St Paul's Church, Birmingham

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St Paul's
52°29′07″N 1°54′21″W / 52.4853°N 1.9058°W / 52.4853; -1.9058Coordinates: 52°29′07″N 1°54′21″W / 52.4853°N 1.9058°W / 52.4853; -1.9058
OS grid reference SP064874
Location St Paul's Square, Birmingham
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Consecrated 1779 (1779)
Heritage designation Grade I listed
Bells 10
Tenor bell weight 12 long cwt 2 qtr 13 lb (1,413 lb or 641 kg)
Organist(s) Paul Car

St Paul’s is a Church of England church in the Georgian St Paul's Square in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, England.

The Grade I listed church[1] was designed by Roger Eykyns of Wolverhampton. Building started in 1777, and the church was consecrated in 1779. It was built on land given by Charles Colmore from his Newhall estate. It was the church of Birmingham's early manufacturers and merchants - Matthew Boulton and James Watt had their own pews, which were bought and sold as commodities at that time.

Drawing from William Hutton's 1809 book An history of Birmingham, showing the church before the spire was added

It is a rectangular church, similar in appearance to St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. The spire was added in 1823 by Francis Goodwin.

East window[edit]

The east window has an important enamelled stained-glass window made in 1791 by Francis Eginton and modelled an altarpiece painted c. 1786 by Benjamin West, now in the Dallas Museum of Art.[2][3] It shows the Conversion of Paul.


The church has excellent acoustics and has long given concerts, currently the popular monthly organ recital series 'Thursday Live' by Paul Carr, Organist and Director of Music.

The first documented organ in St Paul's was built in 1830 by James Bishop. It was sited on the gallery at the west end of the church. Banfield enlarged the organ in 1838 including a new Swell division which was probably a replacement for Bishop's Swell rather than an addition. Bevington and Sons rebuilt and enlarged the organ in 1871 and again worked on it in 1897.

The organ was moved to its present location in 1927 by Conacher Sheffield & Co. and was extensively rebuilt. However, the organ case could not be accommodated in its new position unaltered. The wings had to be removed and are now joined together to serve as the screen facing the north gallery, along with some recycled pew doors. The side towers could not fit between the mouldings on the north arcade bases, so the entire case-front was raised so that the corbels of the side towers cleared the mouldings. This caused the side-tower cornices to conflict with the arcade capitals, so the cornices were removed.

Following war damage and the resulting weather-related damage, the organ was noted to be in a poor state by 1953, notably the Choir division was completely 'bombed out'. Hill, Norman & Beard remodelled the organ as a two manual and pedal instrument in 1964. This is the organ present today albeit with some additions to the piston system added in 1996. There are a mixture of mechanical and electro-pneumatic actions and soundboards of differing compasses. The pipework consists of some of the original Bishop ranks, some second hand pipework from Hill Norman & Beard's stock in 1964 and one partly new stop – the Great Stopped Diapason.

List of organists[edit]

  • William Ward[4]
  • James Stimpson 1842 - ????
  • Frederick Barnby 1857[5]–1859 (afterwards organist of Montreal Cathedral)
  • Thomas Munden
  • George Hollins
  • John Pearce ???? - 1870[6] (afterwards organist of St. Thomas' Church, Birmingham)
  • Frederick Harrod 1870[7] - ????
  • Bernard Farebrother ???? - 1873 - ????[8] (afterwards organist of Holy Trinity, Birchfield)
  • Paul Carr 2003 - current


The first ring of bells was added in 2005. Prior to this the church had three bells used as a service bell and clock chimes. A new ring of ten bells was installed to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the St.Martin’s Guild of Church Bell Ringers and officially opened on 25 November 2005. The tenor weighs 12 long cwt 2 qtr 13 lb (1,413 lb or 641 kg).[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ English Heritage. "Grade I (217564)". Images of England. 
  2. ^ Dallas Museum of Art, accession number 1990.232
  3. ^ St Paul's website - Features of St Paul's Church
  4. ^ Birmingham Gazette - Monday 14 December 1846
  5. ^ Birmingham Gazette - Monday 2 March 1857
  6. ^ Birmingham Daily Post - Monday 28 March 1870
  7. ^ Birmingham Daily Post - Monday 28 March 1870
  8. ^ Birmingham Daily Post - Monday 16 July 1888
  9. ^ St Pauls bells

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]