A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.
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It was believed in the early 14th century that an ancient church at Lilleshall was the first resting place of the remains of St. Alkmund (d. c. 800) before their translation to Derby. (fn. 1) The font, presumed to have been made for Lilleshall, seems to indicate that a church existed by the early 12th century, and the dedication to St. Michael, though not traced in medieval records, may denote an early religious site. (fn. 2)
Between 1161 and c. 1170 the canons of Lilleshall received episcopal licence to appropriate the church's revenues, (fn. 3) and the benefice was a vicarage by 1238. (fn. 4) The earliest recorded presentation of a vicar by the canons occurred in 1314. (fn. 5) In 1369 and 1519, during abbatial vacancies, the patronage was exercised by the Crown. (fn. 6) In 1538 the canons surrendered the advowson to the Crown, (fn. 7) which sold it in 1543 to Sir Edward Aston of Tixall (Staffs.), (fn. 8) who immediately conveyed it to James Leveson, lord of the manor. (fn. 9) Except during the period 1823-33, when it was kept by the 2nd marquess of Stafford (fn. 10) (cr. duke of Sutherland 1833), the advowson was held by the lords of the manor until c. 1920, when the 5th duke sold it to Sir John Leigh of Lilleshall Hall, Sheriffhales. (fn. 11) It passed from him c. 1924 to H. B. Rudolph of Manor Farm, Sheriffhales, (fn. 12) and in 1945 from him to the bishop of Lichfield, (fn. 13) the patron in 1979. (fn. 14)
At first the vicars seem to have had no glebe. Before 1286 William of Preston (vicar by 1275) (fn. 15) paid the abbot for a lifetime lease of a plot of land between the 'Weald Moor field' (perhaps the later Moor field) and Lilleshall village, 6 a. of adjacent land, and an arable assart (fn. 16) with adjacent meadow; he was to pay rent and tithe. (fn. 17) Those holdings, at least in part, eventually became the glebe. (fn. 18) In 1286 the bishop assigned to the vicar a house, a garden, and an assarted croft with a meadow at the end, all formerly William of Preston's; accustomed rights of common; the small tithes, the tithes of all gardens and crofts cultivated by hand, the tithes of pannage, and the hay tithes of Donnington, Lilleshall, and Honnington; and all oblations, altar dues, and mortuaries. (fn. 19) Two years later the abbot conceded to the vicar haybote, housebote, and firebote from Lilleshall wood, the corn tithes of the vicar's assart, and herbage for his horse in a plot of land. (fn. 20)
In 1291 the church was valued at £4 13s. 4d. a year; (fn. 21) the small tithes were said in 1341 to make up £4 and glebe, oblations, and other payments 13s. 4d. (fn. 22) In 1535 the vicarage's gross annual value was put at £7. (fn. 23) By 1538 the abbot had leased the rectorial tithes to the vicar. (fn. 24) In 1646 Sir Richard Leveson had to settle £80 a year on the incumbent, out of rectorial tithes, (fn. 25) but that arrangement did not outlast the Interregnum. The annual value of the living was £25 in 1665 (fn. 26) and £40 c. 1693. (fn. 27)
The glebe (c. 11 a.) was not increased until 1748, but the vicars held a greater area as tenants. (fn. 28) In 1748 Earl Gower gave c. 30 a., (fn. 29) which was matched in 1750 by £200 from Queen Anne's Bounty. (fn. 30) The annual value in 1772 was c. £60. (fn. 31) In 1789 some 8 a. in Edgmond parish were bought for the living by Queen Anne's Bounty, (fn. 32) and in 1799 the vicar's income was £180 a year. (fn. 33) In 1818 some 28 a. of glebe were exchanged with the marquess of Stafford for an equal area in the parish, (fn. 34) so that the glebe (49 a.) was 'much improved'. In addition by 1805 (fn. 35) the vicar had the great tithes of 'Shelton's old farm' (fn. 36) (106 a.) (fn. 37) and surplice fees of £12 a year. The gross annual value was c. £340. (fn. 38) By 1845 for several years the 'Shelton' tithes had been commuted by agreement to an annual rent charge of £25, and the small tithes (except of the vicarial glebe) had been leased to the duke at £239 a year. (fn. 