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Gallery: Churches of Warwickshire
by Peter Kessler, 28 February 2010
West Warwickshire Part 11: Churches of
Baddesley Clinton to Lapworth
St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church,
Baddesley Clinton, lies on the eastern side of Rising Lane at
the southern end of the village. Prior to the Reformation, Catholics
worshipped at St Michael's Church, and Franciscan monks who were based
at the manor house from the mid-1600s set up their own permanent chapel
after 1760. In 1785 a Franciscan school moved here and new buildings were
erected in 1793 on the present site, The chapel was added in 1800.
St Giles, Packwood, is at the eastern edge
of Packwood Hall, half a kilometre south-west of the hamlet of Packwood.
Its nave and chancel date back to the late 1200s, which seems to be the
earliest reference for the church, making it the second to have been
founded within the civil parish of Lapworth. Notable later additions
included the tower, known locally as 'The Tower of the Atonement', a
reference to the fifteenth century lord of the manor, Nicholas Brome.
Lord Brome returned home unexpectedly to find the
parish priest 'chockinge his wife under ye chinne', and slew him on the
spot. As penance, after pardons from the pope and king, he built towers
to the churches of Packwood and Baddesley Clinton. In 1704 the brick-built
transept was added as the Fetherston Chapel for the family of that name
from Packwood House, and two years later the parents of Dr Samuel Johnson
were married in the church.
The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Lapworth,
is in the eastern crook of Church Lane in this hamlet, about a mile from
the main congregation in Kingswood. The parish is held in plurality with
the that of Baddesley Clinton four miles to the east. The original church
on the site dates from the 900s, when a Saxon wattle and wood building
stood where the present nave is located. This was replaced around 1100 by
a small Norman stone building which took in the present chancel.
The building of the highly interesting replacement
church building began in the twelfth century. That initial building work
continued over the subsequent three centuries, providing a church that
looks essentially fifteenth century in appearance, and one which could
seat about 180 in the nave. The church is now a Grade I listed building,
and the organ, a Nicholson three manual that was bought and completely
rebuilt with additions in 1998, is particularly fine.
All photos on this page kindly contributed by Aidan