St Thomas church, with its unusual layout and ceiling, is a wonderful place to meet together for worship or to trace the industrial history of Stanningley.
There has been a chapel of ease at Bramley, in the ancient parish of Leeds, since monastic times.
The West Yorkshire Archive Service holds registers of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1717. The present Gothic Revival church of St Peter on Hough Lane is built on land given by Lord Cardigan near to the site of the old church which, say 19th century writers, had lost its original character due to rebuilding, and being too small for the growing urban population of Bramley, was demolished in the early 1800s. It was regarded by The Council for Places of Worship as the best example of the work of Perkins & Backhouse (1861-63).
The church is set in a churchyard of 1.4ha (3.4 acres). The earliest burials date from 1717, burials other than in existing tombs were stopped by Order in Council in 1883. Most of the tombstones have been removed, as part of the 1970s redevelopment of the town centre, though some form footpaths through the churchyard.
The church was extensively rebuilt in 1979 by Peter B Hill using the original millstone grit blocks to add meeting rooms and other facilities used by the church and community. It retains the north aisle arcade and north and west walls of the original three bay nave along with the tower and spire which feature a ring of eight bells installed in 1923.
Contents from the pre-1979 rebuild include an altar by Thompson, a stone font and two windows by William Morris of 1874 which have been reset in the present sanctuary. Other panels of Morris glass are currently undergoing investigation prior to restoration. Other liturgical furnishings include the communion table from the old church, a recent oak lectern by Thompson and a polished marble altar in the style of Matisse. A wooden parclose screen around the Lady Chapel (former north aisle) and wooden staircase to the gallery came from the closed church of Holbeck St Edward King and Martyr (closed 1976) and are supposedly the work of the craftsmen of Oberammergau.
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