39) In 1845 the small tithes (except of the vicarial glebe) were commuted to £254 14s. 10d. Those of that proportion of the vicarial glebe not kept in hand were commuted by 1849 to a corresponding proportion of £6 7s. 6d., and the great tithes of the vicarial glebe had been merged in the vicar's freehold. (fn. 40) The Edgmond land was sold c. 1849. (fn. 41) In 1884 the gross annual income was c. £391. Rent from the glebe yielded £69. Gross tithe rent charge remained as in 1849, but £9 of it went to the vicar of Donnington Wood. The income from Queen Anne's Bounty was £25. Offerings, surplice fees, and mortuary fees brought in c. £10. (fn. 42) Nearly all the glebe was sold in 1915, (fn. 43) the tithe rent charge on that part having been merged that year in the freehold. (fn. 44) Small parcels of glebe were sold in 1946 and 1954. (fn. 45)
The vicarage house, south of the church, was burnt in the fire of 1585. (fn. 46) Described as 'small and ancient' in 1799, (fn. 47) the house was of three bays, timber-framed and tiled. (fn. 48) About 1817 (fn. 49) the vicar added two 'good parlours' (with bedrooms over), and a new barn, stable, and cow house. (fn. 50) The house was demolished in 1967 (fn. 51) and a new vicarage was completed on the site in 1968. (fn. 52)
No pre-Reformation vicar is known to have been at either university. Richard Nonyley, instituted 1413, (fn. 53) had a grown-up son in 1422. (fn. 54) John Longdon's incumbency, 1427-80, was exceptionally long. (fn. 55) William Jackson served 1535-58. (fn. 56) Thomas Millington (fn. 57) was in 1603 among the minority of the archdeaconry's clergy licensed to preach. (fn. 58) In 1614 he was accused of misconduct with three women. (fn. 59) In the years 1606-47 communion was given at Easter, Whitsun, All Saints, and Christmas. (fn. 60) In 1653, after the death of William Peake, (fn. 61) the parishioners tried to get Henry Oasland, the noted preacher, (fn. 62) as their minister, (fn. 63) but received instead Joseph Fisher, 'presented' by Humphrey Mackworth, governor of Shrewsbury. (fn. 64) Fisher was ordained priest by the bishop of Whithorn in 1661-2, (fn. 65) but remained only until 1663. (fn. 66) Henry Haughton, vicar 1663- 1710, (fn. 67) was noted by his bishop c. 1693 as an 'idle tippling man'; the archdeacon knew nothing of him except 'that he shits'. (fn. 68) Throughout the period 1672-98 communion was given five times a year, Palm Sunday and Good Friday having been substituted for All Saints. (fn. 69)
In 1772 Richard Ogle, vicar 1772-85, (fn. 70) was non-resident; he had an assistant curate with £30 a year and surplice fees, (fn. 71) and a curate was mentioned 1778-85. (fn. 72) In 1772 there were two Sunday services, one with a sermon, and prayers on feast days and in Lent. There were four communions a year, with 40-50 communicants. (fn. 73) J. C. Woodhouse, vicar 1785-1814 (fn. 74) and a noted pluralist, (fn. 75) was also non-resident. He lived in Donington parish in 1799, (fn. 76) where he was rector 1773-1833, (fn. 77) and became dean of Lichfield in 1807. (fn. 78) By 1787 Woodhouse had an assistant curate, and he continued to employ one. (fn. 79) In the late 1790s the curate lived in the vicarage. (fn. 80) The parish church was extensively repaired in Woodhouse's early years and he helped to promote the building of St. George's chapel, Pain's Lane. His curates included Thomas Moss (1791-3), (fn. 81) a minor author, (fn. 82) and Stephen Hartley (1794-1814). (fn. 83) By 1799 there was communion six times a year, with an average of 50 communicants; there were prayers every Sunday morning (with a sermon) and afternoon, and on festivals, on Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent, and every day in Holy Week. (fn. 84)
During the three incumbencies 1814-47 an assistant curate was employed only 1816-17 and 1835-43. (fn. 85) John Blunt (vicar 1815-43) (fn. 86) was by 1831 perpetual curate of Blurton (in Trentham, Staffs.) (fn. 87) but did not reside there. He was reported in 1824 to act at Lilleshall 'with great credit'. (fn. 88) Despite the existence of St. George's, the number of communicants at St. Michael's in 1824 and 1843 kept its 1799 level, though in 1824 there was communion only five times a year. Six times was usual again by 1843. By 1824 there was a sermon at both Sunday services. (fn. 89)
