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.