It was with greatest regret that the death on February
11 was announced of the Revd Roger Thomas. A greatly loved clergyman,
Father Roger had been Rector of Frenchay and Vicar of Winterbourne
Down for 21 years until his retirement last summer.
He was an enthusiastic and gifted violinist, deriving much pleasure
from both the orchestral and the chamber repertoire, and his
musicianship was something he shared with his wife Rosemary,
who is a singer and an organist. Roger, too, sang beautifully.
From July 1997 he was chairman of the Bristol branch of the Prayer
Book Society, and under his gentle and inspiring guidance it
Whether he was preaching or chairing a meeting, his characteristic
wisdom, generosity and humour were always in evidence. His knowledge
of the diocese, its churches and clergy, was profound, and he
was a fund of marvellous stories, which he told with a genuine
and most endearing twinkle.
Before going to Frenchay he had been at Hartcliffe, and before
that at Kington St Michael and Hardenhuish, Chippenham. At his
last Prayer Book Society committee meeting we were planning a
summer outing, which happens this year to be to Langley Burrell
and Hardenhuish, on the trail of the Victorian clergyman diarist
Part of the pleasure was to have been to have had Roger there,
in his former parish. That he will not now be with us will be
a particular reminder of the great sadness that we and all his
friends feel at his loss.
Secretary, Bristol Branch of the Prayer Book Society
Rosemary Thomas adds:
The family thanks clergy and lay people in the diocese for all
their cards and letters. I have had hundreds, and don't think
I can acknowledge them all individually. They have been really
appreciated by the whole family. Things people have said have
made us very proud.
The funeral sermon at St John the Baptist, Frenchay, was preached
by the Revd Philip Hughes, former Vicar of Ashton Keynes and
a long-time friend. Among his observations on his early life
Roger was a native Bristolian able, if required, to lapse
into the distinctive local lingo. He was born..on July 23, 1937,
and spent his early years at Elmore Road, near where the tram
lines ended at Horfield Common. He was baptised at Holy Trinity.
(Toward the end of a lively and mischievous childhood) he attended
St Michael, Bishopston with his grandmother, and became a server.
Later, when he spoke to Canon (later Archdeacon) Leslie Williams,
about his desire to become a priest, the Vicar told him that
he had been waiting for some time to hear him say this...