The opening of St. Matthew's, Donnington Wood, reduced the number of communicants at St. Michael's to an average of twenty by 1847, when there was communion four times a year. (fn. 90) One of the difficulties at St. Michael's was an insufficiency of free sittings; these were 'much wanted' by working people but in 1824 were confined to the north aisle. (fn. 91) In 1843 there was no accommodation for the poor. (fn. 92) St. Matthew's presumably satisfied some of the demand and at St. Michael's in 1851 the paucity of free seats (72) was blamed for reduced attendances. Average adult attendance on Sunday was then 170 in the morning, 110 in the afternoon. (fn. 93) In the 1860s the aisle was exclusively occupied by working-class families. (fn. 94)
The vicar 1847-69 was H. G. de Bunsen, (fn. 95) son of Baron Bunsen. (fn. 96) He employed an assistant curate throughout (fn. 97) but did some of the duty himself. (fn. 98) By 1851 Bunsen lived at the Old Hall and his curate at the vicarage. (fn. 99) S. E. Marsden, curate 1858-61, (fn. 100) was bishop of Bathurst (Australia) 1869-85. (fn. 101) In Bunsen's time the ecclesiastical parish was reduced by the creation of Donnington Wood and St. George's parishes, and later vicars acted without assistant clergy. (fn. 102)
An iron mission church dedicated to St. Chad was opened in 1888 near the Granville colliery. In 1977 it was re-erected at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, Blists Hill, (fn. 103) after several years' disuse. (fn. 104) Another, St. John the Evangelist's, was built at Muxton in 1894 (fn. 105) at the duke of Sutherland's expense (fn. 106) and was still in use in 1980. (fn. 107) A brick garrison church, built by prisoners of war, opened at Donnington in 1948. It was independent of the parish and diocese, being under the archbishop of Canterbury's ordinary jurisdiction. The registers begin in 1948 and are complete. (fn. 108)
The parish church of ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS consists of a chancel, nave with north aisle (with projecting north vestry) and south porch, and west tower, all of sandstone. There is no chancel arch. The dedication to St. Michael was recorded in 1807 (fn. 109) but in 1856 was given as St. Michael and All Angels. (fn. 110)
The earliest datable structural feature is the late 12th-century south doorway of the nave. (fn. 111) Probably contemporary was a round-headed window found in 1856 in the north wall of the nave near its west end and afterwards removed. (fn. 112) A doorway, blocked by 1787, near the east end of the south wall of the nave, may be of the same period. (fn. 113) The chancel was probably rebuilt in the 13th century, its surviving features of that period being a single lancet and, possibly, the priest's doorway, both in the south wall. Perhaps contemporary was a lancet, since destroyed, in the south wall of the nave, west of the south doorway. The aisle was added in the early 14th century and was joined to the nave by an arcade of four bays cut through the north wall of the nave. The trussed-rafter roof of the aisle, although much restored, may be original. A square-headed lowside window near the east end of the north wall of the aisle probably dates from the 15th century. A large east window and square-headed north and south windows were put into the chancel in the 15th or earlier 16th century. Indeed the whole chancel seems to have been rebuilt at that period. The roof, continuous over chancel and nave, is believed to be 15thcentury. The west tower of three stages was almost certainly completed between 1538 and 1553. One of two stone shields set in its south wall is charged with a goat's head erased, the crest of the Levesons of Lilleshall. (fn. 114) Two 13th-century capitals are re-used high up on its outside west wall. The tower was presumably completed by 1553 when the church had three 'great' bells. (fn. 115) The band of quatrefoils below the tower parapet is characteristic of local late-medieval west towers. (fn. 116)
