A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7, the City of Birmingham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1964.
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Churches Built before 1800
1. The church of St. BARTHOLOMEW, Birmingham, was built in 1749, as a chapel of ease to St. Martin's. The site was given by a Birmingham ironmaster, John Jennens, whose wife gave £1,000 towards the building of the church, the rest of the sum required being raised by subscription. (fn. 1) The chapel became a perpetual curacy, the Rector of St. Martin's exercising the right of presentation. (fn. 2) In 1847 St. Bartholomew's became a parish church, a parish being assigned out of St. Martin's parish. (fn. 3) The living became a vicarage in 1868, the patronage remaining in the hands of the Rector of St. Martin's until 1905, when it was transferred to the bishop. (fn. 4) The incumbent's income was said to be £100 in 1781, (fn. 5) and £300 in 1915. (fn. 6) In 1937 the church was closed, and in 1939 the benefice was united with that of Bishop Ryder's church to form a new united benefice. The parish was split into four parts which were added to the parishes of St. Philip, St. Gabriel, which had been formed out of St. Bartholomew's in 1869, St. Martin and Bishop Ryder. (fn. 7)
When St. Bartholomew's was built it stood on the eastern edge of the town, on land that had been arable in 1731, (fn. 8) but houses soon grew up around it. (fn. 9) A map of 1810 shows the church in the middle of a well populated area. (fn. 10) The canal, however, and later the railway and goods yards, were near the church, and dwellings gave place to warehouses. The church was able to supply the needs of the small parish which at its greatest was only about 100 acres: unlike most neighbouring parishes, St. Bartholomew's had no mission room or chapel. An organ placed in the church in 1806 (fn. 11) seems to have been frequently used early in the 19th century for musical performances. (fn. 12)
The church, in Masshouse Lane, was built of brick with stone dressings in the Classical style, a plain rectangle in plan. William and David Hiorne were probably the architects. (fn. 13) It was considered noteworthy that the chancel lay a little north of due east. (fn. 14)
The church had gabled ends, with an ornamental urn at each angle of the plain parapet. There were three pedimented doors at the west end; above the larger one in the centre was a small clock-tower surmounted by a cupola and weather-vane. (fn. 15) The church accommodated 800. It was restored in 1893, (fn. 16) and demolished, except for a fragment of the east end and east window, by 1943. (fn. 17) By 1961 it had entirely disappeared and the site was occupied by a car park. The silver communion service, which in 1956 was in the custody of the diocesan authorities, was given to the church in 1774. (fn. 18) The registers, now at St. Gabriel's, date from the year of the formation of the parish.
2. The church of St. BARTHOLOMEW, Edgbaston, also known as Edgbaston parish church, was originally a chapel of Harborne. The first mention of Edgbaston church was in 1279, when Henry de Ganio resigned to the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield the parish church of Harborne with its chapel of Edgbaston. (fn. 19) It may be assumed that Edgbaston church was built not long before 1279, for it was not mentioned in earlier disputes about Harborne church. (fn. 20) Between 1260 and 1279 a grant of land in Edgbaston to Harborne church refers to Harborne as the mother church. (fn. 21) In further disputes about Harborne church in 1281, Edgbaston church was again mentioned as a dependent chapel. (fn. 22) In 1284 Henry de Edgbaston claimed the advowson of Edgbaston church from the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield, the appropriators of Harborne church, but in the same year he quitclaimed it to them for £20. (fn. 23) Edgbaston church remained the property of the dean and chapter; they were leasing it to the lords of the manor in 1590, c. 1650, 1822, and 1856. (fn. 24) The commutation of the rectorial tithes was confirmed in 1852 for £131 12s. 6d. (fn. 25)
Since the churches of Edgbaston and Harborne were in the same relationship to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield, the original status of Edgbaston as a chapelry of Harborne ceased to have any meaning, although Edgbaston church was referred to as a chapel in 1535. (fn. 26) It was in fact described as the parish church in 1658. (fn. 27) The incumbent was called both vicar and perpetual curate until the end of the 18th century, (fn. 28) but since then the incumbent has been styled vicar. The advowson belonged to the dean and chapter until about 1725, when it was granted to Sir Richard Gough, lord of Edgbaston manor, in consideration of his repairing the church and endowing the living; (fn. 29) the advowson has descended with the manor since then. (fn. 30) In the 16th and 17th centuries the dean and chapter appear to have leased the advowson with the rectory to the lords of the manor. (fn. 31) The benefice was taxed at 20s. in 1341, and was valued at 53s. 4d. in 1535. (fn. 32) About 1650 the minister was receiving £15 a year out of the tithes. (fn. 33) About 1725 the benefice was endowed with £200 by Sir Richard Gough and received a further £200 from Queen Anne's Bounty. (fn. 34) By this time the incumbents may have been receiving part of the tithes themselves, for in 1821 vicarial tithes in Edgbaston were commuted for a corn rent. (fn. 35) In 1953 the net annual income of the benefice was £894. (fn. 36) There were said to be 20 a. glebe in 1908. (fn. 37)
During the Civil War Edgbaston church was partly burnt and partly pulled down, and for several years services were held in a building known as the Church House. (fn. 38) In 1658 it was estimated that it would cost £800 to rebuild the church, a sum too large for the inhabitants of Edgbaston to raise by themselves, and they obtained permission to collect funds in Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Worcestershire, Northamptonshire, and Herefordshire. It was stated at the time that some of the inhabitants of Birmingham had been in the habit of attending Edgbaston church. (fn. 39) Sir Richard Gough's residence at Edgbaston materially benefited the church there: apart from endowing the benefice, he put the church into a good state of repair. (fn. 40) Plans of the church of 1721 show the arrangement of seating before and after changes in the interior: after 1721 all the seats in the church were appropriated. (fn. 41) In the 19th century there was a series of rebuildings and enlargements, presumably to meet the needs of the growing population. These took place in 1810, 1845, 1856, 1885, and 1889 (see below). In the same period several new churches were built in the parish: St. George's in 1838, St. James's in 1852, and St. Augustine's in 1868. Parishes were assigned out of Edgbaston to the first two in 1852, to the third in 1889. St. Mary and St. Ambrose's church, which later was consecrated and became a parish church in 1903, originated as a mission of Edgbaston church in 1885. (fn. 42) The mission church of St. Monica, Harrison Rd., was built and first licensed for public worship in 1891, and was enlarged in 1899. (fn. 43) Other places in the parish licensed for public worship in 1960 were St. Francis's Hall, in the University (since 1939), Queen Elizabeth Hospital (since 1950), the memorial chapel at King Edward's School (since 1953), and the Blue Coat School chapel (since 1957). (fn. 44)
The church of St. Bartholomew, (fn. 45) in Church Road, consists of a chancel with north and south chapels, nave, north aisle and porch, two south aisles with a west porch, and a west tower. Only the lower part of the tower and the north and west walls of the north aisle and nave are ancient. The original nave, half the width of the present (1956) nave and north aisle together, may date from the 14th century but no details remain by which it can be dated. The north aisle is reputed to have been built late in the 15th century by Richard Middlemore, lord of the manor, and the west tower about 1500 by his wife Margaret. It is probable that in the rebuilding between 1658 and 1684 after the partial destruction of the church during the Civil War some of the old material was used and the church built to the same plan as before. The nave and north aisle seem to have been of equal breadth, separated by an arcade and each with a high-pitched gabled roof. In 1810 the arcade was removed (fn. 46) and the roofs replaced by a single low-pitched roof spanning both nave and aisle. About 1845 this was replaced by a similar roof about 6 feet higher, to allow for galleries. In 1856 a south aisle was added. In 1885 the chancel and chapels were built, an arcade was built on the north side of the nave making the nave about three times as wide as the north aisle, a clerestory was raised, and new roofs were constructed. In 1889 a second south aisle was built. (fn. 47)
The 19th-century chancel has perpendicular windows and its arches are in the 14th-century style. The nave has modern north and south arcades of five 15-foot bays with slender composite piers and depressed four-centred arches. The clerestory has tall two-light windows, plain parapets, and a lowpitched roof. The north aisle has four north windows each of two cinquefoiled lights and tracery in a two-centred head with hood-mould. Probably some of the red jambstones are of the 15th century, or are 17th-century reparations, but most are modern. The north doorway of red sandstone has moulded jambs and a two-centred head, probably of the 15th century. Above it on the outside is a raised stone tablet with an oval-framed panel inscribed with three 7's: the most likely explanation of these is that they are a 17th-century imitation or restoration of an earlier letter M for Middlemore. The wall is of ancient squared ashlar, with patchings, and has a chamfered plinth. At the angles are old diagonal buttresses. At the springing level of the window-heads is a 17th-century string-course. The west wall has ancient courses in its lower part, the upper being of 19th-century masonry, and there is a vertical seam between nave and aisle. High up in the nave wall is a blocked four-centred window, probably for the former gallery. The westernmost of the five bays of the outer south aisle has been reduced in width in recent times so that it is only a few feet wide. Both aisles have high-pitched gabled roofs.
The west tower (internally about 10 ft. east-west by 8½ ft.) is of two stages divided by a 17th-century moulded string-course, and has a plain plinth of two offsets. The lower courses of the walls are of ancient yellow sandstone with wide jointing. Above, the ashlar is fine-jointed and yellower, probably of the late 17th century. At the west angles are diagonal buttresses reaching to just above the 17thcentury string-course, which passes round them. In the south-west angle is a stair-vice. The archway towards the nave is considerably south of the present nave's axis: it is of two orders, the outer hollow-moulded, the inner rounded with a wide fillet to the reveal; at the imposts are mouldings of c. 1500. Above the archway are the marks of the three former roofs of the nave. The west window is of three lights and intersecting tracery in a twocentred head. The jambs of two hollow orders are ancient, the mullions and tracery modern. The window is out of centre with the wall from outside because of the stair-vice. Below it is a four-centred doorway of modern stonework. The north and south sides each have a small square-headed window above the string-course, the southern one blocked. The bell-chamber windows are each of two pointed lights and a plain spandrel in a two-centred head. The parapet is embattled and has a string-course of the same contour as that below; above the angles are crocketted pinnacles, the finials missing.
The font and furniture are modern. In the west porch of the south aisle is a 17th-century secular chest with incised line ornament on the front, and one lock. There are many funeral monuments in the church. In the north aisle are monuments to members of the family which held the manor, including Sir Richard Gough (d. 1728), Sir Henry Gough with his son and wife Barbara (Calthorpe), Sir Henry Gough-Calthorpe, Lord Calthorpe (d. 1798), and Frances (Carpenter) his widow (d. 1827). At the west end of the south aisle is a floor-slab set upright, to Henry Porter (d. 1710) and Sarah his widow (d. 1724). In the outer south aisle are monuments to William Withering, M.D., F.R.S. (d. 1799), the discoverer of digitalis and a founder of the Birmingham General Hospital; and to Gabriel Jean Marie de Lys, M.D. (d. 1831), founder of the Deaf and Dumb Institute, both monuments being by Peter Hollins, sculptor.
