St Nicolas' Church, Kings Norton

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The Parish Church of St Nicolas, Kings Norton
Kings Norton St Nicolas.jpg
St Nicolas's Church, Kings Norton
52°24′31″N 1°55′44″W / 52.40862°N 1.92892°W / 52.40862; -1.92892Coordinates: 52°24′31″N 1°55′44″W / 52.40862°N 1.92892°W / 52.40862; -1.92892
DenominationChurch of England
ChurchmanshipBroad Church
DedicationSt Nicholas
ParishKings Norton
RectorRev. Larry Wright

St Nicolas's Church, Kings Norton is the Anglican parish church of Kings Norton, in the Diocese of Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom.


A church has been located on this site as early as the 11th century when the Normans built a small, rectangular chapel. It is not known if this was the result of a rebuild of a previous church.[1] A church on this site has been recorded in documents since 1213.[2] The current St Nicolas's Church dates from the early 13th century,[3] and the spire was constructed between 1446 and 1475.[2] The Norman building was demolished in the 14th century when a new nave, both aisles and the chancel arch were constructed.[clarification needed] In the 17th century, almost the whole of the south aisle was re-built, the chancel was re-roofed and the low pitched roof that covered the nave from the 15th century was replaced by a much steeper version. Both north aisle and south aisle were given four separate, high pitched roofs set side-by-side.[1] A parish was assigned to the church in 1846.[1]

The church was restored in 1863 by Ewan Christian and again in 1871 by W. J. Hopkins.[4] It is a Grade I listed building.[5]

In 1898 the church started a mission in Cotteridge which later became St Agnes' Church, Cotteridge.

The Revd W. V. Awdry, author of The Railway Series including Thomas the Tank Engine was a curate from 1940 to 1946. The church stands next to the historic buildings of Saracen's Head, recently restored and named Saint Nicolas Place.


The churchyard, which has been extended to the west and (across a private road) to the north, contains war graves of eleven service personnel of World War I and seven of World War II.[6]

List of vicars and rectors[edit]


The church has ten bells with a tenor weight of 17 long cwt 1 qr 6 lb (1,938 lb or 879 kg). The ringing chamber is accessed via a wooden staircase of 54 steps.[7]

The ringing practice takes place every Tuesday from 19:45 to 21:00, and Sunday service ringing is from 09:50 to 10:30

There is a poem "The New Bell Wake" about these bells.[8]


The church from across Kings Norton Green
The Saracen's Head, now Saint Nicolas Place, and the church

Parts of the organ date from 1857 by J. Halmshaw, but it has been expanded and restored several times since. A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.

List of organists[edit]

  • 1857 Henry Halmshaw
  • 1884 Charles Thompson
  • 1893 Herbert Walter Wareing
  • 1907 A. W. Hartland
  • 1925 John Birch
  • 1927 J. W. Brittain
  • 1927 W. Sudworth
  • 1941 W. R. Masters
  • 1950 Mr. Brown
  • 1950 David Gwerfyl Davies (later organist of Brecon Cathedral)
  • 1953 Dennis Davenport
  • 1960 Raymond Isaacson
  • 1961 B. W. Purchase
  • 1972 Peter Boswell
  • 1976 Peter Carder
  • 1993 Sylvia Fox

List of assistant organists[edit]

  • 1928 W. R. Masters
  • 1941 W. E. Moore
  • 1950 J. Myers
  • 1958 R. G. Howells
  • 1961 Trevor Jones
  • 1968 Reginald Hall
  • 1974 Martin Schellenberg (later Assistant Organist of Bristol Cathedral and then Director of Music (Organist & Master of the Choir) at Christchurch Priory)
  • 1978 Andrew Lane
  • 1980 Ceridwen Evans
  • 1990 Sylvia Fox
  • 1998 Kevin Blumer

See also[edit]

Other Mediaeval churchs in Birmingham[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Melling, J. V. "History of St. Nicolas". The Parish of Kings Norton. Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
  2. ^ a b Lockwood, Arthur; Barnsby, Jean. "Ink Drawing - St Nicholas Church Kings Norton - Kings Norton: The Green". Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
  3. ^ Douglas Hickman (1970). Birmingham. Studio Vista Limited.
  4. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Wedgwood, Alexandra (1966). The Buildings of England: Warwickshire. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. p. 188.
  5. ^ Historic England. "Grade I (217165)". Images of England. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
  6. ^ [1] CWGC Cemetery Report. Breakdown obtained from casualty record.
  7. ^ "Bell Ringing at St Nicolas, Kings Norton". The Worcestershire & Districts Change Ringing Association. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
  8. ^ "The New Bell Wake (A poem in St Nicolas Church, after installation of new bells)". c. 1783.

External links[edit]