A short prayer service to commemorate the Coronation of our King took place at 9.30 am. It was a lovely service and then we went outside to watch Keith, our gardener, plant a tree rose. Afterwards, Fr Mark blessed the area. Like many parish councils, groups, businesses and individuals, St Bartholomew's planted the 'tree' to commemorate the significant royal occasion of the Coronation of King Charles III and his Queen. We finished by singing the National Anthem.
Sunday 30th April 2023
Despite the miserable wet morning today (30th April), it was lovely to see lots of beautiful flowers lining the path. The daffodils are finished but there are so many other flowers to enjoy. The tree near the porch has been full of blossom and there is still some blossom to see. Unfortunately, the wind and rain has caused much of the blossom to fall. However, every cloud has a silver lining - the fallen blossom looks like confetti.
Sunday 16th April 2023
The Hall roof is now completed and is looking great. A big thank you to our PCC for agreeing to the work on the roof and to Fr Mark for arranging this work to be done.
Sunday 9th April 2023
Our service on Easter Sunday was well attended. There were Easter eggs and sweets for us - thank you to Fr Mark and Shannon. The porch was welcoming with beautiful lilies - thank you to Joyce. Thank you, also, to Lynn for the photo taken of the church and the welcoming approach along the path with the beautiful spring flowers. Thank you to Wendy for the Easter Garden display.
Sunday 9th April 2023
SPRING FLOWERS WELCOME US TO CHURCH It has been lovely to see the colourful approach to church at each of the Holy Week services. Thank you to Keith for maintaining the grounds for us. We really do appreciate it.
Sunday 26th March 2023 SPRING HAS SPRUNG! The approach to church is looking wonderful, thanks to the hard work Keith continues to do in the church grounds. We are very grateful to him.
Saturday 25th March 2023
Ray Bennett, was a regular member of our congregation for many years. A plaque in his memory was put on the January memorial board today. He is now united with his beloved wife, Irene, who died in 1999. Both of them were confirmed at our church.
Saturday 25th March 2023 THANK YOUThe church is looking a lot cleaner now, ready for Easter, after the wonderful teamwork on Saturday. Thank you to Joyce Turner, Lynn Castillo, Mario Castillo, Linda Russell, Julie Hughes, Alison O’Neill and Wendy Bird. Thank you, also, to Mike Baugh for helping to put a plaque on the January memorial board in memory of Ray Bennett. Mike helped Joyce clean some of the brass ornaments, too. (Thank you, also, for the offers of help for next time - we are very grateful.)
19th March 2023
THANK YOU to Joyce Turner for providing the daffodils for this morning's Mothering Sunday services.
As you arrive in the church porch, you are greeted by a simple but beautiful Easter display. No explanation is needed - it is wonderful. Thank you to Joyce Turner for arranging this. Thank you, also, to Wendy Bird for making the Spring Wreath for the church door in the porch. A lovely colourful welcome to everyone who visits the church. Thank you ladies.
12th March 2023
Marg Wood has made a beautiful 'Welcome' banner for church, depicting stained glass windows [she was very shy (?) and didn't want her face in the photo]. Wendy Bird created the Easter garden scene, depicting our church, path and garden, as well as the sandy area around the tomb with the crosses on the hill in the background. Thank you ladies.
Thank you again to Matthew Pritchett for doing another painting of our church. This is acrylic on canvas board. Thank you for allowing us to put the photo on our website and Facebook page.
Thank you to Matthew Pritchett who has sent me this photo of a wonderful painting, in acrylic on canvas board, that he has done of our beautiful church. It is so atmospheric. He has given me permission to post it on our website and Facebook page.
18th February 2023 On Saturday, a group of us from church, together with many other community groups, were invited to a meeting at the Baitul Muqueet Mosque in Walsall. The Ahmidiyya Muslim Association had invited speakers to share what they saw as the biggest threat to civilisation. It was a lovely opportunity to meet with friends old and new and, despite the serious topic, there was a lot of laughter and great food. One of the speakers, Balbir Seimar, a multi award winning long term volunteer in the community, turned out to be a friend of our very own Mario. Who knew he moved in such exalted circles?
22nd January 2023
It was lovely to welcome Emma Hurley to our 10 am service this morning (22nd January). She has been tracing her ancestry and discovered that her 14 times great grandfather was Thomas Parkes. Emma contacted Wendy early in January asking if she could visit the church and have a look at a memorial she had discovered was in our church, and Wendy was able to give Emma some information about the family who lived in Willingsworth Hall (after talking to local historian Ian Bott), as well as send her photos she had taken in church some time ago. One of the photographs below shows Emma sat in front of the substantial memorial which is in the Chancel to the right of the altar. Thomas was married to Elianor (that's the correct spelling from that time). The detail below their images on the memorial shows their children.
As you look to the left when you walk into church, there is a tomb with effigies. This tomb is Thomas Parkes' son (Richard Parkes) and his wife. At first we thought Richard might be a direct ancestor of Emma's but, after talking to Ian Bott who spoke to Emma after the service, and after looking at the family tree that Ian had in a book, it became evident that it is a sibling of Richard's from whom she is descended, not from Richard. Nevertheless, she is a direct descendant of Thomas Parkes, and Richard Parkes is a great great etc uncle of hers. Emma was still happy to see Richard's tomb, though, and took lots of photos. Ian showed us a photo of when that tomb used to be situated in the chancel by the memorial to Thomas Parkes and his wife (see photo below). The Chancel looked very different then. After leaving church, Ian took both of us to what looks like old gate posts to the church, situated on Ethelfleda Terrace opposite Wellcroft Street. The brickwork is certainly different from the rest of the brickwork in the wall and you can see metal pieces that the gate would have been attached to. (It's something I had never noticed before!) This would explain why, in one of Ian's books, it talks about the staff at Willingsworth Hall using something such as a telescope and being able to see when the Parkes family left church, so they could get lunch cooked for their arrival.
There appears to be a step at the bottom of the brickwork and, if you look closely, you can see the metal pieces in the taller parts of wall, as if they were gate pillars, perhaps for the gate to be attached.
24th December 2022
We've had 2 lovely services today (Christmas Eve). Firstly, at 3 pm we had a crib service and it was wonderful to have some families with us. The children helped to put the nativity figures in the stable and we sang children-friendly carols including, of course, 'Away in a Manger'. Then at 6 pm we had a Communion Service with carols. As I was about to get in the car, it was lovely to see the stained glass windows lit up.
