Wednesbury St Bartholomew
"The Parish Church, St Bartholomew, stands on the summit of a bold eminence, which was once the site of a Saxon castle. It is a large and handsome fabric, in the transition style of the 13th and 14th centuries, and was repewed, thoroughly repaired, and enlarged by the erection of a north transept, in 1827. The aisles are separated from the nave by neat arches, resting upon octagonal pillars. Here are several antique stalls, exquisitely carved, and a variety of monuments and effigies, in honour of the ancestors of Lord Dudley and Lord Harcourt. The tower contains eight musical bells and a clock, and is surmounted by a lofty spire.
The vicarage is in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. Isaac Clarkson, MA, who has held the living since 1829. "
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]
St Bartholomew, standing on the summit of a hill at the north end of the town, is a fine building of stone in the Perpendicular style, consisting of a chancel, clerestoried nave, aisles, south porch, transepts, and an embattled western tower, of three stages, with pinnacles at the angles, and an octagonal spire, containing a clock and ten bells.
The first reference to a church at Wednesbury occurs in the Plea Rolls of 1210. Although some historians believe the original church was pre-Norman Conquest there is no real evidence to support this. The church was extensively rebuilt towards the end of the 15th century, partially restored in 1765 and further repaired and enlarged by the erection of a north transept in 1827. In 1878 it was further restored and the spire raised 12 feet and in 1885 the interior was totally restored and reseated, the galleries taken down and the floor lowered to its original level. In 1902/3 the north and south transepts were restored and enlarged and the chapel of the Ascension was formed in the south transept in 1913. In 1927 the west tower porch was transformed into a baptistery, opening up the previously hidden 14th century arch.
The font was presented by the Rev Isaac Clarkson in 1827 and the organ was originally the gift of Benjamin Wright of Birmingham. The reredos of alabaster were were presented by the Haughton family in 1890 and on the west wall is a painting by Jean Jouvenet (1647-1717) of the Descent from the Cross. The lectern, of gilded plaster on an oak pedestal, representing a fighting cock, is pre-Reformation and believed to be unique.
Monuments in the church include effigies to General Thomas Parkes (died 1602) and Eleanor, his wife, with six children, two alabaster effigies to Thomas Parkes son, Richard Parkes (died 1619) and his wife Dorothy, and a bust by P Hollins of the Rev Isaac Clarkson, vicar of Wednesbury from 1829-1864.
The living is a vicarage, in the gift of the Bishop of Lichfield.
A view of St Bartholomew's Church pre-1827.
The interior of St Bartholomew's Church pre-1827.
St Andrew's church, in King's Hill was erected in 1893 as a mission church to St Bartholomew. It succeeded an earlier mission church built there in 1851.
The church of the Good Shepherd at The Delves, which was built as a chapel of ease to St Bartholomew in 1850, was transferred to St Paul when the parish of Wood Green was formed. It closed in 1936 when the new ecclesiastical district of St Gabriel, Fullbrook, Walsall was formed.
Church of England Registers
The register of the parish church of St Bartholomew commences in 1561. The original registers for the period 1569-1931 (Bapts), 1562-1934 (Mar) & 1561-1926 (Bur), and Banns for the period 1754-1826 are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts, 1673-1844 (with some gaps) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.
An indexed transcript of the St Bartholomew register for the period 1561-1812 has been published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
The register of the mission church of St Andrew, Kings Hill for the period 1853-1914 (Bapts) are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Nonconformist Church Registers
Records of Nonconformist churches in Wednesbury can be found on the Wednesbury page.
The transcription of the section for Wednesbury St Bartholomew from the Topographical Dictionary of England (1859)
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