frith, sculptor, of this city, was 

deputed the whole of the carved work, and he has executed it with his usual success.  The variety of expression put into the numerous heads, large and small, with which the piers, corbels, &c, are finished off is remarkable.  The font is also a creditable piece of work, and contains several pretty specimens of carving.

The church, which forms a striking and handsome object in the landscape, is in the decorated geometrical style, which prevailed during the 13th and 14th centuries.  It consists of a nave, aisle, chancel, and vestry.  The nave is separated from the aisle by fine arches, the cape of the piers being enriched with ball-flowers.  The building is about 50 feet in length, exclusive of the chancel, which is about 25 feet more.  It is fitted with sittings of a uniform pattern, which with the roof, pulpit, and reading desk, are of deal, stained and varnished to resemble oak.  It will accommodate a congregation of about 270.  There are stalls in the chancel for the choir.  The floor is paved with red and blue Staffordshire tiles, with a freestone border.  There is a fine stained glass memorial window at the east end of the aisle, by Wailes of Newcastle, illustrating the Transfiguration  It has been erected by Mr. Leonard, in memory of his father and mother.  A beautiful diaper window in the tower, over the west entrance, has been given by Rev. T. Peters of Eastington, who also gave the altar cloth.  Miss Upton, of Cam, gave the altar cushions and the decorations of the pulpit.

The church bells were set ringing soon after nine-o’clock, and notwithstanding the falling of occasional showers of rain, a considerable number of visitors from a distance continued to arrive as the time announced for the commencement of the ceremony of consecration approached.  The weather afterwards cleared up, though a cold east wind continued blowing.  The church began to fill soon after 10 o’clock, and by half- past ten it was quite full, a large number being unable to obtain seats.  Precisely at half-past ten the Lord Bishop was received at the west entrance of the church by the Chancellor, (C.J.Monk, Esq), the  Rev. C.R.Fanshawe, the Registrar, (T.Holt, Esq.), the Rev W.T. Barry, Curate, the Rev. T. Peters, &c, &c; together with churchwardens and some of the principal inhabitants.  The usual petition, praying the Bishop to consecrate was proceeded with, followed by a portion of the service of the day.  The prayers were read by the Curate, the second lesson by the Rev. T. Peters, and the Epistle and Gospel by the Rev. Sir Geo. Provost.  There  being no organ, the choir was accompanied by some musical instruments.

The Lord Bishop preached the sermon, taking for his text Hebrews iv,chap.16 ver.-“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace.”  After referring to the glad event that once more God’s people were 

admitted to His house to join in the public services of the sanctuary, and pointing out how thankful they ought to be that they were again permitted to worship God in a building where rich and poor could alike join in divine worship, he proceeded to advert to the text, and to show in what spirit they ought to come to God, and the 

encouragement held out to them in coming to Him....   He urged in impressive terms the duty of making religion a consideration of every day life, instead of putting it on and off with their Sunday clothes; and in conclusion stated that any surplus at the collection over the expenses of erecting the church would be applied as the commencement of a fund for building schools, the present parochial schools being held in a cottage in the village.

The remainder of the service having been gone through, the Bishop and clergy left the church for the purpose of consecrating a piece of ground which has been added to the burial ground.  The Bishop and clergy walked round the ground to be consecrated, repeating alternatively verses of the 49th and 115th Psalms.  After a prayer by the Bishop, some verses of the 39th Psalm were sung, the effect from the large number of voices in the open air being very fine.  The administration of the Holy Communion terminated the services of the day.’


A report in the Gloucester Journal of 17th April, 1858

Thank you to Pat Bozworth for sending this to the website