Several improvements were carried out in the later 17th century. An east-facing gallery was built over the west end of the aisle in 1657 at Sir Richard Leveson's expense. His widow Katherine beautified the chancel, adorned the pulpit and communion table, and gave £100 towards further improvements. (fn. 117) They may have included two large dormers in the south side of the nave roof; one of them was dated 1667. (fn. 118)
In the early 1790s, mostly in 1792-3, (fn. 119) several alterations were made, presumably according to the plan drawn up in 1791-2 by a Mr. Bishop. (fn. 120) Two triangular buttresses were built to support the outward-leaning south wall of the nave and the porch was replaced. A gallery was built at the west end of the nave and was lit by a small south dormer; by 1838 the gallery was used by children. The space beneath was lightened by replacing the lancet at the west end of the south wall of the nave with a square-headed window. In 1794-5 the owners of the three small freeholds (fn. 121) entitled to seats in the aisle gallery were bought out by the parish (fn. 122) and it was turned over to the use of the psalm singers, (fn. 123) formed by 1791. (fn. 124) Several medieval windows were fitted with casements, their mullions having been removed. The roof was coved in, and the church was repaved with bricks and repewed, except that a few ancient benches were spared at the west end of the nave. In 1792-3 (fn. 125) the ancient font was removed, and in 1795 stood under a nearby farmyard pump. (fn. 126)
In 1856 the church was restored under John Norton's direction. The south wall of the nave was rebuilt, windows were inserted there and in the chancel and aisle, and a new south porch was provided. The church was repaved throughout. The galleries were taken down. The roof timbers were exposed and the dormers removed. A fifth arch was opened in the north wall of the nave, west of the medieval arcade. In 1897 a vestry was built, projecting north from the aisle and entered from it by the medieval north doorway. Until then, and since at least 1824, the west end of the aisle, formerly underneath the gallery, had been the vestry, and in 1824 it was also a schoolroom. After the First World War a memorial window was inserted in the north wall of the aisle, immediately east of the vestry.
The richly ornamented font is 12th-century. It was restored to the west end of the church in 1826 and furnished with a new pedestal, (fn. 127) so replacing an 'elegant marble vase' of 1799-1800 (fn. 128) that had stood within the communion rail. In 1856 the font was placed on a square platform set with medieval tiles from the chancel floor. A large monument to Sir Richard and Katherine Leveson stands against the north wall of the chancel. Probably the work of Edward and Joshua Marshall, (fn. 129) it was set up at the cost of Francis Leveson-Fowler (d. 1667) and both effigies were made before 1669. (fn. 130) James I's arms, set up in 1605-6, (fn. 131) were displaced by those of the Commonwealth in 1652-3. (fn. 132) Charles II's arms, painted on wood, were formerly fixed above a tiebeam in the chancel roof, but in 1856 were placed in front of the tower arch.
The stained glass, including work by Michael & Arthur O'Connor and John Hardman & Co., and most of the furniture and fittings date from 1856 or later. The five benefaction boards (one dated 1676) were in the church by 1795, (fn. 133) and the stone tables of Commandments flanked the east window by 1824. The east window glass in the aisle, the 'working men's window', (fn. 134) was inserted in 1860 at the expense of local working men. It is obstructed by the organ (1891) given by the marchioness of Stafford. When, in 1970, the aisle became St. Chad's chapel, it was furnished with an altar table (c. 1900) from a West Bromwich church (fn. 135) and a communion rail (1940) from Donnington Roman Catholic church.
