Despite being a relatively young church in comparison to others in Gloucester, St Barnabas has a fascinating history, built at a time of rapid growth in Tuffley and in war. From origins in an abandoned school to the striking building we know it as today, read on to find out more.
"We hope that this city of Gloucester could be built up as one which is in every way beautiful for men to live in, with well-built houses – small maybe, but comfortable and suitable for everyone within its boundaries; with its slums cleared away, with its streets and roads well fitted for the work which has to be done on them. In connection with that I venture to think that the Church has done and is playing its part."
Ven A.J. Hodson - Archdeacon of Gloucester
Preaching at the Inauguration of the Church site
“As he looked back over the 10 years he was very conscious of the debt one owed to the congregation for their loyalty and devotion. What had been accomplished was due to that fact. There were still much more to be done and great sacrifices would have to be made if they were to accomplish what they desired. It could only be done with the same spirit which had animated the congregation in the past; only with the same effort could they hope to go forward with the building up of the church".
A retelling of Rev Lambert expressing his views on his time as Vicar of St Barnabas. 1940
Rev Thomas (Tommy) Lambert
Rev Lambert is largely attributed to the building of the permanent church. He was ordained deacon and priest in the Diocese of Sheffield in 1914 and 1915 respectively and travelled to the West Indies in 1917. In 1922, he returned to England and was placed in Tewkesbury Abbey until 1928 where he was removed to Tuffley as Priest-In-Charge prior to ordination as Vicar in 1930.
Rev Lambert was Chaplain to two mayors (H.G. Williams and H Cole) and was a member of the Diocesan Board of Finances and chairman of the Diocesan Sunday Religious Education Committee. He took a leading part in the local organisation of the Sunday School exhibition held at Shire Hall in 1931 and was played an active role in supporting the homeless.
There is less information on his wife “Mrs Lambert”, who was described as “always being active in raising money for parish fetes and fairs”. She was an enrolling member of the Mother’s Union and helped to found the Young Wives Group. Rev Lambert described his wife as “his severest critic and greatest help”. Rev and Mrs Lambert had four sons; Sidney, Donald and Roy.
"Mr Evans [Churchwarden] said that if the parishioners could have given him the “freedom” of Tuffley they would have done so. They did the next best thing. There was no scroll and no casket – they handed him the key of the church, the key he has used since the church was built. Canon Lambert expressed appreciation of the honour and humorously remarked “I hope your new vicar will not object as he has the right to do so I believe”
Canon Lambert added that he was not quite sure of the legal position regarding the key, but he thought that in the circumstances, all would be well."
Gloucester Journal, 1951
Of course, there have been a number of Vicars since Rev Lambert that have all made their mark in contributing to the life of St Barnabas and to the parish.