Sts Thomas’ Newport Minster
There has been a church at the heart of Newport for well over 800 years and it has always been dedicated to St Thomas, though the choice of which St Thomas has changed over that time.
We believe our church first gained its name around 1175, when a new chapel was dedicated to St Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury murdered in 1170 and then declared a saint by Pope Alexander III in 1173.
However, when King Henry VIII dissolved the old monastic orders during the reformation, Thomas Becket was declared a traitor and our sensible parishoners switched to one more popular with the Tudor King: Thomas the Apostle or Doubting Thomas. An apostle of Christ, he is also known as Didymus, the Twin and the Apostle of India.
So, which Thomas to choose? When the church was rebuilt in 1854 Prince Albert laid a foundation stone that dedicated the church jointly to both saints and we now have a Minster that proudly goes by the name Sts Thomas.
The two Saints Thomas can be found on either side of the west door of the church.
The Functions of the Minster
Sts Thomas was dedicated a Minster at Easter 2008. It is an honorary title to reflect its important role in Island and civic life and signifies service not status.
The Corporation pews in our church mark the spot where the annual elections of the Newport Borough bailiffs were held from the time of its Royal Charter. They are still used by Isle of Wight Councillors.
Isle of Wight Royal Heritage Trail
During 2017 Newport Minster has been involved in setting up a new Island trail which links Carisbrook Castle, Osborne and St Mildreds’s Church, Whippingham, through their shared Royal Heritage.
New interpretation boards have been installed in the Minster as part of this project. Visit the Minster to see the rest.