15th September 2019 The photo this week is of the monument for John George Thursfield who died on 9th May 1828 aged 28 and his wife, Eleanor Mary who died on 7th May 1864. The monument is a modest marble tablet with a heavy stone surround, including Gothic columns. There is a string-type band over the top with Acanthus leaves. There are a couple of flowers and some vine. The outer frame is very plain. John was born in Wednesbury on 30th December 1798, the son of Richard Thursfield and Letitia Periam. He had 2 children. John passed away in 1828 in Leamington. His grave is in our Church cemetery.
John was born in Wednesbury on 30th December 1798, the son of Richard Thursfield and Letitia Periam. He had 2 children. John passed away in 1828 in Leamington. His grave is in our Church cemetery.
8th September 2019 (Please click on each photo above to see a fuller picture.) This week’s photo is thought to be of Francis Wortley's crest (Frankus Wortleius de Wortley). There is a Latin inscription that records the saving of Wortley’s life by some unnamed person, presumed to be a certain Walter Harcourt, whose memorial plaque was originally beneath the Wortley tablet when this was located in the chancel. The frame consists of two thick square pilasters. (Unfortunately, I could not get a reasonable photo to show this as it is quite dark.) Above it is a free-standing coat of arms upon a roughly square backing carved as a piece of fabric with many small folds all emanating from a knight’s helm above; this helm is crowned, and upon it is a simple but spirited carving of a peacock. It is presumed this is the surviving remnant of some more ornate tomb.
When researching this crest I discovered that Sir Francis Wortley, 1st Baronet, was a poet and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1624 and 1626. He supported the Royalist cause in the English Civil War. He lived in a time of great political, social and religious turmoil in the British Isles. Francis was the son of Sir Richard Wortley, of Wortley Hall, near Barnsley, Yorkshire and his wife was Elizabeth Boughton, daughter of Edward Boughton, of Cawston, Warwickshire (afterwards Countess of Devonshire). He succeeded his father in the family estates on 25 July 1603. Wortley was a Royalist and fought for the King, allowing Wortley Hall to be used as a garrison for 150 dragoons. However, in 1644 Sir Francis was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London and on his release in 1649 he was obliged to pay a heavy fine to recover his property.
1st September 2019 This week’s photo is of a fine bust in a niche of Revd Isaac Clarkson. He was the Vicar of Wednesbury and a fundraiser for the Church. He is shown in late middle age with a purposeful look, a stern and serious man wearing a heavy cloak above suit and cravat; this garb giving something of the modern while preserving a sense of Classical decorum. This monument is the last work in the Church by Peter Hollins and is a good example of a mid-Victorian monument with a bust, following directly in a tradition of monuments with busts dating back to the later 17th Century. A separate wall plaque cut in the shape of a headstone notes that Revd Clarkson presented the font and a new clock for the Church in 1856. Below the bust is a long inscription that reads as follows: This monument attests the affectionate regard of the parishioners and many friends for the late Revd Isaac Clarkson who served God in the sacred ministry of Christ’s Church for a period of thirty five years as Curate and Vicar of Wednesbury and for nearly five years as Vicar of Sandal Magna Yorkshire where he died and was buried. He was in the commission of the peace for the county of Stafford for twenty one years. He was mainly instrumental in raising and expending twenty six thousand pounds in the restoration of this church, the building of the parish churches of St John, St James and Moxley and the Delves Episcopal Chapel besides school rooms in various parts of this parish. Earnest in his ministry, clear in judgement, faithful in counsel, warm in friendship. He has passed away leaving a grateful remembrance of his valued life and awaiting a joyful resurrection. The memory of the just is blessed. Born the 1st of March 1795. Died the 28th of May 1860.
25th August 2019 This week I am featuring a photo of a bookmark that Father Mark has had done. It has an image of Saint Bartholomew and below it is a prayer.
18th August 2019 (Click on each photo to view a larger version.)
This week I have chosen to show you photos of the ceiling in the Lady Chapel.
Prior to the Quiet Hour service on 2nd August I looked up and noticed that there were 4 sections that are very different to the rest of the ceiling. I have attended this church for about 37 years and had never noticed this before! Linda Russell said she believed they represented the four Saints: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I have now been reliably informed by the Revd Tim Vasby-Burnie (thanks Tim) that this is the Chapel of the Ascension and if you look into heaven (note the stars) then the one in heaven is the one written about in the gospels.
Since Tim’s advice I have investigated further and can now advise you of the meanings of these symbols, as follows:
Matthew’s symbol is a winged man, Mark a winged lion, Luke a winged ox and John an eagle. The four faces represent the four domains of God's rule: the man represents humanity; the lion represents wild animals; the ox represents domestic animals and the eagle represents birds. Saint Matthew is represented by the winged man from Revelations. Matthew the Evangelist, the author of the first gospel account, is symbolised by a winged man or angel. This represents Jesus' Incarnation and implies that we should use our power to reason in order to achieve salvation.