Sunday 18th December 2022
The Carol Service on Sunday 18th December was lovely. We were joined by Suzie's Singers Community Choir (that practises in our church each Monday evening). There was a wonderful solo performance by one of the choir members and Jacqueline Burke played a flute solo, too. Refreshments were served after the service. Thank you to those of you who attended. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas.
Christmas Decorations 2022
The church is looking beautiful after Lynn and Mario Castillo, Wendy Bird, Linda Russell, Jacqueline Burke, Jennifer Stanley and Karen Bennett decorated it with trees, lights, nativity figures, decorations and several wreaths made by people in the community. I don't have photos of all of the items but for those I do (in the slideshow) I have annotated each image to say who made them. Janis Pheasant and David assembled the nativity stable ready for the nativity figures to be placed in there. Thank you to everybody. The slideshow will automatically move from one photo onto the next (every 6 seconds) but you can also navigate the show yourself by using the thumbnails at the bottom of the slideshow or by clicking on the arrows on the photos. You may need to press play first. Photographs by Jacqueline Burke and Wendy Bird.
Friday 16th December 2022
INTERFAITH CHRISTMAS LUNCH: Marg, Linda, Wendy, Lynn and Jacqui welcomed some of our female friends from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association at the Baitul Muqeet Mosque in Walsall, as well as a lady from Pleck Baptist Church, on Friday 16th December. The ladies brought with them delicious samosas, vegetarian sandwiches and spicy rolls. We provided drinks and cake. It was lovely to eat and chat with them. They loved the church all decorated for Christmas. We swapped gifts before they went. We look forward to continuing our friendship in the New Year. Thank you to Bushra for taking the photos.
Sunday 27th November 2022
We had a lovely reflective Memorial Service.
Saturday 26th November 2022
The Christmas Lights Switch On was a great day of community spirit with live entertainment, as well as market stalls by the clock tower and in Union Street. Apart from artists performing and the guest appearance of Mikey North (Gary Windass in Coronation Street), there was a wonderful lantern parade. All lanterns were made by people/groups in the community. Well done to everyone involved. The event was attended by the Mayor of Sandwell.
Sunday 6th November 2022
We have been awarded a Wednesbury Community Award for everything people do for our church and the community. We are so grateful for the numerous work that volunteers do for us. Such work as: Craft Club, the daily social media work done on Facebook and the website; the regular volunteer work done in the church hall in addition to church hall bookings; the Open Table lunch club volunteers who provide a meal once a month; our small music group (and in their absence somebody operating the CD player), the volunteers who read Bible Readings and write the prayers on a rota basis; Safeguarding; PCC members; volunteers who decorate the church, do flower arranging and making drinks after some services; the gentleman who keeps the church garden tidy, etc. A lot happens but not without those volunteers. Congratulations to all of you and THANK YOU.
Sunday 2nd October 2022
We had a Harvest Festival service and people gave generously. We have passed these on to the Food Bank via Joyce. Thank you.
Saturday 1st October 2022
Thank you to Bushra Naureen and others friends from the Walsall branch of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Baitul Muqeet Mosque) for inviting us to join in with their Centenary celebrations of Lajna Ima’illah on Saturday 1st October. The Mayor, Councillor Rose Martin, attended the event. A number of ladies gave informative talks about the association, its aspirations and achievements.
The organisation was established by the second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in 1922 and is now established in 206 countries of the world. It was set up to give women a voice in the administrative affairs of the community and a degree of independence.
We were told about Centenary projects of the Association and one of these was to plant 100,000 trees across the UK. At national level 55,000 trees have been planted so far of which 20,157 have been planted in the Midlands (and the Walsall branch have planted 5,287 of those trees todate). Well done ladies.
Once the speeches were completed, the ladies brought vegetarian food to our tables and we were very well fed! It was delicious. There were a number of stalls around the room with activities (eg Mehndi and painting) as well as some items for sale and stalls showing some art and craft work that members had created. There was a lovely framed cross-stitch which said: ‘Happy times, Praise God; Difficult times, Seek God; Quiet times, Worship God; Hard times; Trust God; All times, Thank God’ – wonderful words.
Before we left, we were presented with a plaque. It was lovely to see many familiar faces. Thank you to everyone involved in the organisation, speeches, food etc.
2nd July 2022
On Saturday evening the Community Choir and Suzie’s Singers put on a fundraising concert to raise much needed funds for church. Like most places, our church has suffered financially over the last 2 years with very little money in offertories and, of course, we could not put on events to raise money. Yet bills still had to be paid.
Thank you to Suzie for offering to do this fundraiser. It was a wonderful evening of singing. Thank you to the Community Choir and to the solo performances by Suzie’s Singers. The children who performed solo were wonderful. A big thank you to Mario for not only singing in the choir but, also, playing a bongo-type drum (apologies as I am not an expert on the types of drum there are) and for organising the backing tracks and amplification. Mario also played guitar and entertained us prior to the concert and during the interval.
We wish to thank the following people:
Members of the choir (and Alison from church) who made cakes to have with refreshments.
Sharon and Glenys for donating biscuits and wrapped cakes.
Marg, Wendy, Lynn, Linda, Glenys and Suzie for donating tea, coffee, sugar, milk, squash, etc.
Alison, Alison and Lynn for serving refreshments and clearing up afterwards.
Linda, on the door taking the entrance fee.
Marg, for running the Marbles in a Jar activity and donating the prize. Also, for running the other activities that the choir had donated prizes for.
Wendy for running the raffle.
Many people who donated items for the raffle.
Tony Breakwell for a £50 donation.
To Suzie and the choir for the beautiful flowers presented to me.
Thank you to our esteemed guests: the Deputy Mayor of Sandwell Councillor Jackie Taylor and her consort, husband Mr Marvin Taylor.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who supported the event.
We are very grateful to all of you. In total, you raised £458.68. Thank you!
Here is a slideshow of a few photos from the event:
22nd June 2022 A few photos taken by Tomasz Lewandowski early on Tuesday morning before work. Thank you, Tomasz, for allowing me to use them.
