The Church of St Matthias’
St Matthias’ is the oldest of the three churches in our Parish. In response to a dramatic growth in population the first St Matthias’ was built on the Link Meadow, part of the Malvern Chase, on land owned by the Somers Family.
Construction began in 1844. Local builder George McCann was employed to create the designs of up and coming architect, Harvey Eginton. Completed in 1846, the church could accommodate a congregation of 300.
The growing population of brick workers, quarrymen, coachmen, grooms, domestic servants, shopworkers, railway workers and gas workers soon meant that the church was too small. Sir George Gilbert Scott made the first alteration with a new south aisle and tower in 1858-60 but this too, wasn’t enough. So in 1880-2 the church was almost entirely reconstructed to designs by London architect F.W. Hunt.
Part of Scott’s south aisle survives, with materials from the first church used wherever possible in Hunt’s scheme. The final major addition to the church was the tower and belfry, added in 1899.
Services at St Matthias’
|Traditional Said Eucharist
|1st & 3rd Sundays
|1st & 3rd Sundays
Two fascinating facts… On the front pew a plaque ‘Amor vincit omnia’ records the time when the church was broken into and vestments torn and burnt, by opponents of the Oxford Movement in the early Twentieth Century (NEED PROPER DATE). Heroic women embroiders of the church’s Embroiderers Guild worked through the night to restore them in time for worship the next day.
The parclose screens enclosing the Lady Chapel are very special. Made in the workshop of Robert ‘Mousey’ Thompson, the ‘Mouseman’ of Kilburn Yorkshire, the handmade oak screens each have a tiny hand-carved mouse, complete with wooden whiskers, carved into the skirting. Enjoyed by young and old since they were installed in 1934, the mice feature in the children’s story ‘The Angels of Malvern Link’ published in 2021 (available via the Parish Office, from this website and from Malvern Book Co-operative).
Malvern Link with Cowleigh Church Guidebook
The heritage guidebook to the churches of Malvern Link with Cowleigh is available via the parish office at a price of £2 plus p+p.
Historic church news clippings
21 May 1909
Concerning the protestant Mr Kensit and the Wycliffe Preachers movement against “Ritualism” in the Church of England. Clipping from the Church Times
10 August 1906
Anti-Ritualistic raid on the church. Widely reported, this cutting from the Bicester Herald. Northern Irish papers took a particular interest in this story.