The winged lion is an icon that spans the centuries. The Lion of Saint Mark is a winged lion that symbolically represents Saint Mark the Evangelist, patron of Venice. It is a symbol used to give an immediate and unique sign of identity and power.
Luke the Evangelist, the author of the third gospel account (and the Acts of the Apostles), is symbolised by a winged ox or bull – a figure of sacrifice, service and strength. The ox signifies that Christians should be prepared to sacrifice themselves in following Christ.
John the Evangelist, the author of the fourth gospel account, is symbolised by an eagle – a figure of the sky, and believed by Christian scholars to be able to look straight into the sun. This symbolises that Christians should look on eternity without flinching as they journey towards their goal of union with God.
God has promised that, through Jesus, He will make an end of sins and bring everlasting righteousness.
11th August 2019 Our photo this week is of an Alms Box and is situated just inside the entrance to the church. The inscription on the box is as follows:
CONTRIBUTIONS SICK & POOR . FABRIC FUND . CHURCHYARD This alms Box is the Gift of the Children attending this Church . Feast of St Bartholomew 1909 L A Pritchard MA Vicar G Summerhill and B L Turnock - Churchwardens
A poor box, alms box, offertory box or mite box is a box that is used to collect coins for charitable purposes. They can be found in most churches built before the 19th century and were the main source of funds for poor relief before societies decided to organise the process and make the public authorities responsible for this. Alms Boxes were a safe way to collect coin and paper currency donations in churches and other public buildings and are still used in some churches today.
4th August 2019 Our photo this week is of a beautiful stained glass window in the Choir Vestry. (Originally this area of the church was the Baptistry.) The wording says: “To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Caroline Smith and of Henry Smith of Wednesbury, the walls of this Baptistry are lined with stone and this window is dedicated by their family. AD 1927” I can’t find out any information concerning Caroline and Henry Smith. If members of their family see this, I would love to hear from you.
28th July 2019 Our Open the Book team delivers a programme run by the Bible Society and they visit primary schools in our area telling Bible stories, using drama. Our team has been in operation for 4 years and during that time they have used costumes, props and humour to tell stories in a way children can remember. One particular prop the children love is Norman, our puppet. Our camels, along with their handlers, became world famous when our team was chosen to be in an Open the Book video for the Bible Society. (Check us out on Youtube - look for Open the Book.) They feature, also, on training banners. Our current team is Marg Wood, Linda Russell, Wendy Bird, Mario and Lynn Castillo, Claire Yardley and more recently Claire’s dad, Rob Yardley. We are always looking for new members to join the team. Acting skills are not necessary and you do not have to learn lines. If you prefer not to have speaking parts then we are always in need of people to be part of a crowd, friends of Jesus and so on. Or, if you have talents or skills to make props perhaps you can help in that way although, over 4 years, we have managed to make quite a lot of props already. We guarantee you will enjoy the fellowship and laughter but will also find it rewarding. Please speak to one of the team if you want more information. Our team became journalists for The Premier Youth and Children’s Work Supplement, published by the Bible Society. As Linda said, “Open the Book doesn’t infringe upon our lives; it enhances them.” That just about sums up our experience of being part of such a worthwhile activity and team. Thank you to Marg for creating the excellent board (image below) promoting what the Open the Book team does. (Can’t you tell she was a primary school teacher before retiring?) Please zoom in on the photos to see more detail.
21st July 2019 It was a lovely surprise upon arrival at church this morning to see some boards covered in red carpet. This was a gift from the Craft Club - a big ‘thank you’ for their generous donation to enable it to be done. It makes a much nicer sight upon entrance.
14th July 2019 Our photo this week is of a memorial to Isaiah Platt. It is in what is now the Choir Vestry but was, then, the Baptistry.