12th June 2022
We were happy to welcome Leanne back to church for our 10 am Sunday service. (She is a member of the congregation and team at St Matthew's Church in Tipton.) Those of us in the photo were all team members in the Open the Book group. Unfortunately, Claire left after the service so we were not able to include her in the photo. However, those of us in the photo were the original team members who were videoed at St John's C of E Primary Academy in the summer of 2017 when we were privileged to be chosen to be filmed by the Bible Society. As a result of that filming, we were featured in a training video and training materials, banners and the Open the Book newsletter. We still feature occasionally, even now, in some training materials.
L to R: Mario, Lynn, Wendy, Marg, Linda and Leanne (with Grace at the front).
11th June 2022
On Saturday 11th June, the lunch club enjoyed a United Kingdom themed Afternoon Tea. There was a strawberry flan with cream representing England, Scottish shortbread, Welsh cakes and Fifteen from Northern Ireland. (I am told by Linda that 'Fifteen' is a very sweet dessert that is very popular in Northern Ireland. It contains 15 digestive biscuits, 15 glacé cherries and 15 marshmallows blended together with condensed milk and is then refrigerated.) In addition, sandwiches were served on cake stands along with mini sausage rolls, quiche, etc. It all sounds delicious! Thank you to all the ladies (and Mario) for the hard work planning, preparing and serving the meal. Thank you, also, to Claire for taking these photos.
5th June 2022
The church was decorated for the Jubilee. These are just a few photos to show you how lovely it looked.
14th May 2022
Alison and Linda served up another delicious lunch on Saturday 14th May. The menu was gammon, french beans and lightly toasted boiled potatoes served with a choice of parsley or cheese sauce. The vegetarian option was Linda McCartney chicken style roast. Desserts were home-made rhubarb crumble with cream or custard or raspberry swirl cheesecake with optional cream. Soft drinks were available with the meal and tea or coffee was served after. Sounds delicious! Thank you to the volunteers who helped serve, wash up and clear away.
May 2022 We recently received this Certificate from Sandwell. Well done to all involved, especially Fr Mark.
Sunday 1st May 2022
It was lovely to welcome Mukesh and Seema Gill on Sunday. They are Rakesh Gill’s cousin and sister-in-law from India and are staying for a while with Rakesh, Liza, Brandon and Bradley. We hope you enjoy your stay here before you return home. The photo was taken by Liza and shows from L to R: Wendy, Linda, Seema, Mukesh, Mario and Marg.
Saturday 30th April 2022
Four of the ladies from the Baitul Muqueet Mosque visited some of our ladies in the Church Hall on Saturday 30th April. They brought us food and flowers and Marg presented them with some plants. Thank you so much to them for their generous offerings. The food was delicious and the flowers look lovely in church (in Marg's mum's vase). We hope all of our friends from the Moslem Community enjoy their Eid celebrations after their period of fasting.
24th April 2022
At the moment, not only do we have beautiful spring flowers welcoming us to church but the blossom on the trees is wonderful to see, too. Then, as we enter the porch there is an arrangement of lilies in place of the previous yellow chrysanthemums on the left for us to remember and pray for Ukraine and, also, a vase of lilies on the opposite side of the porch.
17th April 2022
It was lovely to see some of the girls and their leaders from the Guides, Brownies and Rainbows on Easter Sunday. They presented their flags in a procession to the altar.
Sunday 3rd April 2022
The spring flowers are a joy to see as we attend church.
Sunday 27th March 2022 What a lovely Mothering Sunday service we had at 10 am on 27th March 2022. The uniformed organisations (Guides, Brownies and Rainbows) and their leaders joined us and the girls presented their flags to the altar. It’s been such a long time since they were able to do that.
Sunday 27th February 2022
My daughter and I took my grandson to see this installation on 22nd February. Luke Jerram’s ‘Floating Earth’ installation known as Gaia, measures 7 metres in diameter and is currently on display at Millennium Point in Birmingham. The artwork provided an opportunity to see our planet floating in three dimensions.
Sunday 27th February 2022
Marg and I attended a Community Artwork project by Multistory on Wednesday 16th February and Lynn and Mario went on 23rd February. We all had a great time helping to create our memories about the the history of the town, present and future. There will be a community installation, at the Clock Tower in a celebratory event on 26th March. The images below show what we created (you might need to click on the images to see them fully).
Sunday 27th February 2022
I have attended St Bartholomew's Church regularly for about 36 years. This morning I took a couple of photos of the inscriptions on the brick gate posts by the steps. It was only after posting some photos a few weeks ago, taken by Tomasz Lewandowski (including one of the approach to church), that I realised there were inscriptions on the brickwork! Also, I love the detail above the inscriptions (of the crown and what looks like a Bishop's mitre).
Sunday 27th February 2022 As we arrived at church this morning for Sunday worship, the sun was shining and there were several flowers brightening up the borders. After the rain and winds we've had, this made a lovely sight. It was a great opportunity to thank the Lord for reminding us of how blessed we are.
Sunday 13th February 2022:
Thank you to Tomasz Lewandowski for allowing me to share some of his photos with you. They are fabulous. He took them early evening and he has included some monuments in the churchyard. Have a look through the slideshow. It moves on automatically to the next photo or you can click on the arrow. Alternatively, you can click on the thumbnails below the slideshow.
Saturday 12th February 2022
The Valentine's theme lunch on Saturday 12th February was successful. Thank you to the Linda R and Alison who worked hard to prepare and cook the lunch. Alison provided balloons and Mario was in charge of making the room look lovely. His fabulous folded napkin table decorations (with chocolates) completed the look and he showed a DofE participant and Linda S how to do this so they could make some. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped prepare the room, serve and clear up. A great team effort.
Friday 11th February 2022
Thank you very much to Bushra Naureen and other ladies from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Baitul Muqeet Mosque in Walsall) for their very kind and generous donation to the Food Bank in Wednesbury. We appreciate their support.
