Monday, 11 September 2017
St Edburgha's Church
On Saturday afternoon I went along to another Birmingham church, this time in Yardley - St Edburgha's - which was open for Heritage Week.
This garden was planted some years ago when the gravestones were removed from the churchyard (I am not sure what happened to the tombstones).
There is evidence of a school on the site by AD1260. Monks from Maxstoke Priory came to the school to teach. The present building probably dates from the 15th century and it may have originally been the Guild Hall. The school closed in 1908 - the last Master being the Reverend William Sutherns. Nowadays the building is used as a Parish Room and has a Youth Club upstairs and the Sarah Hassell Lounge on the ground floor.
The church dates back to the 13th century although there was probably a wooden church on the site before this. The church is dedicated to St Edburgha, a grand-daughter of King Alfred, who became a nun and eventually the Abbess at Pershore, Worcestershire. The chancel is the earliest part of the church (13th century) and the Nave and North Aisle were added in the 14th century. The Church tower and spire is 15th century and is 149 feet/45 metres tall. It was the only church in Yardley until Marston Chapel was consecrated in 1704.
The porch is 15th century and in the Middle Ages weddings and funerals were conducted here.
Another church that has markings where arrows were sharpened although the leaflet picked up in the church has an interesting alternative suggestion that I have never heard before that they may have been created by wedding guests scraping off the soft stone and using it as confetti to throw over the bride and groom.
Many thanks to the lady who gave me a guided tour of the church.
The East Window (East and West Windows were made by the Hardman Company.)
The Greswolde Monument - sorry photos are awful - not helped by the fact that a piano obscured much of the monument!
It commemorates the Reverend Henry Greswold who died in 1700 and his wife Ann. Some of their children are represented in the carvings.
This stained glass window shows monks teaching in the nearby school.
The age of the font is not known.
This stone carving of Marianne and Thomas Est who died in 1462 on the same day is the oldest monument in the church. Thomas Est was Governor of Kenilworth Castle and Yeoman of the Crown to King Henry V and VI. They lived nearby at Hay Hall.
The West Window
Nearby is Blakesley Hall - a timber-framed house built in 1590. I didn't have time to visit on Saturday but if you want to read more please click here and here
Reference : Information gained on the guided tour and a leaflet entitled "A Walk Around Yardley Church" based on "How to Look at Yardley Church" by Canon E K Cochrane and revised by Rev. D A Edwards.