Isaiah Platt, OBE, was born in 1860. He was the youngest son of Mr Samuel Platt, founder of the firm of Messrs Samuel Platt, King's Hill Foundry, Wednesbury, with whom he served his time from 1876 to 1881. Isaiah then entered the drawing office of which he was given sole charge in 1886 and subsequently became a partner. In 1918 he severed his connection with the firm and established the firm of Messrs Isaiah Platt of Wednesbury, where he built up a most successful business. According to Grace’s Guide the company were manufacturers of bright steel bolts and nuts, studs, fork joints, turnbuckles etc. Mr Platt was 71 years of age at the time of his death which occurred on 1st August 1931. He had been a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers since 1903. The wording across the memorial reads: “In loving memory of Isaiah Platt, died Aug 1st 1931. The decoration of the Baptistry, Oak Seating at the West End & Churchwardens’ Pews were completed by his wife & daughter.” In the 1871 census, the entry for Samuel Platt and his family, who lived at 119 Darlaston Road, King's Hill, was as follows: Samuel Platt, aged 58, brass and iron founder, employing 26 men & 5 boys. Born in Wednesbury. Rose Hannah Platt, Wife, aged 52. Born in Wednesbury. John Platt, Son, aged 27, unmarred, iron moulder. Born in Wednesbury. Eliza Platt, Daughter, age 21, unmarried. Born in Wednesbury. Thomas Platt, Son, age 18, unmarried, iron moulder. Born in Wednesbury. Frederick Platt, Son age 13, unmarried, iron moulder. Born in Wednesbury. Isaiah Platt, Son, age 11, unmarried, scholar. Born in Wednesbury. If there are any family or friends who can offer us further information about the memorial, Isaiah’s life or his company, please contact us. Here is an advertising image for Isaiah’s company:
7th July 2019: Norman, the Open the Book's puppet, visited church this morning and had a great time. Firstly, he had his photo taken with his Open the Book team members (from left to right: Mario, Wendy, Marg, Lynn and Claire) and Marg's granddaughter, Faith. Norman had a look at the font; stood on the lectern where the Readings are done each week; went into the pulpit; sang with Mario and, finally, he sat on Faith's lap and read from the Bible. He had a wonderful morning.
23rd June 2019: This week's photo shows the Interior of our church prior to the alterations of 1827.
16th June 2019: This week I am featuring an old photo of the aisle from ‘A History of Wednesbury’ by Bev Parker. There was a church here by the early thirteenth century because it was recorded in the Plea Rolls of King John for 1210-1211 that “Master William, a royal chaplain, had been appointed to the church at Wednesbury” although the present Church dates from the late 15th or early 16th century (the pulpit dates from 1611). Our Church has been restored and rebuilt and stands on the site of an earlier 13th century stone built church. I have, also, included a more up-to-date photo of the aisle and a photo showing the evidence of the date on the pulpit.
9th June 2019:
This week I have chosen some heraldry that is on the wooden Chancel Screen (above). In my explanations below I have included a more detailed image, as appropriate, because I think it helps us to understand and appreciate the meaning of the emblems. I apologise in advance if my facts are not accurate; if any of you are historians and can advise me further please leave comments below for us to learn more. The badges from left to right represent the Arms of Wednesbury, St Bartholomew, the Diocese of Lichfield and finally the County of Stafford. For images of the heraldry see slide show below the text for County of Stafford. On the left: Arms of Wednesbury The arms (crest) of Wednesbury were officially granted on 8th September 1904. The field suggests the Black Country and the two lions are from the arms of the Heronville family to whom the Manor of Wednesbury was granted by Henry II in the 12th century. The black diamonds represent coal mining and the symbol of Mars, used by alchemists to denote iron, represents the iron and steel industries. Mars is also the Roman counterpart of Woden after whom Wednesbury is named. The flaming tower on this heraldry is derived from the crest of Joseph Hopkins, a local ironmonger, who left money to the town for charitable purposes. The fiery tower combined with the symbol of Mars can also be seen as representing a blast furnace. The word ‘marte' in the motto is also sometimes translated as ‘by arms’ and is appropriate because gun barrels were formerly made in the town. St Bartholomew Saint Bartholomew lived in the first century AD and was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. He is credited with many miracles related to the weight of objects. Saint Bartholomew the Apostle was flayed (skinned) alive for spreading his faith. The skin of his body was cut into strips then pulled off, leaving his body open and bleeding for a long time; then he was beheaded. A large knife is the emblem of St Bartholomew. I believe there are three knives as they make a better pattern in a shield than one. Saint Bartholomew lived in the first century AD and was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. He is credited with many miracles related to the weight of objects. Saint Bartholomew the Apostle was flayed (skinned) alive for spreading his faith. The skin of his body was cut into strips then pulled off, leaving his body open and bleeding for a long time; then he was beheaded. A large knife is the emblem of St Bartholomew. I believe there are three knives as they make a better pattern in a shield than one.
On the right: Diocese of Lichfield There does not appear to be a satisfactory explanation for the ancient and remarkable arms for the Diocese of Lichfield. Whilst researching heraldry I found that there are a number of variations on the colours but the one nearest to the emblem in our church is this one. In the Middle Ages an emblem was devised for St Chad, Bishop of Mercia and patron of the cathedral. The shield is equally divided by the perpendicular line and is coloured red and silver; the red being on the left (as you look at it). The central cross is of unusual form in crutch-shaped pieces (its name ‘potent', from the French potence, translates as ‘a crutch’). County of Stafford The arms for the County of Stafford were officially granted on 31st January 1931. All the devices on the arms come from arms of various Earls of Stafford. The red chevron on gold was the arms of the de Staffords and includes the family's famous Stafford knot badge. The Stafford knot, more commonly known as the Staffordshire knot, is a distinctive three-looped knot and is the traditional symbol of the English county of Staffordshire and of its county town, Stafford. It is a particular representation of the simple overhand knot, the most basic knot of all. I believe the lion represents a Chief, indicating the authority of the council.