In 1552 there were 3 bells, 2 'sacring bells', and a handbell. Four bells were cast by Matthew Bagley in 1685, and the number was raised to five in 1781 and to six in 1898. (fn. 48) All six bells were recast in 1927, when two new bells were added. The plate includes a paten and flagon of 1746, and another paten of 1750.
The registers begin in 1635/6 with a volume containing baptisms, burials, and marriages. (fn. 49)
3. The church of ST. JAMES THE LESS, Ashted, was founded in 1789, when Dr. John Ash's house was converted into a chapel after his departure from Birmingham. (fn. 50) The chapel was opened for divine service in 1791, (fn. 51) and was consecrated in 1810. (fn. 52) It was originally a proprietary chapel owned by a Mr. Brooks, (fn. 53) and later by a Dr. Crofts, and in 1810 it was vested in four trustees for 60 years. (fn. 54) The incumbent was styled a perpetual curate, but there was no endowment and all expenses, including the support of the minister, were met by the seatholders. (fn. 55) In 1853 a parish was formed out of Aston; (fn. 56) in 1859 began a series of grants by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to endow the living, (fn. 57) which became a vicarage in 1868. (fn. 58) In 1881 the patronage was transferred to the Aston Trustees, and the living was further endowed with £40 out of the revenues of Aston. (fn. 59) The net annual income of the vicarage in 1953 was £397. (fn. 60)
Until 1830 it seems that none of the seats in the church was free. In that year the seating arrangements were altered so as to provide 150 free seats for the poorer inhabitants of the heavily populated hamlet of Ashted. Enlargement of the church in 1835 made another 850 free seats available. (fn. 61) Towards the end of the century efforts were made to improve the proportion of the number of seats in Anglican churches to the number of inhabitants: a mission room to hold 100 was built in 1882, (fn. 62) and in 1889 a mission room was opened in Dollman Street (later known as St. John's Mission) in a building designed to serve as the transept of a possible subsequent church. (fn. 63) This mission has been licensed for public worship since 1908. (fn. 64) Another mission, in Lawley Street, later known as St. Peter's, was opened in 1896 and licensed from 1908 until the Second World War. (fn. 65)
The church of St. James, in Barrack Street and Great Brook Street, was a converted 18th-century house, a plain rectangular building of brick, with a semi-circular projection on one side surmounted by a turret with cupola. It was lengthened by about half its original length in 1835, (fn. 66) and was restored in 1887–9. (fn. 67) It was seriously damaged during the Second World War, (fn. 68) and was demolished c. 1956. The registers begin in 1810. (fn. 69)
4. The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, Deritend, was originally founded in the second half of the 14th century. In 1381 an agreement was made by which the parishioners of Aston who lived in Deritend and Bordesley were permitted to appoint at their own charges a chaplain to celebrate divine services for them in the recently-built chapel of St. John the Baptist. The reasons for this agreement were the distance of Deritend and Bordesley from the parish church and the flooding of the river in winter. The chaplain could perform baptisms and churchings, and in emergencies could hear confessions and celebrate mass. The inhabitants of Deritend and Bordesley were to attend Aston church at Easter, Christmas, and the feasts of All Saints, St. Peter and St. Paul (the dedication of Aston church), and the Purification; tithes, both great and small, were to be paid as before to Aston. This agreement was ratified by the bishop in the same year. (fn. 70) In 1383 William Geffon and others received licence to alienate in mortmain lands in Aston parish not held in chief to the value of 10 marks yearly to a chaplain to celebrate divine service daily in the chapel. (fn. 71)
In the first half of the 16th century there were two priests at Deritend, one of them employed as a schoolmaster, who were each paid £5 a year by the guild of Deritend. (fn. 72) In 1547 the endowment of the chapel seems to have been regarded as a chantry, (fn. 73) and in 1549 all the property of 'the late chantry or guild of Deritend' was sold by the Crown, except for the chapel itself, which survived. (fn. 74) For a few years in the 1660s after his ejection from St. Martin's the Presbyterian Samuel Wills preached at Deritend chapel. (fn. 75) In 1677 the chapel was endowed by Humphrey Lowe of Coventry with land in Rowley Regis (Staffs.) worth £35 a year for the maintenance of a chaplain; (fn. 76) the annual income of the chaplain was said to be £80 in 1781. (fn. 77) The inhabitants continued to elect their own chaplain until 1890, when a parish was formed out of Aston and the patronage of the chapel was transferred by Act of Parliament to the bishop, the Vicar of Aston, and three trustees, the benefice becoming a vicarage. (fn. 78) In 1939 the parish and benefice were united with those of St. Basil, Deritend, forming the new benefice of St. John and St. Basil. The site of St John's was sold to the city authorities, (fn. 79) and c. 1943 the building was being used as a store; (fn. 80) it had been demolished by 1961. A mission room in Darwin Street was licensed for public worship by the bishop from 1916 to 1926. (fn. 81)
The church stood on the south side of Deritend High Street. The 14th-century building is shown in early-18th-century views of Birmingham: (fn. 82) it was small and rectangular, with a steeply-pitched roof and a two-light east window, and over the west end was a square bell-turret with a pyramidal roof and weather-vane. It was replaced in 1735 by a rectangular brick building with tall round-headed windows and a tower of two stages surmounted by a balustrade with urns at the angles. (fn. 83) The church contained a memorial bust of John Rogers (d. 1555), the first of the 'Marian martyrs', who was a native of Deritend. (fn. 84) The church was restored between 1881 and 1891, and had 800 sittings. (fn. 85) There were 8 bells cast in 1776 by Robert Wells of Aldbourne (Wilts.), (fn. 86) and these were in 1956 at Bishop Latimer Memorial Church, Birmingham. The registers, which at the same date were at St. Basil's, begin in 1699 for baptisms, 1700 for marriages, and 1791 for burials.
5. The church of ST. MARGARET, Ward End, was originally built in or shortly before 1517 by Thomas Bond, a merchant of Coventry and lord of Ward End manor. In 1516 an agreement was made between Bond and the Vicar of Aston, in whose parish Ward End lay, that because of the distance to the parish church and the frequency of floods the inhabitants of Ward End should have their own chapel and a chaplain who should receive all the oblations of the chapel and the tithes arising from Ward End Park and Irish Meadow, in return for which Bond would pay 6s. 8d. a year to the Vicar of Aston. (fn. 87) In 1730 the chapel was in ruins, as it had been for a long time, (fn. 88) but was being repaired by a Mr. Blackham, an ironmonger of Birmingham. (fn. 89) It is not certain whether Blackham fulfilled this work: in the early 19th century the chapel was again in ruins and was being used as a barn. (fn. 90) In 1833 an appeal was launched for the rebuilding of the chapel; it was said that the inhabitants wished it rebuilt, and that most of them did not attend any place of worship. The appeal was successful and the new church was dedicated in 1834 and consecrated in 1841. A perpetual curacy was endowed, to which the Vicar of Aston presented. (fn. 91) In 1870 the parish of St. Margaret, Ward End, was created out of St. Peter and St. Paul's, Aston, and the benefice became a titular vicarage, the patronage of which was transferred to the Aston Trustees in 1877. (fn. 92)
The needs of the expanding population of the district were met in the early 20th century by the establishment of missions. A mission room in Blakeland Street, was licensed for public worship from 1909 to 1924, and a church room in Sladefield Street from 1925 to the Second World War. (fn. 93) St. Paul's mission room in Bordesley Green was licensed in 1912 and was consecrated in 1929 (see no. 109). In 1935 Christ Church, Ward End, was consecrated as a chapel of ease to St. Margaret's. Parts of St. Margaret's parish were taken to form St. Paul's, Bordesley Green (1928), and part of St. Mary and St. John's, Shaw Hill (1929).
The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, St. Mary the Virgin and St. Margaret, stands in a graveyard at the junction of St. Margaret's Road and Church Walk. It is a small building by Rickman in the Gothic style, of brick with stone dressings, painted on the inside and rendered on the outside to simulate ashlar. It comprises chancel, nave and western tower, once apparently embattled and with pinnacles but now having only a simple parapet. The church was restored externally and refitted internally in 1929. (fn. 94) It contains a memorial bust of William Hutton (d. 1815) by Peter Hollins. There are two bells, one of 1714 which came from the Royal Hospital, Greenwich, and may have been presented or bequeathed to the church by William Hutton, the other of 1834. There are also two small bells on which the clock strikes the quarters. (fn. 95)
6. During the rebuilding of the church of ST. MARTIN, Birmingham, in the 19th century evidence was found of a 12th-century building on the site. (fn. 96) There is no mention of a church or a priest at Birmingham in Domesday Book, and the earliest mention of a church was in 1263. (fn. 97)
The benefice has always been a rectory. In 1291 the church was valued at £5, (fn. 98) and in 1341 the glebe, lesser tithes and oblations were said to be worth 40s. (fn. 99) In 1535 the rectory was valued at £19 3s. 6d., besides 12s. 6d. for procurations and synodals. (fn. 100) The value of the living increased with the development of the town in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 101) Private Acts of 1773 and 1825 enabled the rector to lease his glebe, and to sell the parsonage house and grant building leases. (fn. 102) By the middle of the 19th century the income had risen to over £1,000, and between 1893 and 1897 Parliament authorized the vesting of the rectory's lands in trustees for the benefit of incumbents and other clergy in the ancient parish of St. Martin. (fn. 103) The incumbent of St. Martin's is entitled Rector of Birmingham.