Tuesday 8th February 2022
CHESTER CATHEDRAL EXHIBITION - 'THREADS THROUGH CREATION':
On Tuesday 8th February, Wendy visited Chester Cathedral where there is currently an exhibition of 12 beautiful silk panels inspired by the first pages of the Bible. It is called ‘Threads through Creation’ and the panels were made by artist Jacqui Parkinson whose work took nearly 3 years to complete and required miles of black thread and 8 million stitches. Scientists don’t usually deal with the ‘why?’ or ‘who?’; they strive to find better answers to the ‘when?’ and ‘how?’. Jacqui explains that the theory of evolution is elegant and plausible but leaves questions for debate. She finds it hard to believe that no one was behind it all. The exhibition is on until 1st March. If you miss it, it will be at Worcester Cathedral 27th April to 5th June. The photos I took don’t do the work the justice it deserves. Seeing the panels up close is wonderful – there is so much detail in them. In many of the silks Jacqui depicts God as a spiral. You can hover over the images to see an explanation about each panel. If you click on the caption you can see the image and caption at the same time. You might need to click on each photo to see the full image, in which case, if you hover over the photo, you can use the arrow to move on to the next photo.
Saturday 5th February 2022 THANK YOU:
A huge thank you to Joyce Turner who has donated the new sign for the church hall. We are very grateful to Joyce for all the work she has done over the years for our church. The sign looks great now it is in situ. Thanks Joyce.
Saturday 5th February 2022
Pete Worton and his wife Yvonne regularly attend our craft club (yes, gentlemen are welcome to join us!). Pete is an accomplished maker of jewellery but since he retired he has taken up other craft pursuits too, such as basket weaving and macrame. During our meeting on 5th February he made this plant pot hanger whilst we were crafting and chatting. Soon he will do a workshop at one of our monthly meetings to enable us to learn the craft. More information to follow once I know the month that Pete can offer this workshop. In the meantime, here is a photo of the work he did.
Friday 4th February 2022 WILLIAM AND DORIS MEREDITH:
It was lovely to welcome the daughter (Pat) and son (John) of William and Doris Meredith when they visited the church on Friday 4th February, as well John’s wife. They brought with them some flowers in memory of Bill who would have been 100 on 2nd February. Joyce Turner put the flowers in a vase and this was placed by their memorial board in church.
Both Bill and Doris were stalwarts of our church for many years. Bill was a sidesman and later became a churchwarden, a position he held for several years. He was the mainstay of the Restoration Committee which organised many fundraising events, raising much needed money for the church. Bill and his wife were involved in the Sale of Work which used to take place at the Town Hall years ago. Later, those events moved to the church hall when summer and Christmas fayres were held for many years.
The wording on the memorial board in church describes Bill as a ‘man of faith held in high esteem’ and those of us who remember him couldn’t agree more. It is a most fitting description of him.
Bill and Doris were very much family people and they were extremely proud of their children and grandchildren. Thank you to Pat and John who kindly donated some money to our church during their visit. We really appreciate your support. (You might need to click on the right photograph to see all of the wording.)
Saturday 29th January 2022
Congratulations to Liam and Alice (Lynn and Mario Castillo's daughter) who were married in church on Saturday. It was a lovely service. We all wish you a very long and happy marriage together. Once Alice forwards some of the official photos I will share those on our Weddings page. You might need to click on the photos to see them fully. Alice used to attend Sunday school when she was younger. More recently, when visiting Wednesbury she has sung in church with her dad.
19th December 2021
The Advent Memorial service was lovely and families lit candles during the service. We hope all the families who attended, to remember their loved ones, gained some peace from it. Thank you to Fr Mark and volunteers. A special thank you to Mario for singing 2 hymns - The Lord's my Shepherd and Abide with Me.
Fr Mark wishes to thank those who have helped to decorate the church and assembled the crib. Your help has been very much appreciated. He also thanks those of you who have so generously given donations to the church instead of sending Christmas cards. Perhaps this is something that we can all consider in these challenging times.
7th December 2021
Thank you to the ladies (and Mario) for decorating the church on Tuesday 7th December. Marg Wood, Linda Russell, Lynn and Mario Castillo, Lynn and Claire Yardley and Wendy Bird were joined by some of the ladies from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Baitul Muqeet Mosque in Walsall) as well as Shaz Akhtar (Black Country Near Neighbours Coordinator) and Ritu Sharma (Women Empowerment Ambassador and author). We have built up a wonderful inter-faith connection with these ladies over the last few years and we were very grateful when they offered to join us. Here are a few photos from the day (one showing us having a well deserved cuppa!). Thank you to Carol Downton for knitting the angels.
9th February 2021
A BIT OF HISTORY
These photos are by kind permission of Tom and Lorna Croton. They said that they were taken by Joseph Leslie Beardmore circa 1935-1937. He had a jewellery shop in Upper High Street and serviced, repaired and wound both the Church and the Market Place clocks, a task later carried out by his son, Alfred Cyril Beardmore. Apparently, the church gates commemorate his wife Lorna Inga.
The first 3 photos are views from our church steeple and they were taken whilst servicing the clock. The first photo looks down Church Hill to the town with St John's Church in the distance and new build houses. One person has said the building behind the houses on the left was a brewery whilst another person says it was a foundry. It was called Spittles, owned by a man by that name who lived below in Church Street. The brewery/foundry was on the top of Little Hill.
The second photo is looking over the church roof towards what became the Labour club. The third photo is looking down Wellcroft Street towards Trouse Lane with the Patent Shaft in the distance. The fourth photo shows men about to replace the clock hands of the church.
Many thanks Tom and Lorna Croton (nee Beardmore) for the pictures.
28th March 2020
Although I am not posting regular photos at the moment whilst the church is closed during the Coronavirus pandemic, I want to share this photo taken by Malcolm Harrison. Great photo Malcolm. Thank you.
15th March 2020
One of the oldest objects in our church is this 14th century chest. (It is situated at the back of church near the coffee area.) The chest was found in the churchyard when a grave was being dug! Thank goodness it was. It has a triple locking system and in those days both the Vicar and his wardens each had a different key. We are very lucky to have such an old artefact in our beautiful church.
8th March 2020
Further to the photo posted a couple of weeks ago, we are now pleased that the beautiful banner (about God’s natural world), made by the Craft Club, is hanging in the church for everybody to see. Thank you to the talented people who helped contribute sections of the banner and a special thank you to Lynn Castillo and Marg Wood for organising it all, from design to completion. It enhances our already beautiful church.
