Church of St Editha, Tamworth
|Church of St Editha|
St Editha's Church
|Denomination||Church of England|
|Diocese||Diocese of Lichfield|
The church of St. Editha is the largest medieval parish church in Staffordshire. Most of the church is mid- to late-14th-century and 15th-century work with some 19th-century additions.
The present building stands upon the ground where successive churches have stood since the eighth century. The first church was destroyed, along with the town, by the Danes in 874 and it was not until the time of Ethelfleda that a second church arose. The Danes ruined this church in 943 and it was King Edgar who re-founded it around 963. Editha, King Edgar's aunt died in 960 and was canonized shortly after for her life of devotion and piety and was then made the Patron Saint of the now collegiate church.
In 1345 the town and church were destroyed by fire and the rebuilding of the fourth and present church was undertaken. Begun in 1350 and completed in 1369, this edifice is a monument to the man whose task it became to rebuild and enlarge the church, Dean Baldwin de Witney.
The College of Canons of St. Editha was probably a royal foundation in the 10th century, although the date of foundation is unknown. Although the right to appoint Canons was disputed, by the 12th century, all appointments were Royal. There were a Dean and six prebendaries.
Samuel Parkes (c.1815-1864) was baptised here on 24 December 1815. He won the Victoria Cross in the Charge of the Light Brigade for saving the life of Trumpeter Hugh Crawford. His parents Thomas Park(e)s and Lydia Fearn are buried in the churchyard and commemorated by a tombstone.
The church has an historic pipe organ dating from 1766. The first instrument was installed by Nathaniel Dudley. Samuel Green built a new organ in 1792, taking the Dudley organ to Isleworth in South West London. Alexander Buckingham added a chair/choir division in 1809 and a pedal division was added by William Hill in 1841. Further work was carried out by George Holdich, Brycesons Bros and finally Nicholsons of Worcester. A new organ was built in 1927 by Harrison and Harrison incorporating much of the old pipework and is expected to be restored in 2009/2010. A specification of the organ from 1929 can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register
- John Alcock 1766 - 1790
- William Birch 1790 - 1815
- John Valentine 1815 - 1816
- Thomas Valentine 1816 - 1818
- John T. Greaves 1818 - 1828
- John Hewitt 1828 - 1829
- James J. Greaves 1829 - 1832
- John T. Greaves 1832 - 1867
- T. H. Reade 1867 - 1868
- J. Smith Creswell 1868 - 1874
- George Herbert Gregory 1874 - 1876 (afterwards organist of St Botolph's Church, Boston
- William Edward Wadeley 1876 - 1877
- R. Matthews 1877 - 1886
- Henry Rose 1886 - 1950
- W. Darling 1950 - 1965
- W. H. Hughes 1965 - 1972
- Kenneth Edwards 1973 -
- Saint Editha
- Dissolution of the Monasteries
- Grade I listed buildings in Staffordshire
- Grade I listed churches in Staffordshire
- English Heritage. "Grade I (386462)". Images of England.
- Listed Buildings Online - Church Of St Editha
- 'Colleges: Tamworth, St Edith', A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 3 (1970), pp. 309-315.
- Lives of the Queens of England
- http://www.harrison-organs.co.uk/plans.html[dead link]
- Love, James Scottish Church Music; p. 147