From at least 1263, when Maud, widow of William de Birmingham, claimed ⅓ of the advowson in dower, (fn. 104) until 1720, the right of presentation seems to have descended with the manor of Birmingham. (fn. 105) Edward Littleton presented in 1536 by the grant of Edward Birmingham. (fn. 106) In 1544, when the advowson along with the manor was in the hands of the Crown, the Princess Elizabeth presented. (fn. 107) Samuel Marrow granted the right of next presentation to Thomas Smith, who presented Luke Smith in 1578. (fn. 108) Luke Smith died in 1646, and his widow Mary claimed next presentation, but Samuel Wills, presented by Edward Marrow's guardian, Lord Say and Sele, was instituted. (fn. 109) Wills, a leader of the Birmingham Presbyterians, was deprived of the living in 1660 or 1661, (fn. 110) and Josiah Slader, who claimed to have been presented by Mary Smith, was instituted in 1661 on the presentation of the Crown, vice Luke Smith deceased. (fn. 111) The Presbyterians successfully challenged the validity of Slader's orders, and in 1663 John Riland was presented by Samuel Marrow's grandmother, Lady Lucy Grantham, and Samuel Marrow. (fn. 112)
In 1720 the advowson passed from the coheirs of Samuel Marrow to Edward Smith, clerk. (fn. 113) A John Smith presented in 1723, 1728 and 1732, and was said to be patron in 1763. (fn. 114) William Tennant presented in 1771; he was named as patron in 1772 and 1822. (fn. 115) In 1829 the advowson was said to be held by the 'executors of the late T. Hawke'; (fn. 116) by 1830 Thomas and Elizabeth Walker had purchased the advowson and vested it in trustees. (fn. 117) By 1952 the trustees of St. Martin's held in addition the advowsons of eight other churches in Birmingham. (fn. 118)
Luke Smith, rector from 1578 to 1646, was a pluralist who seems to have resided little in Birmingham, and in the thirties and early forties the cure was served by Francis Roberts, a Presbyterian. (fn. 119) Smith's successor Samuel Wills, after being deprived of the benefice of St. Martin's, was licensed to preach as a Presbyterian. (fn. 120) In 1663 the adherents of Josiah Slader rioted in the church after his rival, Riland, had been instituted, but their behaviour had a personal, not a religious, motive. (fn. 121) However strong the inclination of the inhabitants toward nonconformity, seats in St. Martin's were in great demand in the 18th and early 19th centuries. (fn. 122) Dr. J. C. Miller, rector from 1846 to 1866, was a well-known evangelical divine with a high reputation in local affairs. (fn. 123)
The parish of St. Philip, to which a further portion was added in 1900, was formed out of that of St. Martin in 1708. In 1830 the ancient parish of St. Martin was divided into two distinct and separate parishes, St. Martin's and St. George's. St. Martin's was again divided in 1834, into St. Martin's, St. Thomas's, and All Saints'. Since then parishes or parts of parishes have been assigned out of St. Martin's to the churches of Bishop Ryder (1841), St. Mary (1841), St. Paul (1841), St. Luke (1843), St. Mark (1843), St. Jude (1845), St. Bartholomew (1847), St. John, Ladywood (1854), St. Barnabas (1861), Christ Church (1865), and St. Gabriel (1869). Small parts of St. Martin's parish were later added to the parishes of St. Jude (1885), St. Philip (1900) and St. Paul (1900). In 1939 part of the parish of St. Bartholomew was reunited with St. Martin's.
A mission hall in Dean Street was licensed for public worship from 1908 to 1926. A mission church at 32, Newhall Street, was mentioned in 1858. (fn. 124)
In 1330 Walter de Clodeshale received licence to alienate lands and rent in Birmingham for the maintenance of a chaplain to celebrate mass daily at the altar of St. Mary in the church of St. Martin. (fn. 125) In 1347 Walter's son Richard received licence to alienate further lands and rents in Birmingham for the maintenance of a chaplain in a second chantry. (fn. 126) The right of presentation to both chantries seems to have remained in the Clodeshale family until 1428, although Roger Burgilon and his wife presented in 1383 and 1384, and the bishop presented by lapse in 1349 and 1360. (fn. 127) William de Birmingham presented to one of the chantries in 1402, but in a lawsuit in 1404 Richard de Clodeshale, Walter's great-grandson, regained the right of presentation from William de Birmingham. (fn. 128) Richard de Clodeshale died in 1428, and his daughter and heir married Robert Arden, of Park Hall, in Castle Bromwich, (fn. 129) with which manor the advowson of the chantries descended until both chantries were dissolved in 1545. (fn. 130) In 1535 the first chantry was said to be worth £5 1s., and the second £5. (fn. 131) Most of the property of the two chantries, in Birmingham, Saltley, and Little Bromwich, was sold by the Crown between 1549 and 1553. (fn. 132)
In 1392 John Coleshill, John Goldsmith, and William atte Slowe received licence to alienate lands and rent in Birmingham and Edgbaston to found a guild in honour of the Holy Cross and a chantry in St. Martin's church. (fn. 133) Ten years previously these three founders, together with Thomas Sheldon, had received licence to alienate lands and rents to the annual value of 20 marks for the founding of a chantry in St. Martin's, (fn. 134) but that licence had never taken effect. (fn. 135) The purpose of the guild seems to have been to a large extent religious, and the priests supported by the guild may have assisted the Rector of St. Martin's in his pastoral duties in the thickly populated parish. The chantry itself appears to have had no permanent endowment of its own, the priests who served it being paid out of the general income of the guild. In 1545, out of a total income of £31 2s. 10d., the guild paid £16 to three priests and £3 13s. to an organist; (fn. 136) and in 1547, out of an income of £32 12s. 5d., £20 6s. 8d. were paid 'in stipend of priests and other ministers of the church'. (fn. 137)
It was recorded in 1781 that a Mrs. Jennens had given £10 a year to pay for a lecture in St. Martin's on the second and third Thursday of every month. (fn. 138) This endowment was not mentioned by the Charity Commissioners in their report of 1829. (fn. 139)
The parish church of St. Martin stands in the Bull Ring, at the centre of the site of the medieval village and in the area which, until the reconstruction of this part of the city in the 1960s, was largely occupied by the markets. It consists of a chancel with north organ chamber and south chapel, nave, north and south transepts and aisles, south porch, and, at the west end of the north aisle, a tower with a spire rising to 200 ft. (fn. 140) Only the interior of the lower part of the tower is ancient, the remainder of the church having been rebuilt in 1873–5. The earliest fabric to have been found in the building was of the 12th century, but nothing can be conjectured of the form of the 12th-century church. This church was replaced at the end of the 13th century by a building of the local sandstone. In the 17th century the church consisted of a chancel with a crypt beneath, a clerestoried nave, north and south aisles, and a north-west tower with spire. By 1690 the fabric was considerably decayed, and the whole building with the exception of the spire was encased in brick, the medieval character of the building being hidden behind an exterior presenting such features as tall round-headed windows to the aisles and clerestory, a balustrade above the aisles, and a small pedimented south porch. (fn. 141) The alterations of 1690 did not alter the plan of the 13th-century church or destroy much of its fabric. The north aisle was extended eastwards as far as the east end of the chancel in the early 18th century, and a lowbuilt vestry was added on the south side of the chancel c. 1760. In 1781 the spire was rebuilt, and at about the same time the aisles were re-roofed by the extension of the nave roof to make a single lowpitched roof over the nave and both aisles. This alteration was presumably made in order to allow room for the galleries which extended in a horseshoe shape over the aisles and the west end of the nave and was accompanied by the division of the tall windows of 1690 to make two tiers of roundheaded windows to each of the aisles. (fn. 142) The tower and spire were restored in 1853. (fn. 143)
In 1873, under the direction of J. A. Chatwin, the whole building with the exception of the tower and spire was carefully demolished and rebuilt in the style of the early 14th century. A red-brown stone from Codsall was used for the interior, a grey stone from Grimshill and Derbyshire for the exterior, and the open hammer-beam roof was tiled externally. The plan of the new church roughly followed that of the medieval building, with transepts added, and with a chapel south of the chancel and an organ-chamber north of it. Among the features of the medieval church uncovered during the rebuilding were two crypts (below the eastern end of the chancel and the south aisle), a painted doom over the chancel arch, and other wallpaintings thought to depict episodes in the life of St. Martin. The church was re-opened in 1875. (fn. 144)
The lower part of the tower is of old red sandstone inside with some modern repairs. Plain two-centred arches open into the nave and north aisle, and may have a few ancient stones. In the west wall is a pointed doorway and in the north-west angle a splayed doorway to the stair-vice. Higher up are north and west traceried windows of three lights: the wide internal splays of these may be original and perhaps also their rear-arches of three chamfered orders. The tower is of two stages, the upper one containing the bell-chamber. In the north wall of the lower stage there is an open-air pulpit, and above the north and west windows there are niches with figures of St. Martin and St. George.
The church was damaged by bombing during the Second World War. The west window of the nave was destroyed, the west doorway and the roof-tiles were damaged, and the doors were blown off their hinges.
Richard Kilcuppe, by will dated 1610, left certain property in trust from which, under the terms of a deed of 1612, 13s. 4d. were to be paid annually to the churchwardens of St. Martin's for the repair of the church. This sum was still being received in 1829, when it was carried by the churchwardens to their general account. The charity was administered as part of Lench's Trust. (fn. 145)
All the furniture and fittings in the present church are modern. There are four ancient tombs, conjecturally assigned to members of the de Birmingham family. These were in the south aisle in Dugdale's time, in the chancel in Hutton's. In 1846 they were rediscovered, were restored, and were placed in the chancel. Other monuments include a tablet in the south chapel to John Riland (d. 1672), Archdeacon of Coventry and Rector of St. Martin's, and another in the south transept to William Colmore (d. 1607) and other members of his family. Also in the south transept is a memorial to William Thompson (d. 1799), first president of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference after the death of John Wesley. (fn. 146) One of the stained-glass windows in the south transept was glazed by William Morris from a design by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. (fn. 147)
There were four bells in 1552, together with a clock and chime. Six bells were put up in 1682. In 1751 there were eight, but in that year St. Philip's increased its number of bells from six to ten. The churchwardens of St. Martin's, not to be outdone, increased their bells from eight to twelve. In 1910 there were seven bells cast in 1758 by Lester and Pack of London (two of them recast in 1870), two of 1769, and one each of 1771, 1772 and 1790. (fn. 148) These were all recast in 1928. In 1829 the churchwardens were receiving £8 a year from a bell-rope charity administered as part of Lench's Trust, and this sum was carried to their general account. The sum was the rent from a croft near Five Ways, known as Bell-rope Croft, which was mentioned in the accounts of Lench's Trust for 1668–9. (fn. 149)
The communion plate amounted in 1708 to 52 oz., and this may have included or have been the communion service given to the church in 1630 by Richard Dukesayle. It was evidently considered in 1708 that 52 oz. was shamefully little for a town of Birmingham's size, and the amount was increased, by voluntary subscription, to 275 oz.: 2 flagons, 2 cups, 2 covers and 2 patens, worth £80 16s. 6d. (fn. 150) In 1955 none of the plate was older than the late 18th century, and most of it was of the late 19th century.
The registers of marriages and burials begin in 1554, those of baptisms in 1555. (fn. 151) There are also registers of the baptisms and burials at St. Paul's and St. Mary's chapels in the period 1774–1812.