1st March 2020
A few photos from today's All Age service. It was a joy to see some colour along the pathway and in the porch as we arrived at church this morning. (No, the service wasn't at 3.35 am - the clock rarely shows the right time.) We welcomed Claire Gwynne, Service Manager for Barnardo's, who talked about the services they offer nationally but especially locally. Claire was presented with a cheque for the charity at the end of the service. Our Open the Book team, as part of their Children's Ministry, have chosen Barnardo's as their charity focus for 2020 so we were particularly grateful to Claire for giving up her time. As usual, some of us stayed for refreshments after the service.
23rd February 2020
We are pleased to show you a banner that members of the Craft Club have made over the last 2 years. This has been something they have done in addition to their usual crafting projects. It was presented to the church this morning and is about God’s Natural World. A lot of love has gone into the making of this beautiful piece of work. Please click on the photo to see the whole of the banner.
16th February 2020
Our photos this week were taken by Malcolm Harrison. Some were taken a few days ago and others were taken this morning after the service. Thank you Malcolm.
9th February 2020
The War Memorial was dedicated in 1920 and the Roll of Honour contains the names of Wednesbury men who died in the two world wars. On Remembrance Sunday poppy wreaths are placed in front of the memorial. Books of Remembrance are in special display cabinets in front of the memorial board. To the right there is a cabinet that used to contain the Guide standard of the Wednesbury Division, showing the Coat of Arms of Wednesbury, Darlaston, Tipton and Coseley. This cabinet now has a display of photos (shown below).
1st February 2020 Our photos for this week are presented in a slideshow on the Open the Book page. They feature the team presenting the story of 'The Boy in the Temple'. Please use the link to go to that page. (You will need to scroll down the page.)
26th January 2020
Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is every year on or around 27th January and marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. This year’s theme, ‘Stand Together’, reflects on the complex roles of Christians during the Holocaust and is both a sobering reminder to us as Christians as well as an encouraging inspiration. The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury said “. . . I am inspired by the story of Corrie Ten Boom, the Dutch Christian woman who hid Jews from the Nazis in occupied Netherlands and is an emblem for so many of this year’s theme. She was sent to a concentration camp where her sister died. Through all that suffering, though, Corrie Ten Boom persisted in a message of truth and forgiveness, whatever the cost. At the same time, I am ashamed of the long history of Christian antisemitism and those moments when, even to this day, Christians have failed to speak out and have just stood by while others have suffered . . .” I wrote a short article about this lady portrayed in a play called The Hiding Place (almost at the bottom of the Noticeboard page of the website). (Use this link if you wish to read it.)
The Holocaust threatened the fabric of civilisation and genocide must still be resisted every day. Our world often feels fragile and vulnerable and we should not be complacent. Even in the UK, prejudice and the language of hatred exists.
HMD is for everyone. Each year across the UK, thousands of people come together to learn more about the past and take action to create a safer future. When people learn more, hopefully they can empathise more.
Hundreds of groups around the country have been creating their own Memorial Flame artworks that mark 75 years since the end of the Holocaust, the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews in Europe. From art groups to faith groups and charities to schools, groups of all kinds have come together to make their own Memorial Flames. More than 300 groups from across the country registered to take part in a nationwide project which encouraged groups of all kinds to come together to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust. Below are images of the flames that some groups have created:
“Don’t be content in your life just to do no wrong, be prepared every day to try and do some good.” (Sir Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 children from Nazi-occupied Europe)
There are a number of things which Christians can do to mark this important date. Firstly, we can remember those who, during the Holocaust, embodied the courage of standing together, even in the face of Nazi brutality. Secondly, we should remember those who were murdered or who had their lives uprooted because their neighbours did not stand together with them. We can also remember genocides subsequent to the Holocaust. And, holding all these genocides in memory together, we cannot fail but to think about the steps which led to genocide during the Holocaust and in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur.
As Presidents of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), and in respect of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the people listed in brackets ask our churches to join in the use of prayer on the Sunday closest to Holocaust Memorial Day 2020: (The Rt Hon and Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury; Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster; His Eminence Nikitas Loulias, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain; The Rt Revd Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the Church of Scotland; The Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, Moderator of the Free Churches).
“God of all people everywhere, You reveal yourself in myriad ways, speaking through different voices to enlighten our world and enrich our lives. All are created in your image but, in the face of prejudice and persecution, too often we fail to stand together. So we gather today in memory: we remember the lives of those who were murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides; we give thanks for those who have courageously shared their stories; we recommit ourselves to transform the world through your love. Amen” “God of justice and of peace, you call your people to stand together, in solidarity with those who suffer. We remember before you in sorrow: all who perished in the horror of the Holocaust, all who were persecuted, and all whose suffering continues. Turn the hearts of all who persecute and oppress and of all who seek to divide. Open our own hearts and minds, when they are closed in fear and hatred, so that all your people may stand together and reflect your image. Amen”
Finally, the following poem sums up this year’s theme, ‘Stand Together’:
19th January 2020
Thanks to John Kennett (Iowa Media) for taking these photos in the Bell Tower on Friday. John contacted me during the week to ask if he could go along to a bell ringing practice to do the last bit of footage for the puppet show he has been working on for Tracey Rhodes (Our Trace), a comedienne. (You may remember a previous post of some filming he did in September.)
John wishes to thank Gordon Birks (Tower Captain) for arranging the photo session during the bell ringing on Friday 17th January. He said that the views were amazing. The photos show ‘Access to the Bell Tower’, ‘Clock Works’ and ‘Bells’ and you can see the great engineering. I have also included some screen captures from a video John took during the evening (apologies for the quality of the images of the bell ringers who were, of course, moving as I took screenshots). You can view the video John posted separately (on our Facebook/Community page:(https://www.facebook.com/pg/StBartsWednesbury/community/?ref=page_internal)
12 January 2020 Approaching the former choir vestry you pass a wooden board (which is on the left as you reach the doorway - photo lower down) showing this Roll of Vicars going back to 1199. Our present vicar (Father Mark Danks) is not listed on there yet.
Remains of the earlier church were found during restoration work in 1885 and consisted of a three light window contained in a round-headed arch. (The three lights date back to the 13th century but the arch itself could be earlier.) The ancient window is to be found at the west end of the north aisle. The window is next to the doorway which gives access to the former choir vestry (now the boiler room, kitchen and toilet). This has a pointed segmental arch and is said to be from the same date as the window (13th century). The former vestry was originally the north porch and was converted to a vestry in 1885. During its rebuilding the window and doorway were discovered and this is the oldest part of the current church to be seen.
