One of the oldest churches in South Wales – the Parish Church of St Thomas in Neath – has launched an appeal to repair its crumbling tower.
Situated in the heart of Neath town the Grade II* listed building dates back to the 12th century, and was originally dedicated to the martyred bishop Thomas a Becket before being changed after the Reformation to St Thomas the Apostle.
Built as the garrison church for the Norman Neath Castle, St Thomas’ Church has been in continuous use as a place of worship for over 700 years.
Now, after centuries of providing spiritual guidance and comfort to the population of Neath, the tower of St Thomas’ is in urgent need of repair.
The church’s congregation has launched a £127,000 appeal to fund the specialist repairs to the tower, which is also home to a peal of six bells, which were added when it was heightened in the 17th century – and are still rung today.
“As the Parish Church St Thomas’ holds a very special place in the community of Neath,” said Rector of Neath, Canon Stephen Ryan.
“It is the only fully functioning medieval building remaining in the town and it stands as a unique historical record of Neath life down the centuries.
“Now those centuries of wear and tear are taking their toll, and we need to repair the Tower so that the people of Neath can continue to worship there and use its ancient surroundings for the good of the community.”
This week (July 2-4) St Thomas’ Church will be holding a Celebration Flower Festival (10am-5pm) followed by a Songs of Praise Service at 3pm on Sunday (July 5th). All proceeds will go to the Tower Appeal.
Picture shows: The congregation of St Thomas’ Church in Neath at the launch of their Tower Appeal.