7. The church of ST. MARY, Birmingham, was built in 1774, (fn. 152) under an Act of 1772, as a chapel of ease to St. Martin's. The site was given by Dorothy Weaman, Mary Weaman (to whose forename the dedication alluded) and the trustees of Lench's Trust. The cost of building was raised by subscription, and Mary Weaman gave £1,000 towards it. (fn. 153) A perpetual curacy was established, in the patronage of Mary Weaman and, after her death, of trustees. (fn. 154) A parish, formed out of St. Martin's, was assigned to St. Mary's in 1841. (fn. 155) The benefice became a vicarage in 1868. (fn. 156) The income of the incumbent was said to be worth £200 a year in 1781, (fn. 157) and £360 in 1896. (fn. 158) Under an Act of 1925 the church was closed pending demolition, and the benefice and parish were united to those of Bishop Ryder's church. (fn. 159)
The first incumbent was John Riland, who was assisted by a curate, Edward Burn. In 1786 John Wesley attended at St. Mary's and heard 'an admirable sermon' from the curate, (fn. 160) though it is not certain whether this meant Riland or Burn. (fn. 161) Burn, who was incumbent of St. Mary's from 1790 until 1837, was certainly in sympathy with Wesley's views. (fn. 162) Burn was succeeded by J. C. Barrett, a well-known evangelical preacher who drew large congregations to St. Mary's until his death in 1881. (fn. 163) From the middle of the 19th century the vicar was assisted by a curate. (fn. 164) St. Mary's was a small parish, about a quarter of a mile square, in the gun-making quarter of the town. (fn. 165) When the church was built it stood in open ground on the north edge of the town, but was soon built around. A number of dwellings were removed when the General Hospital was rebuilt (1894–7) (fn. 166) in Steelhouse Lane in St. Mary's parish. A mission hall in Whittall Street was licensed for public worship from 1888 to 1907, and the chapel of the General Hospital from 1921 (it was licensed in the parish of Bishop Ryder from 1925). (fn. 167)
The church, in Whittall Street, was an octagonal brick building with a small tower and spire, in the Classical style, standing in a large churchyard. The octagonal form was considered ideal for preaching and the church could accommodate nearly 1,700 people. (fn. 168) The design, by Joseph Pickford, (fn. 169) was thought by Hutton to show 'too little steeple and too much roof'. (fn. 170) The tower was of three stages, the first round, the second octagonal with Doric columns at each angle, and the third, from which rose a slender spire, octagonal with a clockface and pediment on each alternate side. (fn. 171) The tower and spire were rebuilt in 1866 to a very similar design, with pilasters instead of columns and a balustrade on the second stage. (fn. 172) The first registers of baptisms (1774–1812) and of burials (1779–1812) are kept at St. Martin's church. The register of marriages begins in 1842. The 18thcentury silver communion service is now at St. Mary's, Pype Hayes, except for the two flagons which are at the Birmingham Assay Office. (fn. 173)
8. The church of ST. MARY, Handsworth, was in existence by 1200 when a priest serving the church of Handsworth is mentioned, (fn. 174) and in 1228 there was a rector, who presented a vicar, reserving to himself a pension of 2 marks of silver. There is no later reference to a vicarage, and William Wyrley, the vicar presented in 1228, was apparently rector at his death c. 1247. (fn. 175) In the 13th century Handsworth church owed a pension of 2 marks to Harborne church: this may have been due to some dependent relationship at an earlier date. (fn. 176) The church was valued at £14 in 1291. (fn. 177) In 1341 the rector held one carucate of land worth 30s. a year, a piece of meadow and a fishpond both worth 10s. The tithes of corn were valued at 20s. and those of the mill at ½ mark, and the rector received 10s. in offerings. (fn. 178) In 1535 his net income was estimated at £13 19s. 2d. (fn. 179) The tithes were commuted in 1839 for £1,391 6s. 6d. a year payable to the rector, (fn. 180) and in 1887 there were 82 a. glebe. (fn. 181) The net value of the benefice was £1,221 in 1953. (fn. 182)
The advowson was claimed by Pain de Parles in right of his wife from Thomas of Lichfield and Simon the Treasurer in 1199 and 1200 respectively. In 1200 the priest serving the church was said to have been appointed by the Hospitallers, whose charter was produced. (fn. 183) Their prior acknowledged a moiety of the advowson to be the right of William de Parles in 1210, and the Prior of Lenton (Notts.), who later held the other moiety, said that it had been acquired from the Prior of the Hospitallers in King John's reign. (fn. 184) In 1228 John de Parles and the Prior of Lenton were patrons, (fn. 185) and in 1230 a claim of the Prior of Sandwell (Staffs.) to a share in the advowson was dropped. (fn. 186) This claim may have been prompted by the fact that Sandwell owned land in Handsworth by the gift of Gervase Paynel. (fn. 187) The division of the advowson seems to have led to suits at nearly every vacancy in the 13th century. (fn. 188) In 1280, as a result of long disputes which had involved the advowson of Handsworth as early as 1270, Lenton gave up its share to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield. (fn. 189) In 1346 they received licence to alienate it to Richard de Stafford. (fn. 190) By 1358 John Botetourt, to whom the other half had descended with the manor of Handsworth (fn. 191) held the whole advowson, (fn. 192) and it thereafter descended with the manor until c. 1530–44, when it was apparently bought from one of the St. Leger family by Sir William Smyth. By 1544–7 it was held by his nephew William Smyth who was also rector, and it may have passed directly from uncle to nephew, though Nicholas Ardern claimed to have bought it from Sir William Fitzwilliam, later 1st Earl of Southampton, and to have granted it himself to the younger William Smyth. (fn. 193) Richard Huddlestone held it in right of his wife Margery at his death in 1557, when it was divided between his daughters and heirs, Anne, wife of John Bowes, and Lucy, wife of John Brooke. (fn. 194) Lucy's son Robert (fn. 195) sold his moiety to Robert Stanford (Stamford) in 1584, (fn. 196) and when Stanford died in 1607 he was said to have held the whole advowson. (fn. 197) It then apparently descended with the manor of Handsworth until 1679, (fn. 198) but this descent was later challenged, and Walter Aston and Sir Edward Littleton presented in 1636. (fn. 199) By the second half of the 17th century there was evidently some confusion about the ownership of the advowson. In 1679 Richard Best sold the advowson to Joseph Ainge, Rector of Handsworth 1661–91, (fn. 200) but in 1692 Edward Birch, trustee for Humphrey Wyrley, presented on the grounds that Robert Stanford's son Edward had granted the next presentation to Humphrey Wyrley's grandfather. (fn. 201) In 1696 it seems to have been assumed that the advowson belonged to Joseph Ainge's heir, and in 1712 Joseph's son Samuel Ainge claimed the whole advowson on the grounds that his father had bought two thirds of it from Best and the remaining third from Walter Astley who had acquired that third from the Bowes family. (fn. 202) At that time Thomas Oakes, Rector of Handsworth 1692–1731, claimed that he had acquired one quarter of the advowson, giving him the right to present the next rector, from Richard Drakeford, who had bought it from Christopher and Mary Hevingham, the latter being the heir of Richard Huddlestone's daughter, Lucy. (fn. 203) This claim, improbable as it may seem, was apparently upheld, for when Oakes died in 1731 his widow presented their son John. John Oakes remained rector until his death in 1767, (fn. 204) when John Wyrley Birch, lord of Handsworth manor, presented. From then the advowson descended with the manor to Wyrley Birch, (fn. 205) who sold it between 1830 (fn. 206) and 1834, when it was held by Sir Robert Peel. (fn. 207) By 1848 it was held by Sir Robert's brother John, Dean of Worcester. On his death in 1875 (fn. 208) it passed to W. Randall, Rector of Handsworth 1873–91, who conveyed it in 1891 or 1892 to the Bishop of Lichfield. (fn. 209) In 1905 the Bishop of Birmingham became patron. (fn. 210)
From the beginning of the 19th century there is evidence of considerable activity in the affairs of the church. In 1800 it was decided that the quality of the music in the services should be improved; in the following years there were plans for building a vestry, enlarging the churchyard, improving the precincts, and building an organ. In 1819 it was decided that the church should be enlarged to meet the needs of the growing population of the parish, 250 of the extra seats provided to be free. The extension of the church was completed by 1821. (fn. 211) Shortly after there began the building of new churches in Handsworth parish: the first was St. John's, Perry Barr, consecrated in 1833, and it was followed by St. James's, Handsworth, erected 1838– 40, St. Michael's, Handsworth, consecrated in 1855, and Holy Trinity, Birchfield, consecrated in 1864. Altogether 11 consecrated churches have been built in the ancient parish of Handsworth in the 19th and 20th centuries. (fn. 212) Modern ecclesiastical parishes formed directly out of Handsworth are those of St. James, Handsworth (1854), St. Michael, Handsworth (1861), St. John, Perry Barr (1862), and Holy Trinity, Birchfield (1865), and parts of the parishes of St. Paul, Hamstead (1894), and St. Andrew, Handsworth (1914). St. Paul's, Hamstead, consecrated in 1892, originated as a mission church of Handsworth church in 1886, and St. Andrew's, Handsworth, consecrated in 1914, originated as the mission church of the Good Shepherd in 1894. St. Mary's Mission in Hutton Road was licensed from 1910 until the Second World War, and the Cherry Orchard Church Hall has been licensed as a mission since 1947. (fn. 213)
The parish church of St. Mary, in Hamstead Road, consists of a chancel, north and south chapels, nave, north transept and two north aisles, south aisle with a south tower east of it, and a south porch. (fn. 214) The lower part of the south tower is of the late 12th or early 13th century, the upper part having been added or rebuilt in the 15th century. The north chapel has some remains of early-16thcentury work and a re-set 14th-century piscina. A plan of the church made two years before the alterations of 1820 shows that it then consisted of chancel, nave, north and south aisles and tower. (fn. 215) The north aisle ran the length of nave and chancel, forming a chapel at its east end; it was separated from them by four arches, the eastern pier being clustered and the two western hexagonal. During the alterations, which were entrusted to William Hollins, the north aisle was largely rebuilt, the arcade being replaced by one of five bays, and a broad north transept with a projection of two bays, separated from the north aisle by an arcade of three bays, was added. In the north-east angle so formed a vestry was built, the south chapel, known as the Watt chapel, was added and the arrangement of the pews was changed. (fn. 216) In 1876–80 the 14th-century south aisle was rebuilt and lengthened, the two south windows being replaced by four, and the arcade of two bays by one of four. The nave and existing north aisle were extended west, the chancel was extended east, an arch was built between the north chapel and north aisle, the north transept was made narrower, and an outer north aisle was built.
