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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Warwickshire

by Peter Kessler & Aidan McRae Thomson, 18 April 2010

South Warwickshire Part 6: Churches of Oldberrow to Tanworth-in-Arden

St Mary

St Mary, Oldberrow, is on the southern side of the A4189 road, alongside a narrow country lane. The church itself is a relatively plain rectangular building which first appeared as a chapel in the early twelfth century at the latest. In about 1150 Bishop Simon of Worcester consecrated a cemetery there for the parishioners. The church was practically rebuilt in 1875, but old features preserved include a re-set twelfth century window and pillar-piscina.

St Mary

North of the chancel is a small modern recess for an organ, while the south porch and main roof with a west bellcote of timber are also modern. The bellcote contains three bells dating between the thirteenth century and 1674. Near the west end window is a blocked fifteenth century doorway. The parish of Oldberrow was a narrow strip of Worcestershire which penetrated into Warwickshire until 1896, when it was transferred to the latter county.

Church of the Holy Trinity

The Church of the Holy Trinity, Morton Bagot, is on the eastern side of the lane that passes through the small collection of buildings here. The church is a small building consisting of chancel, nave, and south porch and dates from the end of the thirteenth century, although the west end of the nave was extended in the fifteenth century. The south porch, made partly with old timber framing, and the tiled roofs and bell turret are dated about 1600.

St Mary Magdalene

St Mary Magdalene, Tanworth-in-Arden, is located between Tom Hill and Well Lane, in the centre of the village which lies deep within the former Forest of Arden. The forest covered an area extending from the south of Solihull across Coventry and Birmingham, but it was mostly cleared during the Industrial Revolution. The church dates mainly from the fourteenth century and has many large traceried windows which are typical of this date.

St Mary Magdalene

Some rather brutal alterations were undertaken in 1789-1790. Two old porch doorways were walled up and small windows inserted into the previous apertures. New doorways were cut into the original tower walls in order to form a new entrance immediately underneath the new west gallery. The roofs were replaced, pillars were destroyed and the nave arcade was removed, leaving the vast space of the nave and north aisle spanned by the new single roof.

St Mary Magdalene

The changes were roundly castigated by one prominent mid-Victorian writer, but they mostly survive to this day. Philip Wren, grandson of the famous architect, was vicar at the time, though it is said that he disapproved. The arcade was reinstated in the Victorian restoration of 1880. The church also contains ancient image brackets in the chancel, an interesting baroque monument to the Archer family, and a fine set of early twentieth century windows.

All photos on this page kindly contributed by Aidan McRae Thomson.



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