St Paul's Church, Birmingham
|OS grid reference||SP064874|
|Location||St Paul's Square, Birmingham|
|Denomination||Church of England|
|Heritage designation||Grade I listed|
|Tenor bell weight||12 long cwt 2 qr 13 lb (1,413 lb or 641 kg)|
The Grade I listed church 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.
It is a rectangular church, similar in appearance to St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. The upper part of the tower and spire was added between 1822 and 1823, designed by Francis Goodwin and built by Standbridge and Company.
In 1841 the church became a parish in its own right, with land taken from that of St Martin in the Bull Ring. In 1947, St Mark’s Church, King Edward's Road was demolished, and the parish was joined with that of St Paul’s.
Bomb damage from the Second World War was repaired between 1949 and 1951 when much of the roof was replaced. The church undertook another restoration between 1985 and 1994. A peal of 10 bells was installed in 2005.
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. It shows the Conversion of Paul.
In the south east nave there is a window by Ward and Hughes of ca. 1880 and the remaining windows are by Pearce between 1900 and 1907 and a modern window by Rachel Thomas in the north aisle dating from 2000.
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
- James Kempson ca. 1780
- Jeremiah Clark ca. 1800
- William Ward
- Thomas Munden ???? - 1838
- George Hollins 1838 - 1841
- James Stimpson 1842 - ????
- Mr. Evans ca. 1852
- Frederick Barnby 1857–1859 (afterwards organist of Montreal Cathedral)
- John Pearce ???? - 1870 (afterwards organist of St. Thomas' Church, Birmingham)
- Frederick Harrod 1870 - ????
- Bernard Farebrother ???? - 1873 - ???? (afterwards organist of Holy Trinity Church, Birchfield)
- George John Halford
- Howard Chapman 1986 - 1988
- Andrew Hudson 1988 - 1991
- Andrew Burling 1991 - 1992
- John Pryer 1992 - 1995
- Stephen Lansberry 1995 - 1996
- Gareth Perkins 1996 - 1997
- David Griffiths 1997 - 2001
- Kevin Gill 2001
- 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 qr 13 lb (1,413 lb or 641 kg).
Church from the south showing St Paul's Square
- English Heritage. "Grade I (217564)". Images of England.
- Foster, Andy. Pevsner Architectural Guides, Birmingham. Yale University Press. p. 161. ISBN 9780300107319.
- Dallas Museum of Art, accession number 1990.232
- St Paul's website - Features of St Paul's Church
- Birmingham Gazette - Monday 14 December 1846
- Birmingham Gazette - Monday 2 March 1857
- Birmingham Daily Post - Monday 28 March 1870
- Birmingham Daily Post - Monday 28 March 1870
- Birmingham Daily Post - Monday 16 July 1888
- St Pauls bells
- The Jewellery Quarter - History and Guide, Marie Elizabeth Haddleton, ISBN 0-9513108-0-1
- Pevsner Architectural Guides - Birmingham, Andy Foster, 2005, ISBN 0-300-10731-5
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