The chancel has an east window of five lights, and north-east and south-east windows of two, all with intersecting tracery. An arcade of two bays opens to the north chapel, and an early-19th-century arch to the south chapel. East of this arch are a piscina and two sedilia. The chancel arch, of modern red sandstone, has triple shafts on corbels, and the roof has a barrel-vaulted ceiling. The north chapel has an early-16th-century east window of 3 cinquefoiled elliptical-headed lights under a square head with external label, all in red sandstone and partly restored. The north window is similar. At the west end of the north wall is a four-centred doorway entered from an early-18th-century porch, which was once the vestry. The head of an early-14thcentury piscina with a trefoiled pointed head and hood-mould has been reset east of the arcade. The east wall is of roughly squared large red masonry, mostly restored in the upper part, and has an embattled gabled head. The north wall is of restored smooth ashlar. The south chapel, designed in the Gothic style to contain a memorial to James Watt, has no altar; it has a three-light traceried east window and a vaulted ceiling. The nave has a modern north arcade of six bays, and another to the outer north aisle, with grouped piers and pointed heads. The south arcade is of four bays, the easternmost wider than the others because of the position of the tower. The east wall of the aisle is formed by the west wall of the tower and is built of old red sandstone ashlar; it has an offset about 10 ft. up, above this a blocked small round-headed window with rebated jambs, and above this again a moulded string-course: both appear to be of the late 12th century.
The tower is built of pinkish grey ashlar and is of two main stages. The lower half of the lower stage has original shallow square buttresses, and above them are later diagonal buttresses up to the stringcourse at the foot of the bell-chamber. The lower main stage has moulded string-courses dividing it into three short stages. On the east side is a semioctagonal projecting stair-vice right up to the parapet. The south window is a 14th-century insertion of two trefoiled lights and tracery in a twocentred head (restored later) with the old hoodmould and head-stops. The jambs are of three chamfered orders. A light above has a modern trefoiled head, but the jambs above may be ancient and retooled. Above this the masonry generally is yellower. Upper south and west windows are of two squareheaded lights. The bell-chamber has 15th-century windows of two trefoiled lights and a quatrefoil in a four-centred head, with casement moulded jambs. In the east wall, north of the stair-vice is a square-headed window, and south of it a small four-centred light. The parapet is embattled, with returned copings to the merlons, and above the angles are crocketted pinnacles. The string-course has carved lions' masks, and at the angles are gargoyles.
The north chapel has a late-17th-century communion table. The font has a 3 ft. octagonal bowl that may be ancient; it has grooves at both top and bottom edges. Among the monuments in the church (fn. 217) are an altar tomb with 16th-century effigies of William Wyrley (d. 1561) and his wife Elizabeth (Cave), in the west bay of the north arcade; a 16th-century effigy said to be of Sir William Stanford (d. 1558) on an open-sided tombchest containing a cadaver in a shroud, at the east end of the south aisle; a mural monument with marble bust of Matthew Boulton (d. 1809), in the chancel; a large marble statue by Chantrey of James Watt (d. 1819) seated on a chair, in the south chapel; a bust, also by Chantrey, of William Murdock (d. 1839); and a mural tablet on the east wall of the north chapel to John Fulnetby, B.D. (d. 1636), Archdeacon of Stafford, Canon of Lichfield and Rector of Handsworth. In the floor, north of the altar, are 10 or 11 pieces of gravestone, reset at random, which once bore the incised effigy of a man in 17th-century armour, and there are some remains of the inscription, including 'Joh. Harm . . . Esquier'. In 1701 there were four bells, which were recast by Joseph Smith of Edgbaston in that year, when two more bells were added. A further two bells were added in 1890, and all eight were recast in 1955. (fn. 218) The plate is modern.
The registers of baptisms, burials and marriages begin in 1558, but there are gaps for several periods in the 17th century. (fn. 219)
9. The church of ST. PAUL, Birmingham, was built between 1777 and 1779 (fn. 220) as a chapel of ease to St. Martin's under an Act of 1772. The site was given by Charles Colmore, who also gave £1,000 towards the cost of building, the rest of which was raised by subscription. (fn. 221) There seems to have been a perpetual curacy in existence from 1778, when a curate was presented by the trustees appointed under the Act of 1772. (fn. 222) From 1779 Charles Colmore alone seems to have acted as patron. (fn. 223) In 1817 Rann Kennedy, who had been curate since 1797, became incumbent, the congregation having purchased for him the next presentation. (fn. 224) In 1848 the patron was George B. P. Latimer, who presented himself to the living. (fn. 225) In 1868 S. S. Lloyd was named as patron, but by 1869 the patronage had passed to the trustees of St. Martin's church. (fn. 226) The annual net value of the living was said to be over £200 in 1778 (fn. 227) and £622 in 1953. (fn. 228) In 1841 a parish formed out of St. Martin's was assigned to the church, (fn. 229) and a further part of St. Martin's was added to the parish in 1900. (fn. 230) The living became a vicarage in 1868. (fn. 231) In 1947 the parishes and benefices of St. Paul, Birmingham, and St. Mark, Birmingham, were joined to form the parish and united benefice of St. Paul and St. Mark.
A map of 1810 shows buildings all around St. Paul's church. (fn. 232) By the middle of the 19th century the population of the parish was about 11,000, (fn. 233) and it had become the centre of the jewellers' quarter of the town. (fn. 234) For over 50 years Rann Kennedy (1772–1851), second master of King Edward's School, and a poet of note in his day, was associated with the parish. (fn. 235) He was described as 'one of the most able and popular preachers in Birmingham'. (fn. 236) The chapel of St. Michael and All Angels, Birmingham, in Warstone Lane, though consecrated in the 1840s was regarded as a mission chapel of St. Paul's between 1917 and 1926. (fn. 237) Cathedral House, at 71, Newhall Street, was licensed as a mission room from 1909 to 1920. (fn. 238)
The church of St. Paul, in St. Paul's Square, stands in the middle of its churchyard. It is a Classical building designed by Roger Eykyn in a style much influenced by the work of James Gibbs. (fn. 239) It consists of a rectangular nave with aisles and galleries, a square apse for the altar and a west tower with entrance lobbies to the north and south of it. (fn. 240) Internally the Venetian east window has its lights divided by Ionic shafts and flanked by square Ionic pilasters. The glass in the east window, executed by Francis Eginton in 1791 after a painting by Benjamin West, P.R.A., is one of the best surviving examples of 18th-century painted glass. (fn. 241) Above the side lights is an entablature and above this are oval wall-panels containing urns, a cornice crossing above the whole. Externally the square mullions have moulded caps and bases, and the whole is set in a round-headed recess. The nave arcades of five bays have round arches of square section carried on Ionic columns which change below the gallery level to panelled square piers with moulded caps and bases. The aisles have two ranges of windows, the lower, below the galleries, with segmental heads, the upper with half-round heads; all have rusticated quoins and voussoirs externally. There is also a west gallery. There are doorways at each end of the aisles, north and south doorways to the west lobbies, and a doorway in the west wall of the tower, all with pediments above them. The nave has an elliptical barrel-vaulted ceiling of plaster and the aisles have half-round vaults, groined to the arcades and windows. The sloping plastered soffits of the galleries are also partly groined to the lower windows. Externally the walls are of white ashlar, now blackened with grime, with projecting rusticated quoins. All round is a great bracketed cornice, and above the east and west ends are pediments, the western with an attic stage above it to take the tower. The tower was originally of one low story, square, with a round window in each side and pyramidal roof. (fn. 242) The tower had been designed to support a spire, but for want of money this was not erected until 1823. (fn. 243) The existing tower, designed by Francis Goodwin, (fn. 244) has above the west pediment and attic a cruciform stage, the cardinal faces of which contain tall round-headed windows and the diagonal faces of which are recessed and fronted by Corinthian columns. These support a cornice, above which is an octagonal bell-chamber, with a balustrade and square-headed lights. The short spire with three ranges of spire-lights is surmounted by a ball and weather-vane. The furniture of the church includes a communion rail with turned balusters, high pews with fielded panels and doors, and pews set in coved recesses in the west wall of the nave under the gallery. The organ was originally over the west gallery which has a little of the organ's casing still incorporated in its front. A new organ was built in 1838; it was moved to the east bay of the north aisle about 1927. (fn. 245) The font under the gallery is of marble and polished granite and has a stem with a white Ionic capital. There are several 19th-century monuments in the south aisle to members of the Hollins family, including a portrait bust of William Hollins, architect (d. 1843), by his son Peter Hollins; there is also a monument to the artist Joseph Barber (d. 1811). (fn. 246) There are 825 sittings in the church, but earlier estimates of accommodation are considerably higher. (fn. 247) Bomb damage in 1940 and 1941, which chipped some of the masonry and smashed window glazing, has since been repaired.
The register of baptisms and burials (the first register is kept at St. Martin's church) dates from 1779, that of marriages from 1841.
10. The advowson of the ancient parish church of ST. PETER, Harborne, originally belonged to the lords of the manor who gave it to the abbey of Halesowen, but by 1279 the church had been appropriated to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield. The process by which this happened is obscure, and the result seems to have been caused chiefly by the coincidence that one of the rectors was also a canon of Lichfield.
