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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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 contributed by Aidan