There was a tower clock by 1638 (fn. 136) and the present mechanism dates from 1966. A sundial at the east end of the chancel wall was in situ by 1787.
In 1553 the church had a silver chalice and paten, parcel gilt. (fn. 137) In 1964 the plate consisted of a pair of silver chalices and patens of 1661, a silver paten of 1700, and a silver flagon of 1871. (fn. 138) The registers begin in 1653 (fn. 139) and are complete thereafter. In 1553 there were three great bells, of 'one accord', and a sanctus bell. (fn. 140) The six bells present in 1979 dated from 1825 (fn. 141) and had been recast in 1963. (fn. 142) The ancient churchyard is roughly square. An additional graveyard on the opposite side of the village street was consecrated in 1908. (fn. 143)
A chapel of ease dedicated to ST. GEORGE was consecrated in 1806 on land at Pain's Lane provided by the marquess of Stafford. (fn. 144) The cost of erection was met by the Lilleshall Co., by John Bishton and partners (lessees of mines and works at Snedshill), who gave £200, and by trustees of the late Isaac Hawkins of Burton-upon-Trent, who gave £800. The vicar of Lilleshall, J. C. Woodhouse, a partner in the Lilleshall Co. by 1807, (fn. 145) 'contributed handsomely' and actively promoted the new foundation, which was intended to serve the workpeople of the neighbouring industrial district. (fn. 146) In 1806 the chapel was licensed for baptisms and burials (fn. 147) and in 1837 for marriages. (fn. 148)
In 1807 the curacy was filled on the nomination of the vicar of Lilleshall (fn. 149) but in 1815 the patronage was vested in the marquess of Stafford. (fn. 150) It descended thereafter with the patronage of Lilleshall church (fn. 151) until c. 1920, when the 5th duke of Sutherland sold it to Sir John Leigh. (fn. 152) By 1925 it had passed to Sir Offley Wakeman, who then conveyed it to the bishop of Lichfield, (fn. 153) the patron in 1979. (fn. 154) By 1831 the living was a perpetual curacy. (fn. 155) In 1861 Pain's Lane, comprising parts of Lilleshall, Shifnal, and Wrockwardine Wood ecclesiastical parishes, became a consolidated chapelry. (fn. 156) The incumbents were titular vicars from 1868. (fn. 157) The ecclesiastical parish was sometimes officially known as Pain's Lane until 1915 or later, (fn. 158) but by then the name St. George's was more current, even in official usage, (fn. 159) and had long been preferred locally. (fn. 160) In 1982 the living was united with that of Priorslee, with the vicar of Shifnal and the bishop as joint patrons. (fn. 161)
In 1806 the curacy was endowed by the marquess of Stafford with 1¼ a. of land in Steelhouse Lane, Wolverhampton; all tithes, offerings, and fees were reserved to the vicar and parish officers of Lilleshall. (fn. 162) The curacy was augmented by Queen Anne's Bounty in 1808, 1809, and 1810, each time with £200. In 1815 the marquess gave an augmentation of £200, matched by £300 from Queen Anne's Bounty, from which another £200 was received in 1816. (fn. 163) By 1824 the curate was also receiving £100 a year from the estate of John Bishton (d. 1809), who had stipulated that it should be paid as long as any of his descendants was associated with the Lilleshall Co.'s coal and iron works. In 1824 the curate's gross income, including £5 from the Wolverhampton land, was about £120. (fn. 164) From 1843 he had the marriage fees. (fn. 165) The Bishton stipend was still being paid in 1843 when the living was worth £147 a year gross, (fn. 166) but by 1851 it had ceased and the curate was reduced to £37 a year from Queen Anne's Bounty, £3 from fees, and £5 from 1 a. of glebe, (fn. 167) presumably the Wolverhampton land.