In the early 13th century the advowson belonged to Warin FitzGerold (d. 1217 or 1218) (fn. 248) as an appurtenance of the manor. (fn. 249) Warin's daughter Margaret de Redvers (d. 1252) (fn. 250) gave the advowson to the abbey of Halesowen probably after 1226. (fn. 251) In 1238 the Abbot of Halesowen brought an assize of darrein presentment against the Bishop of Coventry; it was respited at first to allow for the attendance of William de Kilkenny whose prebend was said to be involved. (fn. 252) The abbot must have lost his case since he afterwards renounced all his claim in the advowson to the bishop. (fn. 253) It is not clear why the bishop had ever presented to the church or how William de Kilkenny was connected with Harborne: he may have held the prebend of Gaia Minor and claimed, like others after him, that Harborne was part of it, but this on the whole seems less likely than that he was simply Rector of Harborne. He was a pluralist and certainly non-resident and his benefice might have been referred to loosely as a prebend on this occasion. At any rate, the next vacancy at Harborne coincided with the elevation of William de Kilkenny to the episcopate in 1255. (fn. 254) Between then and 1257 the king, as guardian of Margaret de Redver's grandson, Baldwin, Earl of Devon, recovered the presentation from the bishop by another assize of darrein presentment. (fn. 255) Margaret's grant to Halesowen was apparently forgotten and the abbot's rights were ignored, but in 1260 he came forward once more and claimed the advowson from Baldwin. The abbot said that it had originally belonged to the manor, and had been granted to the abbey by Margaret. Baldwin's defence was that the church was not in any case vacant, but was held by Henry de Ganio, a Roman whom the bishop had presented by provision of the pope. The abbot replied that Henry had forfeited the church by marriage. (fn. 256) Although this last plea apparently failed, Baldwin nevertheless remitted all his claim to the abbey in the following year. (fn. 257)
Henry de Ganio continued to be troublesome. A papal mandate of 1274 ordered the Prior of Coventry to restore to the unnamed prebend of Henry de Ganio the tithes and other property which he had leased to others: (fn. 258) no explanation is given of the choice of the prior for the duty. This prebend is identified in the 14th-century Lichfield chapter register as Harborne, and Harborne had also been named in the same source as a prebend of Lichfield in 1255. (fn. 259) Henry was probably prebendary of Gaia Minor, (fn. 260) and his successor as prebendary there claimed that Harborne belonged to that prebend: neither seems to have claimed that it constituted a prebend itself. (fn. 261) Possibly this identification arose from the coincidence that Henry was both preben dary of Gaia Minor and Rector of Harborne. The naming of Harborne as a prebend in 1255 may have resulted from a similar confusion in the case of William de Kilkenny who was, among other things, Archdeacon of Coventry; (fn. 262) or from an earlier and perhaps similar connexion with Gaia Minor, which stands before Harborne in the list of prebends. (fn. 263)
The final stage was reached in 1279 when a dispute over Harborne church between Henry and the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield was ended by arbitration. Henry was adjudged to have lost whatever right he had ever had in the church, together with its dependent chapel of Edgbaston; the church was to remain appropriated to the common fund of the chapter. (fn. 264) It seems possible that confusion between Henry's different positions, combined with his various defections, perhaps including marriage, had converted the whole question of the ownership of the church into a disciplinary dispute between him and the chapter of which he was a member. This view of the case is made more likely by the dispute which had gone on concurrently between the dean and chapter and the Abbot of Halesowen, who may have resented the chapter's assumption of authority over Harborne. This dispute, which also concerned other matters, had ended in 1278 with a fine by which the abbey remitted all its right in the advowson to the dean and chapter. (fn. 265) From now on the church remained appropriated to the dean and chapter: a final claim was made unsuccessfully in 1281 by Rayner of Florence, prebendary of Gaia Minor, that Harborne belonged to his prebend. Rayner renounced his suit in 1283 on perusal of the chapter's documentary evidence that they had secured the church canonically to their common use. (fn. 266)
The dean and chapter retained the advowson of the church until 1884, when it passed to the Bishop of Lichfield. (fn. 267) It was transferred to the Bishop of Birmingham on the foundation of the diocese. (fn. 268)
Harborne church was not mentioned until the early 13th century. (fn. 269) Edgbaston was originally a chapel of Harborne, but by the end of the Middle Ages it was in fact independent, though it was still called a curacy. (fn. 270) In the 13th century Handsworth church owed a pension of 2 marks to Harborne, (fn. 271) which may also reflect some earlier dependent relationship.
Harborne church was not mentioned in the Taxatio, perhaps because the vicarage, if any, was below the value of 6 marks. A vicarage had been ordained by 1359, (fn. 272) but it was evidently of low value, since the vicarage was not mentioned in 1535, when the appropriated church, together with the tithes of Smethwick, was valued at £3 4s. (fn. 273) The tithes were commuted by 1848 for £268 a year payable to the dean and chapter, and £520 to the vicar. (fn. 274)
Land next to the 'Chirchebrugge' in Edgbaston was granted to the mother church of Harborne in the 13th century. Halesowen Abbey granted part of the waste of Smethwick to the church in 1278, possibly at a stage in the dispute about the advowson. 'Holouwemedue' was quitclaimed to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield in 1293. It was already in their possession and was inclosed in their park, which presumably appertained to the church since there is no reason to believe that they held any property in Harborne except the church. (fn. 275) In 1887 there were 23½ a. of glebe. (fn. 276)
In 1638 the Vicar of Harborne was Thomas Bayly, a staunch supporter of the royalist cause who later, having become a Roman Catholic, achieved some fame as a controversial writer. (fn. 277) In the early 19th century there was no resident clergyman. James Thomas Law, Chancellor of Lichfield diocese, became vicar in 1825: he was actively interested in Birmingham affairs, but he lived generally at Lichfield and the vicar's parochial tasks seem to have been performed by two curates. (fn. 278) Law was succeeded as vicar by a cousin of the same name who, having been converted to the Roman Catholic faith, was in turn succeeded by the greatly respected John Garbett. (fn. 279) The part of the ancient parish of Harborne which is now in Birmingham was never subjected to the same degree of overpopulation as the part which is now Smethwick; Smethwick became separated ecclesiastically from Harborne in 1842. (fn. 280) Church extension in Harborne was less intense than in nearly all the other parishes now in Birmingham. The parish church, after being enlarged in 1827, held 260 free sittings. (fn. 281) A chapel at Smethwick had been founded in 1732, and to this a parish was assigned in 1842. (fn. 282) A parish was assigned out of Harborne to the new church of St. John the Baptist, Harborne, in 1859. The church of St. Faith and St. Laurence which originated as a mission church of Harborne in 1906, became a parish church in 1933, the new parish being created partly out of Harborne parish. A room in Park Road, called St. Paul's mission room from 1906, was licensed for public worship from 1892 to 1926. (fn. 283)
The parish church of St. Peter, Old Church Road, consists of an apsidal chancel, nave, north and south transepts and aisles, south porch, and a west tower which is the only ancient feature, dating mainly from the 15th century, but probably on an earlier base. (fn. 284) It is 11 ft. north to south inside by 9 ft. deep and is built of red sandstone in three stages with moulded string-courses. Only the south side has the semblance of a plinth, and the lower stringcourse appears only in the north and south walls. The outer walls are 5 ft. 2 in. thick, but the east wall with the archway is much thinner. At the west angles are diagonal buttresses of three stages; up to the top of the second stage these have plinths of two splayed offsets, and on the upper part of the outer face of the north-west buttress is a carved corbel for an image. In the south-west angle is a stair-vice with a south doorway having old jambs and modern segmental-pointed head, and upper loop lights.
The archway towards the nave, a little north of the nave's axis, is two-centred and of two hollowchamfered orders, the outer continuous on the east face, the inner carried on semi-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases. In the west wall is a doorway with double-ogee moulded jambs and four-centred head and above it a window of three cinquefoiled lights and vertical tracery in a fourcentred head, partly restored. In the south wall is a late-14th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights and a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the hoodmould had been cut away. This window is of a brighter red stone than the walling. In the north wall outside is a shallow niche with a trefoiled ogee head of the 14th century. Its jamb-stones course with those of the walling and it may have been originally a small window. The second stage has a small rectangular south window, and just below the upper string-course are clock faces. The bell chamber windows are of two plain pointed lights with plain spandrels in two-centred heads: the jambs are of two chamfered orders. The embattled parapet has returned copings to the merlons: it has been partly restored.
The remainder of the church, much enlarged in the 18th century, enlarged in 1827, and rebuilt by Y. Thomason in 1867, has walls of squared rag-faced red sandstone and slated roofs. Each of the three sides of the apse of the chancel has a two-light traceried window of late-14th-century style. The nave has archways into the transepts (which are fitted with galleries) and arcades of four bays of late-13th-century style. The side and west windows are of two lights with tracery, and the south doorway, near the west end, has a small porch.
There are several mural monuments to members of the Green and Price families dating from 1771 and later. In the tower are two old painted boards recording charities of the Revd. William Jephcote, minister, 1715, and Mrs. Elizabeth Ball of Castle Bromwich, 1765. In the churchyard is the grave of the painter David Cox (d. 1859).
The registers of baptisms, burials and marriages begin in 1538, and have gaps for the years 1648–52, 1683 and 1699. (fn. 285)
11. The ancient parish church of ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL, Aston, may be assumed to have existed since the time of Domesday or earlier, for Domesday Book mentions a priest at Aston. (fn. 286) The early history of the rectory and advowson of the church is a little obscure. In a charter of 1187 Gervase Paynel, lord of Aston manor, confirmed various grants, including that of the church of Aston with its dependent chapels and its appurtenances to the priory of Tickford (Bucks.), also known as the priory of Newport Pagnell. (fn. 287) The grant of Aston church, with the chapels of Yardley, Castle Bromwich and Water Orton, was apparently made by Gervase himself in a charter of c. 1165. (fn. 288) This grant was confirmed by Gervase's nephew Ralph de Somery between 1194 and 1220. The appropriation of the church to the priory was made by Richard Peche, Bishop of Coventry 1161–82, and confirmed by Hubert Walter and in 1224 by Stephen Langton. (fn. 289) It appears, therefore, that Tickford Priory was seised of the rectory of Aston and of the advowson of Aston church and its chapels by the end of the 12th century. In 1220, however, in a dispute about the advowson of Yardley chapel, it was decided that as Thomas de Erdington, lord of Aston manor, had made the last two presentations, one in time of peace and one in time of war, in right of his patronage of Aston church, Thomas's son Giles should have seisin of the advowson, which he then remitted to the Prior of Tickford. (fn. 290) It is possible that Thomas de Erdington had been presenting to Yardley chapel in the early years of the 13th century in ignorance or despite of earlier grants.
