Church sacrificed in parish reform as St Matthew’s merges with St Oswald’s

MHRA-04-10-11 CHURCH OCT04 (3)'St Matthews Chuch, Rugby.
MHRA-04-10-11 CHURCH OCT04 (3)'St Matthews Chuch, Rugby.

A HISTORIC church in the heart of Rugby could be officially closed within weeks.

St Matthew’s Church in Warwick Street has been put forward for closure following the move to combine it with its neighbouring parish church of St Oswald’s.

Parish priest the Rev Martin Saxby said: “We haven’t had worship at St Matthew’s for over a year now. The building needs a lot of work and the decision has been made to combine St Matthew’s and St Oswald’s. We want to improve the St Oswald’s in Lawford Road to better serve the community.”

Under the Pastoral Measure 1983, the Church Commissioners have prepared draft paperwork to close St Matthew’s, which was built in 1841.

Rev Saxby said: “There is a lot of sadness for lots of people leaving St Matthew’s. There are a lot of memories there.

“The vast majority think it’s the right way forward.”

The combined congregations of around more than 400 now meet at St Oswald’s for four services on a Sunday. The church will now be known as St Matthew’s and St Oswald’s.

Rev Saxby said: “We will be looking at extending the building in Lawford Road in the next few years and want to make it a real focal point of New Bilton.”

The future of St Matthew’s church has not yet been decided.

Members of the public are invited to share their views on the matter. A consultation document can be found at either church or at Rugby library.

Representations must be made by the end of the consultation period on November 4.