In 1855 several new endowments were made: £200 each from the Lilleshall Co. and the Diocesan Society, £240 from private donations, land worth £315 from the 2nd duke of Sutherland, and £200 from Queen Anne's Bounty. (fn. 168) The glebe was enlarged in 1862 by 1¼ a. next to the parsonage (fn. 169) and in 1870 amounted to some 3 a. (fn. 170) By 1884 the vicar's gross annual income, some £136, included £48 4s. 4d. from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, £39 7s. 4d. from Queen Anne's Bounty, c. £24 from pew rents, and c. £15 from surplice fees; (fn. 171) in addition the glebe was worth an estimated £10 a year. (fn. 172) Benefactions of 1885-6 added over £28 a year to the vicar's income (fn. 173) and by 1891 it had reached some £220 net. (fn. 174)
Until the 1850s the perpetual curate or, when he was non-resident, the assistant curate lived in a house at Snedshill, in Shifnal parish. It was not held as glebe. (fn. 175) A new house was completed c. 1858 (fn. 176) just north of Watling Street, within Lilleshall parish. The large three-storeyed brick building, plain but with Gothic details, remained the vicarage until the living was united with Priorslee in 1982. (fn. 177)
The first curate, C. R. Cameron (1807-31), (fn. 178) was also perpetual curate of Wombridge 1808- 56. (fn. 179) He was an Evangelical (fn. 180) and his wife wrote religious tales for children and moral tracts for working people. (fn. 181) By 1824 there were two Sunday services, each with a sermon, and communion four times a year attended by about thirty. There were 400 seats, 350 of them free. (fn. 182) From 1831 to 1836 Cameron was assistant curate at St. George's to his successor, (fn. 183) his son-in-law (fn. 184) J. H. C. Moor. (fn. 185) In 1843 Moor was living in Warwickshire, employing as assistant curate Robert Coalbank. (fn. 186) Coalbank eventually succeeded Moor and remained until 1858. (fn. 187) A strong Calvinist and 'right worthily beloved', Coalbank gathered a number of 'attached workers' in the choir and Sunday school. (fn. 188) In 1843 he was holding additional Wednesday evening services and celebrating communion monthly. Communicants had increased to forty or fifty. (fn. 189) By 1851 average Sunday morning attendance was c. 200; on Sunday evenings it was as many as 400-500. (fn. 190) In 1862 the new church was designed to provide 700 sittings, 500 of them free. (fn. 191) Until at least 1903 Coalbank's successors were assisted by a curate, (fn. 192) and one was licensed in 1934. (fn. 193) In 1918 the services were 'very musical' and the congregation was 'accustomed to ritual'. It was admitted, however, that nonconformity in the parish was stronger than the church. (fn. 194)
The first chapel was a plain brick building in the form of an equal-armed cross, and had simple pointed windows with Y tracery. (fn. 195) A narrow tower of three stages projected west from the west end of the nave and served as a porch with vestry above. The badly constructed building was quickly attacked by damp and mining subsidence. Costly repairs were carried out (fn. 196) but eventually, when the new parish was created, it seemed best to build a new church on the site. Consecrated in 1862 as a memorial to the 2nd duke, (fn. 197) the new church cost some £4,000, almost all of it privately donated. (fn. 198)
Designed by G. E. Street, the second church consists of a tunnel-vaulted chancel with north vestry, aisled and clerestoried nave of four bays, and a south porch under a tower. The style is late 13th-century and its handling, and the use of contrasted brick and grey and red stone are held to place the building among Street's most original early works. (fn. 199) The tower was completed only in 1929: designed by Bertram Butler, (fn. 200) it had a pyramidal roof instead of the stone spire intended by Street. (fn. 201) A carillon was installed in it in 1929. (fn. 202) In 1964 the communion plate consisted of a modern silver chalice and some Victorian plated pieces. (fn. 203) The registers begin in 1806 (fn. 204) and are complete.