The Prior of Tickford seems to have regarded his title to the advowson of Aston as uncertain even after the settlement of 1220 and Langton's confirmation of the appropriation in 1224, for in 1230 he brought an action apparently to confirm his right. The jury, however, found that the charter produced by the prior, alleged to have been granted by Thomas de Erdington, was forged, and that Giles de Erdington therefore recovered the advowson. (fn. 291) This he conveyed to the Prior of Tickford a few months later for the consideration that he should receive spiritual benefits. (fn. 292)
The monks of Tickford were not undisturbed in their enjoyment of the rectory for the next hundred years. At some time before 1254 William de Kilkenny, a royal official who later became Bishop of Ely, became Rector of Aston. (fn. 293) Presumably he was presented by Tickford Priory: perhaps Tickford, like Tewkesbury, was ordered to find him a valuable benefice. (fn. 294) During Kilkenny's incumbency, a vicarage was ordained, and a pension of 20 marks out of the rectory was assigned to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield. (fn. 295) Early in the 14th century the nuns of Catesby (Northants.) claimed and apparently collected ⅓ of the tithes belonging to Aston church, perhaps on the grounds of the grant to them in 1279 of the advowson of Yardley. The Prior of Tickford had recovered these tithes by 1331, when he received a grant to retain them in mortmain. (fn. 296)
In 1291 the rectory was said to be worth 40 marks, in addition to the pension of 20 marks paid to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield. (fn. 297) In 1341 the rectory was taxed at £40. (fn. 298) The property of Tickford Priory in Aston came to be regarded as a rectorial manor, the history of which is given elsewhere. (fn. 299)
A vicarage was ordained in 1254 by Roger de Weseham, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and an amendment to this ordination was made c. 1260. (fn. 300) From then until 1524 the advowson of the vicarage belonged to Tickford Priory; in the second half of the 14th century the temporalities of the priory were in the king's hand, and the Crown presented. In 1525 the advowson was granted to Cardinal College at Oxford, and in 1532 to Henry VIII's College. (fn. 301) In 1552 and 1561 Ambrose Cave, who had married Sir Thomas Holte's widow, presented in right of his wife's dowry. (fn. 302) From about that time until 1818 the advowson descended with the manor of Aston. (fn. 303) Soon afterwards George Peake (Vicar of Aston 1823–30) became patron, and on his death in 1830 the advowson passed to another George Peake, Vicar of Aston 1852–79. (fn. 304) By 1859 the advowson had been transferred to trustees, known as the Aston Trustees. (fn. 305) In 1960 the Aston Trustees held, in addition, the advowsons of nine other churches in the ancient parish of Aston. (fn. 306) In 1291 the vicarage of Aston was valued at £5 a year. (fn. 307) The value in 1535, including the chapel of Castle Bromwich which was worth 14s. a year, was £21 4s. 8d., besides a pension of 3s. paid to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield, a sum of 3s. 8d. for procurations and synodals, and 4d. for the rent of a garden. (fn. 308) The net annual income of the benefice in 1953 was £1,273. (fn. 309)
In 1449 a licence was granted to Sir Thomas Erdington, lord of Erdington manor, to found a chantry of one chaplain to celebrate divine service at the altar of St. Mary the Virgin in the south aisle of Aston church. (fn. 310) The chantry was commonly called Erdington's chantry. (fn. 311) In 1495 it was named as the chantry of St. Mary Magdalen. (fn. 312) The advowson of the chantry apparently descended with the manor of Erdington until its suppression. (fn. 313) In 1449 the chantry was licensed to hold lands to the value of 6 marks a year. (fn. 314) In 1535 the chantry was worth £17 19s. a year, besides 16s. paid out in rents and 3s. 4d. given in alms for the soul of the founder. (fn. 315) An annuity of 40s. to be charged on the possessions of the chantry was granted in 1545 by Robert Shelmerdyne, the chantry priest, to John Throckmorton of the Middle Temple, London, 'for his good counsel'. This annuity continued to be paid after the suppression of the chantry. (fn. 316) In 1548 the chantry, with the house and priest's mansion in Aston and various tenements in Erdington, Witton, Handsworth, and Melton Mowbray (Leics.), was granted to Richard Palladye and Francis Foxhall. The same property was granted in the following year to Thomas Hawkins (or Fisher). (fn. 317)
Early in the 13th century Thomas de Erdington had a private chapel in his manor-house at Erdington. After a dispute between Thomas and the Rector of Aston, it was agreed that the rector should receive the tithes of Aston mill; that the chaplain should swear to make over the offerings and oblations to the mother church; and that Thomas and his wife should attend Aston church on feast days, except that of the dedication of the chapel, and on the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul should offer two wax candles weighing three pounds. (fn. 318) In 1309 Henry de Erdington sent John le Hulle of 'Lemynton' to the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield to be ordained sub-deacon and upwards, guaranteeing 60s. a year for John to celebrate at his chapel in Erdington. (fn. 319)
Licences were granted for oratories in Aston parish to Richard de Clodeshale in 1360 and the Vicar of Aston in 1370. (fn. 320)
The parish of Aston in the early Middle Ages covered a wide, dispersed area, and contained a number of scattered hamlets. The most notable events in the history of the parish as an ecclesiastical unit are connected with the breaking up of the parish into a number of smaller units. The parish church lay on the western boundary of the parish: the hamlets within the parish were up to six miles distant from the parish church, and it is conceivable that some had chapels of their own from very early in their history. In the middle of the 12th century there were said to be chapels dependent on Aston church at Yardley, Castle Bromwich and Water Orton. (fn. 321) Yardley seems to have become independent of Aston by about the end of the 13th century, although the priors of Tickford, as appropriators of Aston church, continued to claim their rights over Yardley. (fn. 322) The church at Castle Bromwich did not attain the status of a parish church until 1878, but it may in fact have been largely independent from some time earlier. (fn. 323) The chapel at Water Orton, apparently refounded c. 1345, became an ecclesiastical parish in 1871. (fn. 324) Other chapels built in Aston parish before the 19th century were St. John's, Deritend, founded 1381, St. Margaret's, Ward End (also called Little Bromwich), founded c. 1516, and St. James's, Ashted, founded 1789. (fn. 325) With the growth of population in Aston parish from the second half of the 19th century the need for new churches there became urgent. (fn. 326) Between 1823 and 1952 another 31 churches were built and consecrated within the ancient parish of Aston and within the modern city boundary. (fn. 327) The following ecclesiastical parishes were formed directly out of Aston parish: St. Matthew, Duddeston (1842), St. Andrew, Bordesley (1846), St. Saviour, Saltley (1848), St. Silas, Lozells (1854), St. Barnabas, Erdington (1858), Holy Trinity, Bordesley (1864), Christ Church, Sparkbrook (1867), St. Basil, Deritend (1886), St. James, Aston (1906); and parts of St. Mary, Aston Brook (1864), All Souls, Witton (1926), and All Saints, Gravelly Hill (1929). A large number of mission rooms and mission churches were used at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. The following were licensed by the bishop as missions of Aston parish church for public worship: St. James's church room, Tower Rd. (1878–92); St. James's church, Frederick Rd. (see no. 76); Holy Trinity mission church, Lichfield Rd. (since 1896); Dyson Hall mission church, Park Rd. (since 1897); All Saints Mission, Witton (1908– 40); Ellen Knox Memorial Hall, Tower Rd. (since 1908); St. Peter's Mission, Deykin Avenue (1908– 52); Alfred St. Mission (1908–22); Vicarage Rd. Mission (1908–20); Catherine St. Mission (1908– 20); St. Martin's mission church, Perry Common (since 1927). (fn. 328)
The parish church, which stands close to Aston Hall at the junction of Witton Lane and Park Road, is a stone building consisting of a chancel with north organ chamber and south chapel, nave, north and south aisles, porch and west tower with a tall spire. (fn. 329) Only the tower is ancient, dating from the 15th century. The spire was rebuilt in 1776. (fn. 330) The rest of the church was thoroughly rebuilt between 1879 and 1890. (fn. 331) The south aisle and porch were again rebuilt in 1908. (fn. 332) The view of c. 1820 in the Aylesford Collection is from the south-east and shows the chancel with an east window of c. 1300 of three lights and intersecting tracery, and with three south windows. The nave had a low-pitched roof, and the blocked head of a former chancel arch showed above the low-pitched chancel roof. The south aisle had three south lancet windows and an 18th- or early-19th-century east window, above which was the blocked pointed head of the earlier east window. The mullions of the aisle and clerestory windows had been removed in 1790 when the roof and interior of the church had been restored. (fn. 333) It was observed about 1860 that a course of red sandstone in the north wall of the church may have belonged to a church of the Norman period. (fn. 334)
The present chancel and nave are undivided structurally. The chancel has a three-sided apse with traceried windows, and north and south arcades of two bays lavishly carved. In the apse are marble sedilia and wall-lining. The nave has arcades of seven bays with alternate round and octagonal piers, and a tall clerestory with traceried windows. The roof is of hammerbeam type. A pointed archway opens into the tower. In the south aisle is a reset ogee-headed niche, presumably a 14th-century piscina. The west tower is of four stages, divided by moulded string-courses, and with a moulded plinth. At the angles are square buttresses reaching to just above the third stage. The walls are of dark greybrown ashlar. In the south-east angle is a stair-vice projecting to the south. In the west wall is a pointed doorway with moulded jambs and head with a hoodmould. The west window, above the string-course, is of three cinquefoiled lights, the middle ogeeheaded, the others elliptical-headed, with vertical tracery in a main head with hood-mould; below the transom the lights have cinquefoiled elliptical heads. In the north and south sides are similar windows but with lower sills, the string-course dropping below the sills. The lights, which have been restored, have plain uncusped heads. The bell-chamber windows are unusually treated with a series of tall and narrow lights in two tiers with trefoiled fourcentre heads set deeply recessed in chamfered segmental-headed outer orders. There are six in the east and west walls, five in the north and four in the south. On each side two of the lights are piercings, the others are blanks. They are presumably original as the masonry is ancient. The embattled parapet and the angle pinnacles are modern. Above the tower is a tall octagonal spire with four windows of two four-centred lights at the base, and four ranges of spire-lights, each of one light and with a carved finial. At the apex is a ball and weather-cock.
Most of the furniture is modern. At the west end of the nave are four late-15th-century choir stalls with moulded cappings and moulded shaped elbows to the divisions, carved with human heads. The seats, originally hinged, are fixed. The backs retain some of the foiling to the panels. There are also the front desks with foiled standards and poppy-heads (some damaged) and fronts panelled with four trefoiled bays and tracery.
The church contains many monuments. (fn. 335) The most notable are: an effigy of a knight c. 1360, possibly Ralph Arden, and, on the same altar tomb, the effigy of a lady c. 1490, possibly Elizabeth, wife of Robert Arden; an effigy of a knight, probably Sir William Harcourt (d. 1482 or later); effigies of Thomas de Erdington (d. 1434) and his wife Anne; effigies of William Holte (d. 1514) and his wife Joan; effigies of Sir Edward Devereux (d. 1622) and his wife Katherine; a mutilated effigy of a knight of c. 1435; and a mural monument depicting the kneeling figures of Edward Holte (d. 1592) and his wife Dorothy. Among other monuments are those to Henry Charles, servant to Robert and Charles Holte (d. 1700), John son of William Legard, Vicar of Tardebigg (Worcs.) (d. 1722), Josiah Foster, Vicar of Aston (d. 1727), and Mary wife of William Lloyd (d. 1689).
There are 900 sittings in the church. There were said to be five bells in 1552 and 1760. A peal of ten bells, five of 1775–6 and five of 1814, (fn. 336) was recast in 1935, when two new bells were added. (fn. 337) The plate is modern. The register of burials dates from 1544, of marriages from 1561, and of baptisms from 1563, but they are imperfect.
