Historic County: Warwickshire
St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne
There is evidence that a monastic chapel was built near here in the 12th century for brothers of Leicester Abbey, but it was to be another 800 years before the present parish church was built.
St Cuthbert's website
This is the website of the joint parish of St Cuthbert and St George, Minworth - http://www.stcuthbertsb35.org.uk/.
See also A Church near You - http://www.achurchnearyou.com/castle-vale-st-cuthbert-of-lindisfarne/.
You might also be interested in A History of Birmingham Places & Placenames . . . from A to Y - Castle Vale - http://billdargue.jimdo.com/placenames-gazetteer-a-to-y/places-c/castle-vale/.
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The Manor of Berwood
The manor of Berwood took in what is now the Castle Vale estate; Berwood was then part of Minworth which itself was a detached part of Curdworth. Berwood is first found documented before 1162 when Sir Hugh de Arden gave to the newly-founded Abbey of St Mary de Pratis at Leicester his manor of Berwood as a monastic grange. This would have been a self-sufficient farm run by lay brothers for the benefit of the monastery. There was land attached and a mill and also the advowson of Curdworth church. And there would have been a chapel. Granges were usually within a day's walk of the mother monastery, so that the brothers could attend services on Sundays and holy days - in this case Leicester is about 40 miles distant, more than a single day’s travel on foot, though possible on horseback.
Sir Hugh’s descendants made further grants of land: in 1224 William de Arderne gave 24 acres, and 20 years later his son confirmed Hugh's gift in return for the establishment of two canons at the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Berwood Hall to sing masses for his soul. It is not clear when the monks or lay brothers left Berwood. Certainly the hall had a moat dug. This was rather a medieval status symbol rather than a thing of any purpose and was unlikely to have been dug by the monks. Moats are generally dated from c1250 until the Black Death in 1348. It is thought that members of the Arden family lived at Berwood Hall at some time, themselves tenants of the Abbey at Leicester.
By 1442 the chapel had gone. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII the manor reverted to the Crown and was later sold to Thomas Arden for £272.10 shillings.
From 1909 planes were flown from the former monastery lands, now Berwood Playing Fields. World War I saw the requisition of Castle Bromwich Aerodrome by the War Office for use by the Royal Flying Corps. And after the war there was continued military use. A church, named as St Mary’s, was built for the military personnel living on the site. Dedicated in 1923 it was destroyed by fire only three years later. Although it was rebuilt shortly afterwards, it later became redundant and was closed.
The Castle Vale housing estate was built in the late 1960s on the airfield to accommodate some 10 000 people and St Cuthbert’s Church was founded, starting life in a temporary wooden hut.
The present church itself was not built until 1973. In 2012 the area round the church was set out as St Cuthbert's Place, making the church more of a focal point and linking it into the centre of Castle Vale.
The images below are courtesy of the Additional Curates Society - http://www.additionalcurates.co.uk/ - and are reproduced here through the good offices of Fr Darren Smith and Robert Jordan. They are the copyright of the ACS and must not be used without their permission.
Geoff Bateson's History of Castle Vale can be downloaded from the City Council's website - http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/castlevalehistory#pdf.
St Cuthbert’s is home to the RAF 605 Squadron’s (County of Warwick) Colour and War Memorial. See - www.605squadron.co.uk.
See also Royal Flying Corps Burials and Memorials - http://www.hellfire-corner.demon.co.uk/castlebrom.htm.
Below: memorials of the 605 Squadron at Castle Vale.
William Dargue 23.03.2012