A BRIEF HISTORY

 
WYTHALL AND
ST MARY'S
Preface
Introduction
The Ancient Parish
Early Wythall
Pre-conquest Evidence
Medieval Wythworth
The Church Beginnings
Wythall in the Middle Ages
Warwickshire 1567
Wythall 1500 - 1800
The Early Nonconformists
Wythall Chapel 1826
Wythall Chapel 1848
The Growing Parish
St Marys Wythall, Exterior
St Marys Wythall, Interior
Church Description
Incumbents
Organ Specification
Wythall Baptist Church
St Aidan's RC
R A F Wythall
Historical Buildings
Acknowledgments
 
   

A description of the church

The Church of St. Mary, Wythall, was designed by Frederick Preedy of London, an architect with a flair for the unique. This, no doubt, is one reason why it is of such interest to many people - let us see the church through the eyes of the visitor

We enter the churchyard through oaken gates which were a gift of the parishioners to commemorate the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The exterior of the church is of red and blue brick, and some of these bricks originally came from Burmans Brickyard - in what was known as Shawcross Yard. It will be observed that there is a carved stone cross on both the cast and west end of the church roof. The tower which surmounts the sanctuary was added in 1908 as a gift of the Misses Mynors in memory of their parents. The tower is in harmony with the church and is finished with a gable roof and timber tléche, as seen in many churches in northern and eastern France. It measures 25 foot square and is 115 feet to the top of the flèche, consisting of two stages rising above the nave roof, a ringing chamber and an open belfry, the latter containing a peal of eight tubular bells, together with an old treble bell dated 1689 - a gift from Kings Norton to Wythall about 1889. The plans for the tower were prepared by W. H. Bidlake. MA., of Waterloo Street. Birmingham and the contractor for the work was Harvey Gibbs of Kings Heath. The bells were hung by Messrs. Harrington. Latham and Co. and the stone work was executed by Pavid French of Kings Heath.

At the south-west of the building is the main door, opening directly onto the south aisle - and the first place we see is the baptistry. The font, which came from St. Thomas and Emmanuel of Broad Street. Birmingham, has an oaken cover which was given in memory of the Rev. T. G. Faulkner (Vicar 1915-1933). The old oak chest is circa 17th century and was used, in past years, as a vestment chest. This baptistry was formed in 1962 as part of the Centenary reconstruction scheme and is dedicated to Rev, 1. S. Miller (Vicar 1933-1957) and commemorated by a plaque on the west wall. Above is a rose window of the Ascension, and two others showing the Shepherds. Mary and the Infant Jesus. and the Baptism of Our Lord. These windows are in memory of Richard and Esther Burman.

On walking down the main aisle v. e notice that the plain walls of the north and south aisles help to accentuate the intricate pattern of red and blue brickwork of the interior of the church and enhance the pillars. composed of a mixture of Bath and Honitori stone.

The pulpit of carved stone is reached by ascending four shallow steps, and has a pulpit fall of ro~al blue velvet decorated with a gold cross and lilies. Opposite is thc lectern of carved oak, which is dedicated to the memory of Major Hadley - a great benefactor of St. Marys Church. The Bible markers are of similar material and design to the pulpit fall.

In the sanctuary, on a deep blue carpet which was the gift of the Womens Fellowship in 1962. stands the High Altar vested in a gold brocade frontal. This altar has only stood here since the Centenary and its present position was the most important factor in the re-arrangement of the Church during the reconstruction scheme. The two oak clergy stalls were designed and made by Pancheri of Bromsgrove in 1964. They are carved with fruits and leaves of the oak and maple trees and are in memory of a young Englishman (Charles Anthony Betts) who was killed whilst residing in Canada. The Altar Service Book cushion, worked in tapestry. depicting a white lily on a blue background was made and given by the children of St. Mary's School as their Centenary gift. On the north side of the altar is the organ. This was built by Nicholson & Co. of Malvern for St. Mary's Church in 1908 and its full specifications are to he found at the end of this booklet.

Beyond the High Altar is the Mynors Chapel-which is now the loca- tion of~ the choir, and was formerly the site of the sanctuary of St. Mary's prior to 1962. Here the Altar is vested in blue velvet which provides an excellent foil for the carved York stone reredos executed in the Italian style. The centre panel depicts the Crucifixion and the side panels, the Lamb and the Pelican. This reredos was added to the church between 1862-1875. On either side of the reredos are panels on which arc inscribed the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Creed. These panels were the gift of W. H. Jackson of Glenfield.

Uriel, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, the four Archangels, are portrayed in the four windows on the north and south sides of this chapel. The East Window - showing the Resurrection - replaced the window now in the south-west entrance, and is to the memory of Robert Mynors, the eminent Victorian surgeon who resided at Weatheroak Hall. Other members of the Mynors family have their memorials in the Arch- angel windows. As we leave the Mynors Chapel it is interesting to note that carvings of strange beasts and other objects on the capitals of the pillars in the Sanctuary.

Coming into the south aisle we see the War Memorial, made of carved oak with a centre panel showing the Crucifixion. The two side panels which carry the names of the fallen in World War I. give the whole structure the effect of a medieval triptych.

The stained glass window near the War Memorial is of great interest as it was painted by Geraldine Morris. a former Vicars daughter. All the faces portrayed are of local people of the time, and the kneeling figure was modelled by her father, the Rev. Ambrose Morris. Her brother. May- nard Morris is portrayed in the figure standing behind that of her father. Wild flowers, herbs, birds and animals are shown executed with great delicacy. The window in the South aisle depicting Our Lord at Gethsemane is to the memory of W. H. Jackson. The other windows in the south transept show the Good Samaritan; the Washing of Our Lord’s Feet and Mary with the Infant Jesus. These two windows are in memory of James Johnstone (a former Vicars Warden) and Maria, his Wife and to Elizabeth Deverill. In the south-west entrance is another window of Mary and the Infant Jesus - which was originally the East Window, and moved to its present position in 1896 and this is in memory of Robert Edward Eden Mynors.

The Greek letters Alpha and Omega appear five times in different parts of the church . . . in the small lights in the East Window - on both sides of the chance! arch in one of the Archangel windows (St. Uriel) - on the memorial brass to the Rev. I. C. Yarranlon above the pulpit and in the south-east corner of the nave on the memorial brass to the Rev, and Mrs. Mynors. The church is lit by electricity installed in 1934 and a gift from Major l-ladley and his wife. Prior to that dale paraffin had been used. The old hot water system for heating was found to be inadequate and a new one put in the church in 1956. This was replaced in 1971 by a system of electrically heated panels placed under the pews. The door in the north wall leads to the small office and the vestries. These were added in 1909 as a gift from the Misses Mynors and cost £600. In 1961. when dry rot was discovered, part of the wood- work was replaced and the vestries redecorated for the Centenary. In 1970, when the architect made his quinquennial inspection of St. Mary's Church he requested scaffolding to be erected so that a more detailed inspection of the tower could take place. This was done and it was found that there were urgent need for repairs. Plans for the work to be effected were put in hand and a special Tower Restoration Fund was started in 1971.

If we go outside the church - round to the east of the vestries, we find a small door which leads to the tower. Although the climb up the many steps is tiring, the view on a clear day is well worth the effort and a reward in itself.

H V F Goodger