St Mary's Church, Selly Oak

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St. Mary's parish church, Selly Oak
St. Mary's from the south
52°26′17″N 1°56′45″W / 52.4381°N 1.9457°W / 52.4381; -1.9457Coordinates: 52°26′17″N 1°56′45″W / 52.4381°N 1.9457°W / 52.4381; -1.9457
OS grid reference SP03758220
Location 923 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6ND
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Broad Church
Website St Mary's Church, Selly Oak, Birmingham
History
Dedication Saint Mary
Consecrated 12 September 1861
Architecture
Heritage designation Grade II
Designated 8 July 1982
Architect(s) Edward Holmes
Architectural type Gothic Revival
Specifications
Spire height 150 feet (46 m)
Materials sandstone; limestone
Bells 8 (cast and hung 1861–87; re-cast and re-hung 1932)
Administration
Parish Selly Oak
Deanery Edgbaston
Archdeaconry Birmingham
Diocese Birmingham
Province Canterbury
Clergy
Vicar(s) Jim Cox
Honorary priest(s) Susannah Izzard
Laity
Organist/Director of music John Stormont

St. Mary's Church, Selly Oak is a Church of England parish church in Selly Oak, Birmingham, England.

Parish[edit]

The parish of St. Mary was from part of the parish of St. Laurence, Northfield in 1862. The parish of St Stephen, Selly Park was formed from part of St. Mary's parish in 1871. The parishes were in the Anglican Diocese of Worcester until 1905, when they became part of the newly created Anglican Diocese of Birmingham.

Building[edit]

St Mary's from the southeast, showing the south transept

The church is set back from the main Bristol Road (A38 road) and is approached from the south by a drive, ending at a lychgate at the entrance to the churchyard.[1] There is also an entrance from the north in Lodge Hill Road.[1]

St Mary's foundation stone was laid on 12 July 1860, and the Bishop of Worcester, the Right Reverend Henry Philpott, consecrated the church on 12 September 1861. The church was funded by the manufacturer George Richards Elkington (1801–65) and by Joseph Frederick Ledsam (1791–1862).[citation needed] Ledsam was Chairman of the London and North Western Railway[2] and in 1848 had been High Sheriff of Worcestershire.

The architect Edward Holmes designed the building in a Gothic Revival interpretation of Decorated Gothic.[1][3] It is built of coursed sandstone, enlivened both inside and out by being laid in courses of two different shades.[1][3] The stone is from a quarry (now closed) at Weoley Castle.[citation needed] Limestone was used for quoins, window facings and internal columns. The north-west tower has a broach spire 150 feet (46 m) high, topped by a weathercock.

The church is cruciform, and the nave has a clerestory and north and south aisles with four-bay arcades.[3] The clerestory windows are slightly unusual, being quatrefoils set in groups of three.[4] Internally the walls are plastered, and the plastering is punctuated by horizontal bands of sandstone. In the transepts and nave the roof timbers are exposed and in the chancel they are gilded and painted in heraldic colours of red, blue, green, white and gold.

For St Mary's centenary in 1961 the interior was reordered and redecorated under the direction of the architect Stephen Dykes Bower.[citation needed] At the same time painted, sculpted rood was removed from the chancel arch and transferred to Holy Trinity parish church, Hadley, Shropshire.[citation needed]

Since 1982 the building has been Grade II listed[1] In the 1980s a set of olive wood Stations of the Cross was installed.[citation needed]

Windows[edit]

Looking east along the nave to the chancel

There are nine stained glass windows by Hardman & Co..

  • East window. The Ascension, 1861, given by George Elkington in memory of his first wife Mary.
  • West window. The Transfiguration, 1861, given by J.F. Ledsam. Above the window a small grisaille in memory of T.C. Humphries and his wife Eugenie.
  • South west window. Mary and Martha, 1872, given by the Elkington family in memory of Margaret Morgan, second wife of George Elkington.
  • South aisle south window. The Good Samaritan, 1866, in memory of George Elkington.
  • South transept west window. Christ and Mary Magdalene, in memory of Hyla Elkington, died 1901.
  • South transept south window. Worship of the Kings. In memory of John Meredith of Harborne, died 1851, and his wife Jane.
  • South transept east window. Peter and John at the Tomb. In memory of Hyla Elkington (obscured by the organ).
  • Lady Chapel north window. Healing and Resurrection, given by Edward Holmes in memory of his wife Anne.
  • Baptistry. Blessing the Children, given by J.F. Ledsam in memory of F.G. Ledsam.