5th January 2020 EPIPHANY AND THE FOOD BANK
Our nativity scene is now complete.
Epiphany Sunday is the Feast of The Three Kings. Epiphany is celebrated 12 days after Christmas (celebrated this year on Sunday 5th January 2020) and is the time when Christians remember the Wise Men (also sometimes called the Three Kings) and marks their visit to the baby Jesus offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These kings were religious scholars known as the Magi; revered Babylonian astronomers and astrologists. They studied the stars and planets, interpreting the meaning behind cosmic events. Anything very unusual was considered an omen, so the star must have been both rare and visually spectacular. It would have had a very clear message for the Magi.
The word 'Epiphany' comes from Greek and means ‘to show’, referring to Jesus being revealed to the world - a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being - and the six Sundays which follow Epiphany are known as the time of manifestation.
It seems only fitting that, like the Wise Men offering gifts to Jesus, that I should mention ‘Breaking Bread’ (the food bank here in Wednesbury). Over the last few months many people have donated generously to the food bank, enabling them to help feed people in our town who are struggling. Thank you to the volunteers who give freely of their time. This is, sadly, a much needed service. Also, on Christmas Eve, I posted about a generous donation of food from 2 local gentlemen (please refer to the separate post about that). The season of Christmas is summed up in a couple of the verses from Cliff Richard’s song ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ and the words ‘a time for giving’ are specifically poignant: ‘A time for living, a time for believing A time for trusting, not deceiving, Love and laughter and joy ever after, Ours for the taking, just follow the master.’ 'A time for giving, a time for getting, A time for forgiving and for forgetting. Christmas is love, Christmas is peace, A time for hating and fighting to cease.’ As we now move forward in 2020 please remember, though, that the food bank feeds people throughout the year and any donations you can offer will be so useful to them in their work.
29th December 2019
The true message of Christmas is found in the Bible. Before Santa, the presents and Christmas trees was the original story of the Nativity - the birth of Jesus. Christians will tell you that Jesus was born in a manger, in complete poverty. When crucified on the cross some 33 years later, He would save humanity. Advent wreaths are circular, representing God's infinite love, and are usually made of evergreen leaves which represent ‘the hope of eternal life brought by Jesus Christ’. The first Advent calendar is the ‘hope’ candle.
This ‘hope’ also extends to humanity. Christmas is, also, the season of giving. Not only giving gifts but giving back to the community. Some people are less fortunate than others, for a number of different reasons. It was a pleasure to meet Ian Cadwallader and Richard Pearce on the afternoon of Christmas Eve when they generously donated a Christmas lunch package which we were able to deliver to a family in need that afternoon. The family were very grateful to them.
Ian said that his dad, Michael, rang the bells for many years at this Church. He even rang them at his own wedding to Ian’s mom! Michael has a plaque of remembrance in the chancel of our church (photo below). He is acknowledged, also, on our website on the Bell Ringing page (https://www.stbartswednesbury.com/bell-ringing.html). Apologies for the quality of the photo but the lighting made it difficult to get a clearer picture without my reflection being in the photo.
May God bless your families with prosperity, good health and happiness in the New Year.
22nd December 2019
A simple photo today of the baby Jesus and the Wise Men. Why not attend the remaining services we have to see when they will appear in our Nativity scene? 15th December 2019 This week our Nativity scene includes the arrival of Mary and Joseph (awaiting the birth of Jesus) plus the shepherds. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.' When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'
8th December 2019 A few photos on this second Sunday in Advent showing our church looking even lovelier. There are Christmas trees by the altar and a memory tree which you can decorate with stars on which you can write something to remember loved ones you no longer see. The Nativity scene is waiting for the shepherds, Jesus, Mary, Joseph and, finally, the visit by the Wise Men. The scene will change over the next few weeks. (Thank you to Wendy and Malcolm for these photos.)
1st December 2019
During this morning’s All Age service our Open the Book team performed 'With love from God to you'. The story started in the beginning with the the first humans, Adam and Eve; then looked ahead to when God sent his son, Jesus. The story was told by 'Planet Earth' (read by Linda) and it was a different way of telling the Christmas story on this first Sunday in Advent. Father Mark was the voice of God (typecasting at its best!); Rob was the evil Satan and gave an Oscar-winning performance; Faith was an angel (of course) and Mandy played an Innkeeper. Wendy multi-tasked in the background before performing her favourite part as a Wise Man with her beloved camels. (In case you didn’t know, those camels are world famous - seriously. See photos below.) Thank you to Lynsey, the cue card monitor and holder of the star, and to her son Ben who played the part of a Roman soldier (he was very convincing and performed really well). Thank you, also, to 2 of the guides who played the parts of, firstly, Adam and Eve and then of Mary and Joseph. In addition thank you to another guide and Liz for playing the other wisemen. The camels were very well behaved and interacted with members of the congregation. They just love the limelight. For photos of today’s story please see separate post on the Home page. The image below is from the Open the Book's September 2017 newsletter:
The Open the Book team were filmed at St John's C of E Primary Academy in 2017. The film was used in the Bible Society's 'Open the Book’ training sessions across the country. Members of the team were interviewed, also, and those were used online and in training sessions. The photo above was on the front page of the Open the Book Newsletter in September 2017. There are those camels again - they crop up everywhere! This photo shows the team who were filmed on the day (Wendy, Leanne, Linda, Lynn, Marg and Mario):
A number of posters were done by the Bible Society including the above photo, following the filming at St John’s school and are often featured at various Open the Book training sessions across the country, such as the following image. (One of those camels making another appearance with Lynn. Those camels get everywhere!)
Another training poster is shown below taken by Wendy at a Training session in Old Hill. The lady by the poster is Lynn Satchell, Training and Development Officer for the West Midlands.
The image below of a page on the Bible Society website shows the filming at St John’s school. Lynn Satchell, Training and Development Officer for the West Midlands, can be seen at the back, watching the story.
The following photos were taken by Wendy whilst watching the video at the training session at Holy Trinity in Old Hill. Claire and Wendy were invited in order to share ideas and show some of our props and costumes. The video on display that day featured our story filmed by the Bible Society in 2017. A very proud moment.
