A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 9, Burton-Upon-Trent. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2003.
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ST. JOHN THE DIVINE
From 1847 services were held in the National school in Horninglow village, licensed at the request of the incumbent of Holy Trinity, in Burton. There was an afternoon congregation of 60 adults on Census Sunday 1851, besides Sunday school children. (fn. 7) A church, paid for mainly by voluntary subscriptions, was opened in 1866 and served a district chapelry within Holy Trinity ecclesiastical parish. The area covered Horninglow township except for the Wetmore area on the east side of the Birmingham-Derby railway line. (fn. 8)
The bishop's consecration sentence gave the original dedication as St. John the Evangelist, but the present dedication to St. John the Divine was in use by 1911. (fn. 9) The change was presumably made by Thomas Lewis during whose incumbency as vicar (1910-25) services became Anglo-Catholic in nature: he installed a rood screen as a memorial to the dead of the First World War, to which statues of the Virgin Mary and St. John were added in 1928. (fn. 10)
The living, which was a vicarage, was initially worth £150 a year, rising to £290 by 1872, and the income came mainly from an endowment given by a local farmer, John Hopkins, and his brother-in-law William Hopkins of Dunstall Hall, in Tatenhill. (fn. 11) William was named the patron, and he nominated his son-in-law, John Auden, as the first incumbent. On his death in 1873, William bequeathed the patronage to Auden, whose wife Sarah became the patron after her husband's death in 1876. (fn. 12) After her death in 1925, the patronage was vested in trustees, still the patrons in association with the bishop in 1999. (fn. 13)
No vicarage house was provided in the endowment, and the 'parsonage' that Auden occupied in 1868 was presumably the house in Horninglow later bequeathed to Sarah Auden by her father, William Hopkins. (fn. 14) The present vicarage house was built in 1910 a short distance north of the church in Rolleston Road. (fn. 15)
The National school in Horninglow Road North, west of the church, became a parish institute and reading room after it was replaced by a board school in 1876. A new room was added in 1887. (fn. 16) The present parish room in Rolleston Road, built at the same time as the vicarage house in 1910. (fn. 17) A church hall was opened in 1949 on a site to the north-east. (fn. 18)
The church was designed by Edward Holmes of Birmingham in a Geometrical style and consists of a chancel with north vestry, a nave of five bays, north and south aisles, and an engaged southwest tower with spire. It is built of brick faced externally with cream Coxbench stone and rendered internally with plaster and dressings of Bath stone. The nave arcades have octagonal piers with heavy, crocketed capitals and arches of blue York and red Alton stone in bands, and the high and wide chancel arch rests on corbels with short, detached stone shafts. The east window depicting the life of St. John the Evangelist is by William Warrington of London. (fn. 19) The vestry was extended northwards in 1911, (fn. 20) and in 1928 the east end of the south aisle was fitted out as a Lady chapel with a memorial window for Sarah Auden depicting St. Chad and St. Hilda with Celtic motifs. (fn. 1) The font is at the west end. A peal of four steel bells was increased to six in 1875-6. (fn. 2)
A burial ground beside the church was extended in 1898, 1911, and 1923. (fn. 3)
St. Chad's church in Hunter Street originated as a school-church opened from St. John's in 1883 to serve the developing area on either side of Horninglow Road. (fn. 4) The name St. Chad's was first used from 1903, when the church was assigned its own ecclesiastical district between the canal and the railway line, stretching from the Stretton boundary to Dallow Street and Victoria Road. The living was a vicarage, and its advowson was vested in the bishop of Lichfield, still the patron in 1999. (fn. 5)
The living was endowed by grants from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, evidently in response to a benefaction from Lord Burton, and was worth £300 a year by 1908. (fn. 6) The present vicarage house in Hunter Street was built probably in 1905. (fn. 7a)
A mission room known as St. Chad's Hall had been opened at the south end of Victoria Crescent by 1906. It continued in use apparently until the mid 1960s. (fn. 8a)
The present church, paid for entirely by Lord Burton (d. 1909), was consecrated in 1910, having taken three years to build. (fn. 9a) Of red Hollington stone, it was designed in Decorated style by G. F. Bodley (d. 1907) and completed after his death by C. G. Hare. Considered by Nikolaus Pevsner to be 'one of Bodley's late masterpieces', and described by the poet John Betjeman as 'a cathedral facing a dull street', (fn. 10a) the church is dominated by an almost free-standing north-west tower with vaulted porch through which the nave is approached by a three-bayed, rib-vaulted passage. The main plan of the church comprises a chancel with projecting Lady chapel to the north, and to the south an organ chamber and clergy vestry from which a passage leads to an octagonal choir vestry, a fivebayed nave with north and south aisles, and a southwest porch. The nave arcades have tall, slender piers, chamfered arches, and moulded capitals, and the wide chancel arch is supported on high corbels. The Decorated chancel screen is by Bodley, as is the stone reredos in low relief in the Lady chapel. The floors of both the chancel and the Lady chapel are inlaid with green and white marble, and the chancel floor also has three roundels of blue sodalite near the altar. The font is at the west end. The tower entrance has a Decorated doorway, with a statue of St. Chad dressed as a 19thcentury bishop in a niche above it, and there is a statue of George Selwyn, bishop of Lichfield (d. 1878) in a niche over the south-west porch. The exterior west wall has statues of saints. (fn. 1a) Although a reredos for the main altar was planned originally, one was not installed until 1960. Made of wood and designed by Bodley and Hare, it depicts Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, flanked by St. Chad and St. John the Divine. (fn. 2a) The plate, given by Lord Burton, consists of two chalices, a paten, and two almsdishes, all silver-gilt and made in London in 1796. (fn. 3a)
The school-church of 1883 was designed in a Gothic style by Giles and Brookhouse of Derby. Of brick with stone dressings, it has a west bellcote. Retained as a church hall after 1910, it was extended in 1995 and converted into a parish-run community centre. (fn. 4a)
St. Aidan's church in Shobnall Road originated as a mission church opened from St. John's in 1888 and paid for by the owners of the nearby Albion brewery in Burton. (fn. 5a) So called only from its consecration in 1898, (fn. 6a) St. Aidan's was assigned its own ecclesiastical district in 1916 out of parts of St. John's, Christ Church, in Burton, and St. Saviour's, Branston. (fn. 7b) The advowson was vested in the bishop of Lichfield. (fn. 8b) The living, which was a vicarage, was suspended in 1994, and since that date the church has been served by a resident minister who also does duty at St. Modwen's, in Burton, as a town centre chaplain. (fn. 9b) The living was endowed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and was worth £300 by 1924. (fn. 10b) The present vicarage house in Shobnall Road was given by a parishioner in 1941. (fn. 11a)
Designed in Gothic style by R. E. Carpenter of Burton, (fn. 12a) the church is of brick with stone dressings and consists of a chancel with north vestry, a nave, and a west porch. The font is at the north-west corner of the nave, and there is a single bell in a bellcote at the west end. Part of the churchyard beside Shobnall brook has been converted into a nature reserve.
The Wetmore area of Horninglow township became part of Stretton ecclesiastical district in 1873. In 1969 it was transferred to the newly-formed parish of Burton-on-Trent. (fn. 13a)