Incumbents[edit]

Grave and Gothic Revival monument in St Mary's churchyard of Joel and Dorcas Merrett, who died within a month of each other in 1893. Joel Merrett paid for the treble bell in the tower

Bells[edit]

At the church's consecration on 12 September 1861 the tower had only one bell. Five more were added in 1864, creating a ring of six that was first rung on 29 September 1864.[citation needed] In 1887 the parish commemorated the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria by adding two more bells, increasing them to a ring to eight that was first rung on 20 June 1887.[citation needed]

In 1922 the bells were found to be unsafe to ring, and they were silent for a decade until enough money was raised for rectification work.[citation needed] In 1932 Gillett & Johnston of Croydon re-founded all eight bells[5] and they were re-hung. The tenor (the largest bell) now weighs 12 long cwt 1 qtr 17 lb (1,389 lb or 630 kg) in and is tuned to the musical note G.[5]

The Master of the Ringers for many years from the 1930s was William B. Cartwright, a local solicitor.[citation needed]

Inscriptions[edit]

Two of the bells are inscribed.

  • No. 1 Bell — Treble: IN MEMORIAM FILIÆ ET S. M. VICTORIÆ ANNUM QUINQUAGESIMA REGNANTIS D. D. JOEL MERRETT. (Latin for "Given by Joel Merrett in memory of a daughter and the fiftieth year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.")
  • No. 8 Bell — Tenor: + BEATUS POPULUS QUI SCIT JUBILATIONEM. (Latin for "Happy are the people who know how to rejoice.")
Lychgate to the churchyard

Organ[edit]

An organ was installed in 1862 for the opening of the church.[citation needed] In the 1870s it was moved to the south side of the chancel.[citation needed] In 1902 Nicholson and Company of Worcester rebuilt it, retaining much of the original pipework.[citation needed] Between 1925 and 1930 it was restored by Bird of Selly Park.[citation needed] In 1958 it was restored again, this time by Nicholson & Co,[6] and the console was moved to the north side of the chancel.[citation needed] It was dedicated by the Right Reverend John Leonard Wilson, the fourth Bishop of Birmingham on 4 June 1958 at a recital by Sir George Thalben-Ball, the Birmingham City Organist.[citation needed] Sheffield Organs made further tonal improvements in 1996 and 1999.[6]

Organists[edit]

  • 1950–70 Keith Collyer, Deputy Organist
  • 1960s Dennis Mason, Deputy Organist

The Organist is also choirmaster and a robed choir leads the worship at the principal Sunday services. Other choral occasions include the Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols, and a passion cantata, such as Stainer's Crucifixion, in Holy Week. There are also occasional organ recitals and concerts.

Clock on the steeple

Tower clock[edit]

St Mary's has a tower clock that chimes the hours and quarter hours. It was installed in 1887, the year of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. JB Joyce & Co of Whitchurch, Shropshire made the clock under the supervision of the Rev. Canon Cattley. It is made on the same principle as the clock designed by Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe for the great clock at Westminster and the large clock at Worcester Cathedral. The cost was about £331 (£30,000 as of 2014),[9] and was the gift of the widow and family of the late Benjamin Walters.

The frame is cast iron, horizontal and planed. It is 6 feet (1.8 m) long, 1 foot 9 inches (0.5 m) wide and 1 foot (0.3 m) deep, and is supported by beams that are built into the tower wall to preclude vibration. The wheels are of gunmetal and the pendulum beats every 1¼ seconds.

Popular culture[edit]

St Mary's acoustics are fine and the church has been used as a concert venue, rehearsal space and recording space. The church has frequently featured in the BBC soap opera Doctors.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Church of St Mary, Bristol Road, B29". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Joseph Frederick Ledsam (Biographical details)". The British Museum. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Pevsner & Wedgwood 1966, p. 201.
  4. ^ Pevsner & Wedgwood 1966, pp. 201–202.
  5. ^ a b Chester, Mike (6 January 2011). "Birmingham, Selly Oak, S Mary". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. 
  6. ^ a b "Warwickshire (West Midlands), Birmingham--Selly Oak, St. Mary, Bristol Road [R00928]". National Pipe Organ Register. British Institute of Organ Studies. 2005. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Birmingham Daily Post. 12 January 1869. 
  8. ^ Birmingham Gazette. 21 January 1871. 
  9. ^ UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2014), "What Were the British Earnings and Prices Then? (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]