12. The church of ST. PHILIP, Birmingham, which is now the cathedral church, was built between 1711 and 1725 under an Act of 1708, and consecrated in 1715. The site was given by Robert Phillips, to whose name the dedication alludes. (fn. 338) There appears to have been some difficulty at first in raising funds to build the new church. The town petitioned the Crown that they might use windfall or dotard trees in Whittlewood Forest (Northants.), Needwood Forest (Staffs.) or elsewhere to sell for the purpose; (fn. 339) later they sought the help of Lord Digby and Lord Dartmouth, and in 1725 George I gave £600 towards the completion of the church. (fn. 340) In the same year William Inge wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons of his efforts to encourage the building of the new church. (fn. 341) The Act of 1708 provided for the formation of a parish of St. Philip, to be taken out of St. Martin's, and for the endowment of a rectory, to which was attached the prebend of Sawley (Derb.) in Lichfield Cathedral. (fn. 342) The net annual income of the rectory was £289 13s. 4d. in 1781, (fn. 343) and £1,762 in 1953. (fn. 344) The advowson belonged to the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry until 1836, when it was transferred to the Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 345) It was again transferred in 1905, to the Bishop of Birmingham. (fn. 346) The area of the parish has undergone several changes since 1708: part of the parish of St. Jude, Birmingham, was assigned out of St. Philip's in 1845; the parish of St. Peter, Birmingham (see below, no. 114), and part of the parish of Christ Church, Birmingham, were formed out of St. Philip's in 1847 and 1865, and were again merged with St. Philip's in 1899 and 1897 respectively; part of what had been Christ Church parish was transferred to St. Barnabas's, Birmingham, in 1901; and parts of St. Martin's and St. Bartholomew's, Birmingham, were added to St. Philip's in 1900 and 1939 respectively. (fn. 347) St. Philip's has been the cathedral church of the diocese of Birmingham since the foundation of the diocese in 1905, (fn. 348) and the Rector of St. Philip's is also the provost of the diocese. (fn. 349)
St. Philip's has not shared the worst difficulties encountered by nearly all the other new churches in central Birmingham. The parish has always been a comparatively small one, and despite the fact that during the 18th century and most of the 19th the church was largely filled with appropriated pews accommodation was more nearly adequate there than elsewhere. The benefice was well endowed, allowing the rector to pay an additional curate. The Hon. Grantham Yorke, who became rector in 1844 and was well known for his work for education in Birmingham, attempted on several occasions to run mission services, but each time his efforts met with initial success and subsequent indifference. (fn. 350) Later in the century the church seems to have suffered from the change that was overcoming the centre of the city. In the sixties an effort had to be made to clear the churchyard of dumped rubbish and the tombstones of fly-bills. (fn. 351) Unlike most of the other central churches, St. Philip's did not need to establish licensed mission rooms at the end of the 19th century. The only places in the parish licensed for public worship have been the Birmingham and Midland Eye Hospital (since 1909) and the Townsend Club in Church Street (since 1948). (fn. 352)
The cathedral church of St. Philip stands in the middle of its churchyard in Colmore Row, on the highest ground in central Birmingham; after it had ceased to be used for burials the churchyard became an ornamental garden. St. Philip's has aroused favourable comment at all periods and is considered one of the finest of the small group of Baroque churches built in England at the beginning of the 18th century. (fn. 353) It was designed by Thomas Archer whose travels in Italy had given him first-hand knowledge of the work of the great Baroque architects. He apparently presented his design in 1709, the main body of the church was completed in 1715, and the tower in 1725. In plan the building is rectangular with projections at the east and west ends formed by the chancel and the tower. Originally it consisted of an aisled nave of six bays and a shallow apsidal chancel with a central rectangular recess for the altar. The aisles continued westwards to form vestibules containing gallery staircases on each side of the tower. (fn. 354) In 1884, under the direction of J. A. Chatwin, the chancel was enlarged, both by adding a bay to its external projection and by extending it internally to include the easternmost bay of the nave. At the same time the eastern ends of the aisles were converted into vestries. The arch from the nave into the tower was opened up to provide a baptistery, and the west gallery, which had carried the organ, was demolished. The original galleries in the aisles were retained and the organ was placed over the north vestry. (fn. 355) When the church became a cathedral in 1905 the interior of the church was redecorated and the vestries were extended.
The chancel, which includes many of the features of the original design, has tall round-headed windows and its side bays are formed by detached Corinthian columns on high pedestals. On each side a further western bay opens on to the north and south vestries. The nave has arcades of five bays each with fluted square Doric pillars and roundheaded arches, the gallery-fronts being at midheight. The ceiling, beneath a low-pitched timber roof, is flat and coved down to the cornices. Each aisle, with which is incorporated an east vestry and a west lobby, has seven side-bays with round-headed windows and a doorway at each end. Externally the bays are divided by pilasters supporting an entablature with triglyphs and an open balustraded parapet with urns. (fn. 356) The round-headed east and west doorways are each placed between pilasters which support a pediment. The lower stage of the tower, which forms the projecting middle bay of the west front, has a large round-headed west window and a curved pediment instead of the balustrade. The round-headed archway to the nave has pilasters resembling the arcades of the nave; the ceiling of the lowest stage is saucer-shaped. The upper stage of the tower, where the Baroque influence is particularly noticeable, has concave sides with large round-headed belfry-lights between broad diagonal piers faced with twin pilasters; these support pairs of scrolled consoles which embrace a short octagonal attic stage, in the cardinal faces of which are clock-dials. Above is a leaded dome with an open colonnaded lantern bearing a ball and weather-vane.
The organ-case was built by Swarbrick in 1715 and some of the original pipe work is incorporated in the modern instrument. The low chancel-screen is similar in style to the work of Jean Tijou or of his pupil Robert Bakewell of Derby. The three east windows and the west window of the tower were glazed by William Morris from designs by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. There are a number of 18thand 19th-century mural monuments in the aisles and the nave arcades. (fn. 357) There were originally eight bells. For these a ring of ten by Thomas Lester of London was substituted in 1750–1. Two bells were replaced or recast in 1772, a third in 1796, and a fourth in 1823. (fn. 358) The registers of baptisms, marriages and burials run without a break from 1715, and the series has been described as 'a pattern of excellence'. (fn. 359) William Higgs (d. 1733), the first rector, left to the church a theological library and £200 for future purchases; such of the books as are thought useful are now kept at the Clerical Library in Queen's College Chambers and at the Birmingham Reference Library.
13. The church of THE ASCENSION, Hall Green, also called HALL GREEN CHAPEL and originally known as JOB MARSTON CHAPEL (see V.C.H. Worcs. iii. 242, 244), became a parish church when a parish was assigned to it out of Yardley in 1907. (fn. 360) In 1933 the patronage was transferred from trustees to the Bishop of Birmingham, who appoints to the benefice on the nomination of himself, the Vicar of Yardley, and the vice-chairman of the Hall Green Parochial Church Council. (fn. 361) In 1907 parts of Hall Green parish were transferred to the parishes of St. Mary, Acock's Green, and St. John, Sparkhill; and part of the latter was transferred to Hall Green. (fn. 362) The register dates from 1704.
14. The advowson of the vicarage of ST. EDBURGHA, Yardley (see V.C.H. Worcs. iii. 241–4), was held by J. M. Severne in 1859, (fn. 363) and by the Revd. J. Dodd from before 1890 until 1897, (fn. 364) since when it has been in the hands of trustees. (fn. 365) The following parishes have been formed out of the ancient parish of Yardley: St. Mary, Acock's Green (1867), St. Cyprian, Hay Mill (1878), St. John, Sparkhill (1894), Hall Green (1907), All Saints, Stechford (1932), St. Michael, South Yardley (1956), and part of Christ Church, Yardley Wood (1849). In 1948 further parts of Yardley parish were transferred to the parish of St. Cyprian, Hay Mills, and parts of Sheldon were transferred to Yardley. (fn. 366) Places in the parish licensed for public worship were: St. Michael, South Yardley; the schoolroom, Sparkhill, 1862–1907; Hay Mill mission chapel (see no. 64); Stechford iron church (see no. 24); the South Yardley mission room, 1910–26; Lea mission room, 1910–40; and Bishop Lightfoot Church Hall, 1939–55. (fn. 367)
15. The advowson of the church of ST. GILES, Sheldon (see V.C.H. Warws. iv. 203–5), was held by S. Wingfield-Digby in 1960. (fn. 368) In 1948 parts of Sheldon parish were transferred to Yardley, and part of the parish of St. Margaret, Olton, was transferred to Sheldon. (fn. 369) Sheldon mission church, Tile Cross, was licensed for public worship from 1924 until the Second World War, Marston Green Mental Hospital from 1937 until the Second World War, and Garrett's Green Community Centre from 1956. (fn. 370)
16. The church of ST. LAURENCE, Northfield (see V.C.H. Worcs. iii. 199–200), was enlarged by the addition of a north aisle at the end of the 19th century. (fn. 371) The six old bells were replaced in 1927 by a ring of eight by Taylors of Loughborough. (fn. 372) A vestry on the north side of the church was completed in 1960. The following parishes have been formed out of Northfield parish: St. Mary, Selly Oak (1862); part of St. Francis, Bournville (1926); part of St. Gabriel, Weoley Castle (1933); and part of St. Bartholomew, Allen's Cross (1938). In 1933 part of Northfield was transferred to Bournville, (fn. 373) and in 1939 the parish was enlarged by the addition of part of the parish of St. Chad, Rubery (Worcs.). (fn. 374) Places in the parish licensed for public worship were the Woodland Park Mission (see no. 69) and the Shenley Fields Homes, licensed from 1928 until the Second World War. (fn. 375)
17. Out of the ecclesiastical parish of ST. MARY, Moseley (see V.C.H. Worcs. iii. 189, 190), the parish of St. Anne, Moseley (1875), and parts of the parishes of All Saints, King's Heath (1863), the Ascension, Stirchley (1912), and St. Agnes, Moseley (1914), have been formed. The following places in the parish were licensed for public worship: a temporary wooden chapel near the Oxford Road, 1879–97; the chapel of the Society of the Incarnation, in Church Road, 1924–6; the Wake Green Toc H from 1936 until the Second World War and again from 1952; the Diocesan Home for Girls (in the parish of Christ Church, Sparkbrook, until 1951) since 1927; and the Uffculme Open Air School, Queensbridge Rd., since 1952. (fn. 376)
18. Out of the ecclesiastical parish of ST. NICOLAS, King's Norton (see V.C.H. Worcs. iii. 187–90), the following parishes have been formed: St. Mary, Moseley (1853), St. Paul, Balsall Heath (1853), St. Agnes, Cotteridge (1916); and parts of the parishes of Christ Church, Yardley Wood (1849), All Saints, King's Heath (1863), the Ascension, Stirchley (1912), St. Francis, Bournville (1926), and St. Mary Magdalen, Hazelwell (1932). The following places in the parish were licensed for public worship: Stirchley school chapel, 1863–96; West Heath mission room since 1900; Longbridge Mission and Monyhull Mission since 1928; (fn. 377) Cotteridge Church Room, later consecrated as St. Agnes from 1898. The old bells in the parish church have been replaced by a ring of eight cast by Taylors of Loughborough in 1924, except for the 4th which was cast in 1905. The inscriptions of the original bells are reproduced on the new bells. (fn. 378)