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There has been a church at the heart of Newport for well over 800 years and it has always been dedicated to St Thomas, though the choice of which St Thomas has changed over that time.
It is believed the church first gained its name around 1175, when a new chapel was dedicated to St Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury murdered in 1170 and then declared a saint by Pope Alexander III in 1173.
However, when King Henry VIII dissolved the old monastic orders during the reformation, Thomas Becket was declared a traitor and the sensible parishoners switched to one more popular with the Tudor King: Thomas the Apostle or Doubting Thomas. An apostle of Christ, he is also known as Didymus, the Twin and the Apostle of India.
So, which Thomas to choose? When the church was rebuilt in 1854 Prince Albert laid a foundation stone that dedicated the church jointly to both saints and the Minster that proudly goes by the name Sts Thomas. The two Saints Thomas can be found on either side of the west door of the church.
The first church was built in 1180. Samuel Whitfield Daukes designed the new church, which was built on the footprint of the medieval church in 1857. Stylistically it is in a Geometric Decorated style with liberal use of cusped tracery showing inspiration of A W N Pugin Gothic Architecture. As much material as possible was retained from the medieval church including medieval Caen and Quarr stone and several fine 17th century furnishings.
In 2008 Newport Parish Church was granted the title of Minster in recognition of its contribution to the wider community.