Wishaw

Warwickshire

St Chad

Wishaw church is of Anglo-Saxon foundation, a priest at Wishaw being mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. This dedication to St Chad is probably very early. The oldest part of the church building as it now stands dates from the early 1200s.

 

St Chad's Church website

St Chad's is a joint benefice (from 2006) with St Nicholas & St Peter ad Vincula, Curdworth and St John the Baptist, Middleton. Their Three in One website is at - http://www.threeinone.org.uk/.

See also A Church near You - http://www.achurchnearyou.com/wishaw-st-chad/

 

You might also be interested in A History of Birmingham Places & Placenames . . . from A to Y - Wishaw - http://billdargue.jimdo.com/placenames-gazetteer-a-to-y/places-w/wishaw/.

 

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The chancel (right) is the oldest part of the building and dates from c1200. It very likely stands on the site of the original Anglo-Saxon church.
The chancel (right) is the oldest part of the building and dates from c1200. It very likely stands on the site of the original Anglo-Saxon church.

A priest at Wishaw is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, pointing to an Anglo-Saxon foundation. The dedication to St Chad is probably very early and one of over 30, mainly located in the Midlands. 

 

Chad was the fifth Bishop of Mercia who lived from 669 AD at Nether Stowe in Lichfield and was instrumental in uniting the Celtic and Roman traditions of the Church in England.

 

Although bishop for only three years, after his death on 2 March 672, his tomb at Nether Stowe became a place of pilgrimage. From 700 his shrine was transferred to the newly-built Lichfield Cathedral until the outbreak of Civil War when his bones were hidden from the Puritans. Regarded as the Apostle of the Midlands, his remains now rest in St Chad's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Birmingham.

 

Almost certainly originally of timber construction, the Anglo-Saxon church would have been a focal point for an area of scattered farmsteads, much as it is now.

 

The chancel viewed from the south-east
The chancel viewed from the south-east

The oldest part of the present building is the chancel which was built at the beginning of the 13th century. The walls have chamfered plinths that are buried below ground in the east and north walls suggesting a lower ground level when the chancel was built.

 

The side walls of the chancel have massive sloping buttresses which were added during the 1886 restoration to support the walls. Faced in red sandstone ashlar, the chancel has a late 13th-century east window which was restored in the 19th century.

 

Near the west end of the north wall is a small ogee-headed light of c1320. The south wall has two similar lights: the unglazed one near the east end looks into the vestry which was added in 1886; the other is filled with early 20th-century stained glass in memory of Rev Alfred Stanford, a missionary killed at Mafeking in 1895. At the west end is a squint from the 14th-century south aisle.

 

The priests' doorway between the windows is now the entrance to the vestry. The 14th-century chancel arch is acutely pointed; and springs from only 140 cm above the floor, which is of the same level in both the nave and the chancel. It may be that the floor has been raised at some time. The three stained glass panels, showing the Annunciation, the Nativity and the Presentation at the Temple surmounted by a panel depicting Christ in Glory, were placed here by Charles Stanford as a memorial to his parents in 1908, as was the altar table. There is only one window on the north side of the chancel and the glass in this commemorates Major Henry Stanford who died in 1904.

 

All the internal furnishings are as a result of the 1886 restoration when the high box pews were removed and the present pews installed. The pulpit is a memorial to Mr. Frank Foden, churchwarden from 1895-1945 and was restored after being transferred from St. Mark's Church, Ladywood when that church was closed.

 

The nave and the north aisle date from the second half of the 13th century, though the north arcade and aisle were remodelled in the 15th century, probably because of the added weight of the clerestory which was added then. The original pillars of the north aisle were replaced then with stouter ones to support the clerestory whose rectangular windows were designed to throw more light into the nave. One pillar is rounded, but the other is octagonal matching the pillars of the south aisle. The arches above are probably the original 13th-century ones as they are more slender than the pillars supporting them and not so acute as those of the south aisle, an indication of an earlier style. The roof beams of both aisles are 15th century, the tie beams and deal boards of the clerestory ceiling were replaced in the 1886 restoration. The east window of the north aisle was replaced in the 15th century as was the window in the north wall which is late-15th-century. Evidence of a blocked doorway can be seen in the north wall which is of 15th-century ashlar above the earlier stonework of the plinth. The west window is like the northern.

 

Below upper: the north aisle

Below lower: the south aisle

 

The south aisle was built c1330 about a hundred years later than the north aisle. It is good typical work of that period. While the external wall of the north aisle was refaced in the 15th century when the clerestory was built, the large red sandstone ashlar of the south aisle was and is in good condition and remains unrestored. The octagonal pillars supporting the south arcade more slender than those of the north aisle, typical of their date, and the arches are more acutely pointed. The late 15th-century clerestory above has three windows, each of two trefoiled round-headed lights under a square head.

There were originally two windows in the south wall and a door. In the south aisle are monuments to members of the Lisle, Hacket and Ryland families of Moxhull Hall two of which block one of the windows and the south doorway whose outline can be clearly seen outside.

 

The west end of the church
The west end of the church

The east window of the south aisle is of three trefoiled ogee-headed lights and below it, the wall shows evidence of a former altar. The west window is of two plain square-headed lights. Inside the heads show rough hacking where they were formerly foiled, but the exterior was restored in the 17th or 18th century. Above it outside is reset the masonry of a small trefoiled light in a three-quarter circular frame, possibly part of a 17th-century bull's-eye window from the tower. The walls are of sandstone, largely restored; that below the west window is very weather-worn.

 

The embattled west tower was built about 1650 and there is no visible evidence that it replaced an earlier tower. The walls are of deeper red sandstone than the rest of the buttresses building. The side-walls have substantial buttresses against the aisle walls. The archway through the east wall of the tower and the west wall of the nave into the church is almost 180 cm thick, twice the width of the other tower walls, showing that the tower was added separately onto the west end of the church and not built as part of the nave wall. The west doorway is square headed with a keystone, classically inspired, and above it a barely pointed window with moulded jambs and head and fitted with a wooden frame of three lights. The circular bull's-eye windows in the tower were inexplicably blocked with brickwork in1886. These were restored in 1957 and 1983.

 

All the fittings and furniture including the font are modern, except some dado wall lining of fielded panels from 18th-century pews. The wall panelling is, in part, made from the wood of the original pews, but the rest of the furniture is modern.

 

Above the font is a simple marble war memorial commemorating ten local men killed in the First World War and two in the Second.

 

The bell-ringing chamber is on the first floor of the tower. Originally there were three bells cast by John Martin of Worcester, but the broken tenor was sold in 1830 for £21 leaving a vacant pit in the frame, which probably dates from the building of the tower in about 1650. The two remaining bells were rehung with new ringing fittings by a Mr Holbeach for £6/4/-. Inside the porch on the ground floor of the tower hang the two original clappers. The bells were put on ball bearings in 1954 when the bells were quarter turned and rehung, probably by Gillett and Johnston. In 1997 the frame was strengthened by Hayward Mills and a new tenor hung, a redundant bells originally from Derby Cathedral.

 

Wishaw Gallery

Weblinks

See British History Online - Victoria County History of Warwickshirre - http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=42693,

 

 

and Milke Chester's Warwickshire Bells website - http://www.warksbells.co.uk/wishaw.htm 

 

See also the Parish Statement 2011 produced for the advertisement for a new priest for the joint parishes of Curdworth. Middleton and Wishaw - http://www.birmingham.anglican.org/upload/pdf/ParishStatementCurdworthMiddletonWishaw.pdf. 

 

This is a Grade II* listed building whose record can be found on the

Historic England website - https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1034654.

William Dargue 17.03.2012