26th November 2019
Thank you to Matthew Pritchett for allowing us to publish some photos of paintings he has done. Thank you Matthew.
24th November 2019
This week I am showing some of the beautiful windows in the Chancel and the Lady Chapel. Our church has 15 late 19th or early 20th century windows containing stained glass by Charles Eamer Kempe.
17th November 2019
A few more photos of our stunning church, provided by Malcolm Harrison a few weeks ago. Thank you Malcolm. The flowers enhance the beauty of our church (thanks to the ladies who do the flower arranging).
REMEMBRANCE SERVICE IN CHURCH AND THE CENOTAPH Sunday 10th November 2019
As we all know, Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Remembrance honours those who serve to defend our democratic freedoms and way of life. We unite across faiths, cultures and backgrounds to remember the sacrifice of the Armed Forces from Britain and the Commonwealth. The Royal British Legion this year asks us all to ‘Remember Together’ the service and sacrifice, friendship and collaboration of the men and women of Britain, the Commonwealth and Allied nations who fought together in 1944. The painting featured below was done by a very talented artist, Sue Kinsey, who has kindly given me permission to use it today. Thank you Sue.
Our service this morning was a Eucharist Service with guest preacher, the Revd Mal Hawksworth. Within the service, there was the traditional two-minute silence and an opportunity for the laying of wreaths (on behalf of our Church, Friends of Wood Green Cemetery, the Royal British Legion, the Women’s Section of the Royal British Legion and the Labour Party). Whilst it is, of course, very important to remember the uniformed services who have died in wars and who continue to serve our country today, it is also important to remember that Jesus Christ died for all of us on the cross. In life and in death we are with the Lord. Let us turn to the Lord who is full of compassion and mercy, and ask that he will forgive us our sins, and extend his healing love upon our broken world. “We pray for all who in bereavement, disability and pain continue to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror. We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow those whose lives, in world wars and conflicts past and present, have been given and taken away. Amen”
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.
The following photos were taken at the Cenotaph this morning following the service in Church:
The photo below was taken quite a number of years ago when we had a very successful Flower Festival in Church and the memorial area was displayed appropriately:
3rd November 2019 During this morning’s service our Open the Book team performed the story of ‘Walking on Water’. Marg narrated the story; disciple Peter was played by Linda whilst Wendy, Claire and Mandy were other disciples in the boat; Lynn was Jesus; Faith was a ‘wave’ that wet Peter when he tried to walk on water to Jesus. Thank you to a young lady from the uniformed organisations who helped make the water ‘move’. The sea was gently lapping but suddenly it became choppier. The disciples were worried when the boat started rocking wildly (and there was a lot of ‘Oscar winning’ performances when they were sick!). Peter noticed a man walking across the water towards them. When Peter pointed this out to the other disciples one of them screamed (very loudly!) thinking it was a ghost. Jesus told them not to be afraid as it was only him . Peter jumped from the boat and strode across the water towards Jesus but suddenly a huge wave slapped him and he almost choked. He sank under the waves. All the disciples shouted for Jesus to save him. It was typical of Peter to want to walk on water, like Jesus did. He was always the one to take risks but that day he learnt a very important lesson about trusting Jesus. The Bible says we can trust God to help us too. (Hover over the photographs to read the captions.)
27th October 2019 Following on from the photos posted last week that were taken by Malcolm Harrison, I’m using a few photos this week that were taken by him. They are great views of our lovely church. Thank you Malcolm
20th October 2019 I’m using a few photos this week that were taken by Malcolm Harrison, who has kindly agreed to let me use them. They are fabulous views of part of our lovely church. Thank you Malcolm.
Sunday 13th October 2019
This morning we had our Harvest Festival and All Age service when it was lovely to welcome some children from the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides and their leaders to the service. Father Mark conducted a lovely simplified Eucharist service appropriate for the youngsters but, also, suitable for the adults and families who normally attend. Following the Gospel reading our Open the Book team (assisted by Artur, Faith and Matthew) performed ‘The Marvellous Picnic’, a story about ‘Feeding the 5000’. Marg narrated the story; Rob was Jesus; Wendy and Lynn portrayed the disciples Philip and Andrew; Linda, Claire, Artur, Faith and Matthew took on the parts of some of the followers of Jesus. Andrew found a girl (Faith) and a boy (Matthew) in the crowd. They had 2 loaves (we started off with 5 but 3 had obviously been eaten!) and a fish (of shark proportions!). Jesus broke up the bread to feed the crowd. Some of the helpers went into the congregation to distribute the food. As always with our stories, the audience (congregation) also had to participate in the story by patting their stomachs, struggling to their feet, wiping crumbs from their mouths and burping (!) after they had been fed. Some people carried out the burping participation rather too well! We are a health and safety aware team and, as Marg pointed out prior to the followers of Jesus distributing the food, it was, of course, palm oil, gluten and lactose free. After the story, Father Mark used one of the girls from the guides (Freya) and Marg to test their knowledge on some fruits and vegetables. He ‘randomly’ picked them from a bag and (surprise surprise) Freya was able to answer correctly all of the ones Mark presented to her. Poor Marg had some very obscure samples and was unable to identify them accurately. He asked Mario if he would be able to make soup with just one of the items and, of course, the answer was ‘No’ to which Mark pointed out that a successful soup would need many different vegetables to make it tasty. God made all of us beautiful and, whilst we are perfect to him, we work better as a whole church rather than as individuals. Following Communion Sharon gave everybody a chocolate. During the service our small music group led us in song and we sang 3 lovely songs - ‘Morning has Broken’; We Plough the Fields and Scatter’ and ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’. After the service we enjoyed a Bring ’n’ Share lunch and a drink and had time to chat to people. The fellowship was wonderful. (Photos above)
The photos this week are of images on the wooden panels by the coffee area. The image above is about Alderman John Ashley Kilvert, JP, who was an English soldier and later businessman and politician, who became Mayor of Wednesbury (then in Staffordshire, England). He served as a cavalryman with the 11th Hussars (part of the British army in Nottingham) serving in the Crimean War, where he survived the Charge of the Light Brigade. For those of you who may not be able to see the wording on the panel the inscription reads as: ‘In proud memory of Alderman John Ashley Kilvert, JP, who died October 17th 1920. Mayor of this Borough 1905-1906. Churchwarden of this Parish 1894-1895-1896. As sergeant Major in the 11th Hussars he rode in the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava.’ An image of John as a soldier is shown below:
John Kilvert was born on 29th September 1833 in High Ercall, Shropshire and was 87 when he died in Wednesbury on 17th October 1920. He was educated at High Ercall Grammar School. As stated above he was a cavalryman and a Mayor but he was, also, a Pawnbroker. According to research from when he served in the Crimean War, he was ‘hit by a musket ball which passed through his right leg and then into his horse. He then suffered a minor sabre wound to the head. His horse carried him to safety but had to be euthanised. (John Kilvert's return is depicted in the painting on the dust jacket of the book ‘Honour the Light Brigade’.) The next day he was promoted to sergeant. After some delay, during which he was left in a ditch and later found there half frozen, he was taken to Florence Nightingale’s Scutari Hospital and then to Malta, before being returned to England in February 1855. He subsequently worked as an army recruiter based in Bath. He ended his military career with the rank of Troop Sergeant Major, which he attained in 1857. He was awarded the British Crimea Medal with bars for Alma, Balaclava and Sebastopol presented to him by Queen Victoria in a ceremony on Horseguards Parade on 18th May 1855. He also received the Turkish Crimean War Medal (Sardinian variant).