3rd June 2019: THOMAS TROMAN (see slideshow of photos below the text) It took me a while to research but, using a number of websites including A History of Wednesbury, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Cemetery in France where he is buried, I have managed to find out some information about this young man who died aged 26 serving our country. If any of you reading this are members of the family and can tell me more please get in touch. I hope my facts are correct and that I have done Thomas justice in my account below. According to my research, Second Lieutenant Thomas Joseph Barnsley Troman of the North Staffordshire Regiment was killed in action by a shell on 14th (?) July 1916 at the age of 26. (However, the plaque says 13th July and, as his mother and family erected this memorial to Thomas, I assume their date is correct). He was in command of a machine gun section and fell while leading his men. (MGC = Machine Gun Corps) He was the second son of Henry Troman of Jesmond, Brunswick Park Road, Wednesbury, and was a talented organist (FRCO indicating that he was a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists). As the plaque indicates he was an organist here at St Bartholomew's Church. He was, also, the Wednesbury Borough Organist. Thomas had hoped to go into the church but, sadly, his life ended tragically whilst in France. Below is a photo of Thomas and, also, an image showing the 6th memorial plaque in the Wednesbury War Memorial Garden in Walsall Street, acknowledging his name.
This photo is of a banner we have in Church. I believe it is a banner for St Andrew’s Church. (Some years ago we had a ‘sister’ Church - St Andrew’s in Kings Hill - the building is still there.) I do not know, for sure, the thinking behind the making of this banner but I offer the following meanings that I believe may be correct but it is possible there could be other reasons. A saltire, also called St Andrew's Cross or the crux decussata, is an heraldic symbol in the form of a diagonal cross, like the shape of the letter X in Roman numerals. The association with St Andrew is a development of the 15th to 16th centuries. The sun represents the radiance and glory of Christ. Water is an important symbol to Christians. It is symbolic in baptism. It may also mean cleansing or purity. The seas may also represent the nations. A fish symbolises fertility, feelings, creativity, rebirth, good luck, transformation, health, abundance, serenity, intelligence, happiness, strength, and endurance. And, of course, it is recorded in Mark 1:16-18 - ‘As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me," Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.’ Also, during times of persecution, early Christians would scratch a fish symbol on the ground as a means to distinguish friend from foe. (see image) ‘Icthys’ is Greek and means ‘fish’ and is an acronym for the phrase ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour’. Christians used it to recognise churches and other believers through this symbol because they were persecuted by the Roman Empire.
Whilst researching facts for the 'Photo of the Week' on our Facebook page, I decided to publish the information on here for you all to see as I am aware some of you do not use social media. I will include a Photo of the Week each week. -----------------------------
This week I decided to use the image of a plaque we have in church. It took me a while to research but, using a number of websites including A History of Wednesbury, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Cemetery in France where he is buried, I have managed to find out some information about this young man who died aged 26, like many hundreds of men from our area, serving our country. If any of you reading this are members of the family and can tell me more please get in touch (by Messenger or via the Facebook page). I hope my facts are correct and that I have done Thomas justice in my account below.
According to my research, Second Lieutenant Thomas Joseph Barnsley Troman of the North Staffordshire Regiment was killed in action by a shell on 14th (?) July 1916 at the age of 26. (However, the plaque says 13th July and, as his mother and family erected this memorial to Thomas, I assume their date is correct). He was in command of a machine gun section and fell while leading his men. (MGC = Machine Gun Corps)
He was the second son of Henry Troman of Jesmond, Brunswick Park Road, Wednesbury, and was a talented organist (FRCO indicating that he was a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists). As the plaque indicates he was an organist here at St Bartholomew's Church. He was, also, the Wednesbury Borough Organist. Thomas had hoped to go into the church but, sadly, his life ended tragically whilst in France.
Below are photos of Thomas, the Memorial Plaque in church and an image showing the 6th memorial plaque in the Wednesbury War Memorial Garden in Walsall Street, acknowledging his name. Please click on the photos to see them fully, especially the one of Thomas.
Click here to go to a post on the Community Page of St Bartholomew's Facebook page to view a video of organist Paul Jones playing a March composed by Thomas Tromans on an organ that was originally in our church until it was moved to Christ Church in Coseley. in 1910.