A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.
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In 1865, owing largely to the efforts of Bartholomew Yates of Lawley House farm, (fn. 1) a chapel of ease was completed on a site given by the Coalbrookdale Co. and Lord Forester. (fn. 2) Building costs were borne by Henry Dickinson, a partner in the Coalbrookdale Co., (fn. 3) Mrs. Mary Jones (née Darby), (fn. 4) and others and the chapel was consecrated the same year. (fn. 5) From 1865 it was licensed for baptisms, marriages, and burials. (fn. 6) In 1867 a consolidated chapelry was assigned to it, (fn. 7) comprising Lawley township and the north-east part of Little Wenlock parish. (fn. 8) The living, a perpetual curacy in the bishop's gift, (fn. 9) became a titular vicarage in 1868. (fn. 10) The last vicar resigned in 1962. A priest-in-charge was appointed from 1965 (fn. 11) to 1975, when Lawley became a district in the new parish of Central Telford. (fn. 12) Thereafter Lawley was in the immediate pastoral charge of the successive rectors of Central Telford. (fn. 13)
In 1864 Lord Forester and the Coalbrookdale Co. gave 12 a. of land (fn. 14) but by 1884 there was no glebe (fn. 15) other than the 3 a. of churchyard and vicarage grounds. (fn. 16) In 1867 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners granted £10 a year to meet a benefaction (fn. 17) and in 1870 the living was said to be worth £100 a year. (fn. 18) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners gave £85 a year in 1874 and tithe rent charge of £186 a year gross from the former endowment of Wellington prebend. (fn. 19) The vicar's net income was given as £250 in 1885. (fn. 20) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners granted an augmentation in 1918 (fn. 21) and his net income was £279 in 1932. (fn. 22) The vicarage house was built south of the church in 1865. (fn. 23) The priest-in-charge became rector of Central Telford in 1975 and moved to the new Hollinswood estate (in Dawley) in 1976. Thereafter the house remained in diocesan use, but became vacant in 1983. (fn. 24)
Thomas Ragg the first incumbent, 1865-81, was a self-educated divine and poet, already well known before his ordination in 1858. He had earlier been offered ministries by nonconformist congregations. (fn. 25) Two long incumbencies covered most of the succeeding period: G. H. White's 1882-1917 (fn. 26) and Arnold Clay's 1935-62. (fn. 27) J. R. Edwards, 1917-29, (fn. 28) was Evangelical but his successors were Anglo-Catholic. (fn. 29)
The church of ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST (fn. 30) was designed by John Ladds in the Gothic style. It is of red and yellow brick with stone dressings and comprises a chancel with apse, north chapel (used by 1905 as a vestry), south vestry (used as a boiler house), and southwest turret and spire, and a nave with gallery and south porch. (fn. 31) In 1915 there was one bell of 1865. (fn. 32)