A chapel of ease at Donnington Wood, dedicated to ST. MATTHEW and intended to serve the surrounding colliery district, (fn. 205) was licensed in 1845. (fn. 206) The site was provided by the 2nd duke of Sutherland, who also met the cost of erection and furnishing, some £1,700. The church was consecrated in 1850 (fn. 207) and was designed to provide 500 seats, all free. (fn. 208) There were baptisms there from 1845, burials from 1850, and marriages from 1851. (fn. 209) In 1845 the chapel was intended to be served by the vicar of Lilleshall or his curate (fn. 210) but in 1850 it was assigned a district within Lilleshall ecclesiastical parish. (fn. 211) In 1850 patronage of the living, a perpetual curacy (fn. 212) until 1868 when it became a titular vicarage, (fn. 213) was vested in the 2nd duke. (fn. 214) The advowson descended with Lilleshall manor until c. 1920 and was then acquired by Sir John Leigh. (fn. 215) By 1925 Sir Offley Wakeman was patron; he then conveyed it to the bishop of Lichfield, (fn. 216) still the patron in 1979. (fn. 217)
In 1850 the 2nd duke endowed the living with £1,000, (fn. 218) and in 1851 the fees arising at the chapel, until then reserved to the vicar of Lilleshall, (fn. 219) became payable to the perpetual curate of Donnington Wood. (fn. 220) In 1851 the incumbent's annual income was £45 from endowment, £1 10s. in fees, and £50 from unspecified sources. (fn. 221) A further endowment of £600 was given in 1853, (fn. 222) and in 1860 endowments of £400 by the duke of Sutherland and £200 by the Diocesan Society were made, matched by £200 from Queen Anne's Bounty. (fn. 223) By 1870 the annual value of the living was £218. (fn. 224) In 1884 the vicar was receiving £171 10s. net, and £9 out of the tithe rent charge of Lilleshall parish; there was no glebe, and no fees were taken for churchings, marriages, or funerals. (fn. 225) Until 1917 the dukes of Sutherland contributed £20 to the vicar's stipend but, with the sale of most of the 5th duke's Lilleshall property, it was decided in 1918 to reconsider the payment annually. (fn. 226)
The vicarage, an ancient timber-framed house, stood outside Donnington Wood ecclesiastical parish, on the north side of the Newport-Wellington road. It was not held as glebe but belonged to the successive patrons. (fn. 227) In 1983 a new vicarage was under construction in St. George's Road. (fn. 228)
In 1851 average Sunday attendance was sixty in the morning, three hundred in the evening. (fn. 229) The first incumbent, Thomas O'Regan, held the living until 1900. (fn. 230) Well respected, he influenced striking miners to return to work and to improve their conditions at home and at the pit. (fn. 231) He began to employ an assistant curate in the 1890s (fn. 232) and later went to live in Surrey. (fn. 233) None of his successors had an assistant curate, except in the years 1953-5 and 1961-5. (fn. 234) By 1953 weekday services were being held in a Lady chapel made in 1950 in the south transept. (fn. 235) In 1962 the church sustained a Sunday school, a youth club (ceased by 1979), (fn. 236) scouting groups, and a Mother's Union branch. (fn. 237)
The church, designed in the Early English style by George Gilbert Scott, consisted of chancel, transepts, and nave with west gallery, south porch, and west bellcot. (fn. 238) A north choir vestry and west baptistery were added c. 1965 (fn. 239) in the Grinshill sandstone of the original building. In 1964 the plate consisted of a silver chalice and paten of 1851, a silver gilt chalice and paten of 1960, and several pieces of modern silver. (fn. 240) The single bell (1953) replaced an earlier one. The registers begin in 1845 and are complete. (fn. 241)