Building Name

Church of St Thomas, Werneth, Oldham

1849 - 1856
St Thomas's Circle
Werneth, Oldham
Lancashire, England
New Build
Grade II
Smith and Appleford

  • Foundation stone laid 4 August 1853
  • Consecration : Wednesday 21 November 1855

Walter Tittensor of Oldham drew up the first set of plans in 1849; Andrew Trimen drew up a second set of plans. The church was completed by George Shaw after the delay caused by the use of Bath stone and resultant litigation.Not to be caught out a second time. John Platt imported Oldham stone for his church at Llanfairfechan.

GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO - The foundation stone of this church, called the church of St Thomas, was laid on the 4th day of August AD 1853 by the Right Reverend James Prince Lee DD, Lord Bishop of Manchester, in the sixteenth year of the reign of her most gracious majesty Victoria, by the grace of God Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith. The site of the church, consisting of an acre of land was given by John and James Platt Esquires of Werneth, together with a handsome subscription towards the building fund; £400 by the Chester Diocesan Church Building Society;  £200 by the Incorporated Church Building Society; £125 by her Majesty’s Church Building Commissioners; £250 by the Manchester Diocesan Church Building society; £200 by the committee of the Church Extension Fund, London; and the remainder by voluntary contributions; the Rev Thomas Ireland MA being the incumbent; Andrew Trimen Esq, London, the architect; and Mr George Roberts of Clifford, Yorkshire, the builder. [Manchester Guardian 10 August 1853 page 7]

A misunderstanding occurred and resultant litigation caused a long delay in building. Instead of using stone from the county in accordance with the specification, the architect introduced a considerable amount from other sources which proved unsuitable to the climate and instant replacement of a large portion already found crumbling became imperative. The stone contractor in Wiltshire brought an action in the Court of Common Pleas for payment and the Rev T Ireland, as defendant, denied assent to any such contract for Bath stone. The case occupied a whole day and at last the jury found a verdict for the defendant, who immediately entered an action against the architect and obtained damages. The latter became insolvent and consequently the incumbent never received any money, a calamity resulting in the partial erection remaining a lone ruin for some considerable time. At length Mr John Platt, supported by other parishioners took matters in hand and substituted local stone (some from his own quarry nearby) at his own expense. [Un-referenced article, after 1868, in St Thomas Church archives]

Reference    Manchester Guardian 10 August 1853 page 7 - foundation stone
Reference    Oldham Chronicle Saturday 17 November 1855
Reference    Oldham Chronicle Saturday 24 November 1855
Reference    Pevsner: South Lancashire