History of St Stephen’s

In 1895 an appeal was issued for a ‘church for the people’ to be built in the parish of St Luke, Gloucester, the population of which was described as ‘largely composed of mechanics, artisans and dock labourers’. The new church was to be the Parish Church, and the existing church was planned to be retained as a Mission Church. The cost of the new church, complete with an imposing tower, was estimated at £6,000.

The church of St Luke was situated in church street between Llanthony Road and where Gloucester quays is now situated. It was demolished in 1935.

The Rev: H. Proctor, vicar of St Luke’s laboured with tremendous energy to raise the money and bring the task to fruition. The Rev: Proctor himself purchased the site and gave it to the parish as well as land for a vicarage. unfortunately, difficulties arose, the Gloucester smallpox epidemic of 1896 and the outbreak of the Boer War meant that the money appealed for could not be raised and it was decided to erect the church by sections.

1898-1909: Building work and consecration

On October 24th 1898, Lady Darell laid the foundation stone of the first section, the chancel, lady chapel, vestries and three bays of the nave. This portion was completed in 1900 and was consecrated as St Luke the Less by Bishop Elliot on Thursday October 18th 1900. in 1909 the original scheme was abandoned and the parish was divided, St Luke the Less becoming a separate parish.

1926-1930: Completion of the church

Another world crisis, the 1914 – 1918 war engaged the nation’s energies and it was not until 1926 that the completion of the church could be contemplated. In 1926 the Rev: E. C. Pritchard was appointed vicar and set to work with great energy to organise the completion of the church. By 1928 the local funds had increased to £2,400 and a large grant of over £3,600 was made from the Bishop’s Appeal Fund.

Work was started on a modified design made by Mr H. A. Dancey from Mr W. Plank’s original design and on Palm Sunday 1930 the Duchess of Beaufort unveiled a stone recording the completion of the church in its final form. On the following Holy Saturday, bishop Headlam dedicated the completed church to the glory of GOD under the name of St Stephen. The church continued to serve the parish faithfully until its closure in 2010.

2010: The last service

The last service at St. Stephen’s was held on September 1st 2010. Bishop Michael led the service, with the Rev Gilly Hubbard, Archdeacon Geoffrey Sidaway, Rev Ricarda Witcombe and Sister Cynthia Kerr (Church Army).

History compiled by Brian Rose – September 2009

Sunday service times:

08:00 Holy Communion

10:00 Family Communion

Tuesday service times:

08:50 Lectio Divina

Thursday service times:

10:00 Holy Communion

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