After the war, John Kilvert lived in Coventry, was married there and had a son named George. His early career was in the wine trade. On the death of his wife, he moved to Wednesbury and remarried. He operated a Pawnbroker business in Union Street where he also lived. His second wife died in 1900, as did his son in 1902. He sold the pawnbroking business and moved to a house at 13 Pritchard Street, which he named 'Balaclava House', after the battle in which he had fought. He was elected to the town council in 1886, becoming an Alderman and later, in 1905, a year before he stood down from public service, Mayor. As he was a widower, he selected his niece, Mrs Harris, to act as his Mayoress. He also served as a magistrate (JP).
John is buried in plot A1037 at Wood Green Cemetery. He was the last but two of the British Charge of the Light Brigade participants to die. His gravestone does not mention his role in the charge. John bequeathed his medals and the sword he used during the charge, to Wednesbury Museum. (I have been fortunate to have seen and held that sword.) The medals were noted as missing in 1974, believed stolen. After passing through several hands they were bought, innocently, by Walter Hands, a medal collector from Walsall. After his death, Mrs Hands put them up for auction in 2013, when their origin was identified and she agreed to donate them back to the museum.
A portrait of Kilvert, in oil, in which he is shown wearing civic regalia, is also at Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery.
The following images are of carvings either side of the memorial panel to John Kilvert. I cannot be sure of the meanings of the carvings although I have my own idea of what they may represent.
29th September 2019
This week I have chosen to show a photo of a painting we have in Church above the font looking towards the altar. It depicts Christ’s descent from the cross. I posted this on our Facebook page some months ago but since posting it I have found out more information. The original information posted in April was: ‘This was painted by Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet (1 May 1644 – 5 April 1717) - a French painter, especially of religious subjects. He was born into an artistic family in Rouen. His first training in art was from his father, Laurent Jouvenet; a generation earlier, his grandfather, Noel Jouvenet, may have taught Nicolas Poussin. Jouvenet, early on, showed remarkable aptitude for his profession and on arriving in Paris he attracted the attention of Le Brun, by whom he was employed at Versailles, notably in the Salon de Mars (1671–74) under whose auspices, in 1675, he became a member of the Académie Royale, where he was elected professor in 1681, one of the four perpetual rectors in 1707. He also worked under Charles de La Fosse in the Invalides and Trianon. Anthony Blunt found in Jouvenet's manner reminiscences of Poussin, Le Sueur and the late work of Raphael, but with a characteristic Baroque emotionalism. The naturalism of Jouvenet's style sets his work apart from most of the religious painting of his time. Jouvenet died on 5 April 1717. Having been forced by paralysis during the last four years of his life he had to work with his left hand. The painting was commissioned about 1698.’
Additional information I have since found out is as follows: This famous picture, ‘The Descent from the Cross’, was painted by the artist in 1698 and is believed to have been found in an attic in Paris. Another picture was painted over it in 1845 and it was bought by Mr S J Perks of Dudley in 1883 who described it as ‘a bundle of rubbish’. It was sent to a firm of picture dealers who discovered that the 19th century picture had been painted over an older one. Mr Perks, who had previously been a Jeweller in Wednesbury Market place, worked off the old varnish and paint with his finger nails, revealing the present picture! He gave it to the church in 1888 in his wife’s name, adding “We have spent many years in Wednesbury and all were so kind to us. I thank you for giving the picture such a beautiful home”. It depicts Nicodemus in his turban, St John spreading the cloth for the reception of the body, Malchus and St Peter mounting the ladders and the three Marys kneeling at the foot of the cross. I believe it is us who should be thankful to Mr Perks for his generous gift to the church. The following photo is of a self-portrait of the artist Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet.
22nd September 2019
Some weeks ago a friend (Jackie Pemberton) sent me a news cutting from the Express and Star. It was a photo from their archive. The heading to the photo was‘Final bell tolls for church school’and went on to say that ‘St Bartholomew’s Church School in Wednesbury, which dated back to 1829, was facing demolition when the photo was taken in June 1966.’
Our Church opened the town's first church school on Church Hill in 1829. It began as a Sunday school and was enlarged and opened as a day school in 1843 with accommodation for 300 children. A playground was added in 1852 and by 1854 there were 380 children, consisting of 180 girls and 200 boys. Other church schools in the area included the National School at Moxley, which opened in 1837-38, St James' School, which opened in 1845 and St John's School which opened in 1849.
The year of closure (1966) happened the same year that the the borough of Wednesbury ceased to exist, with the majority of it being absorbed into West Bromwich.
Photo courtesy of Andy Szuleko who purchased it.
If any of you have information about or photos of the school and its pupils, it would be great if you could share them with us for others to see. If you use Facebook please send a message to us and Wendy will include them in this notice (https://www.facebook.com/StBartsWednesbury/). Otherwise please contact the vicar via this page and ask him to pass on the information to Wendy (you won't be able to attach photos, though. Thank you.
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.
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.