Archdeacon blues

Further to last Sunday’s article here regarding the book I recently acquired, ‘Visitations of the Archdeaconry of Stafford 1829-1841’ I thought I’d take the opportunity to fulfil a couple of requests.

This seemed a good idea in theory, so I went through the index. Sadly for all concerned, the only ones I could find were Aldridge, for Susan Marie Ward, and Rushall, as requested by David Evans which I’ve included below. I was disappointed to see no listings for Wall, or either of the two churches mentioned by Andy Dennis at Bishops Wood and Longdon.

In fact, on closer scrutiny, there didn’t seem to be very many entries around the immediate Lichfield area at all. A map in the introductory text explained the churches listed and some other, rather surprising reasons for the local omissions…

If anyone can shed any light on this, I’d be much obliged; the book isn’t forthcoming at all.

So, I’ll modify my original invitation; if you’d like any of the churches on the map featured here, please do shout up. Ahem.


The map from the book showing the churches Archdeacon George Hodson inspected. Quite what being ‘…in peculiar jurisdictions…’ meant, I have no idea, but the grey area covers most every local church in a band covering what is now South Staffordshire. Most puzzling. Click for a larger version.

RUSHALL 17.5.1830 (A/V/l/2,no.26;/3,no.23)

BENEFICE: Rushall. Nature: Formerly a Chapel of Ease to Walsall- now a Vicarage. Ecton: Clear yearly value £30 Os. Od. Abb. Halesowen Propr. William Leigh Esqr. Patron. Patron: Revd Edward Mellish (present Dean of Hereford) as having married into the Leigh family, to whom it belongs. [1] Impropriator: The Tithes belong partly to the Patron, partly to other families .

CHURCH: An irregular building- rebuilt two years ago- the old walls [remain]- single body- with a semi-transept on the NW. and SE. sides [(not in one line)]. Number it will contain: About 250. Accommodation for Poor: About 100. Roof: Oak covered with tiles. Walls: Stone- covered with plaister (inside] . Floor: Flat Stones. Windows: Very good. Doors: Good. Pulpit and Desk: Good and well placed – velvet Cushion. Books: Clerk’s Prayer Book wants repair. Seats: Good. Galleries: [One for the] Singers. Organ: None. Font: There is one. Chapels: None – the SE. Transept belongs to the Lord of Manor. Benefaction Tables: None- one benefaction (‘£2 12s. Od.’); to be recorded. Vestry: A small one. Surplices: Two, good. Linen: Provided. Plate: Three Plate Dishes- two Silver Cups- Pewter Flagon and Plate. Iron Chest for Register: At the Curate’s house. Register: At the Curate’s house -three Vols prior to 1813- oldest date 1686- not very regularly kept formerly. Porch: A small one. Vaults: None recently. Cleanliness: Pretty well attended to. Damp: No appearance. Dimensions: 57ft. 6in. by 19ft. 6in.

CHANCEL: Table: Painted wood- cloth Covering. Ornaments: Crimson coverings to Table- Altar Services. Repaired by whom: The Parish, by agreement with Mr Mellish.

STEEPLE: Old Tower – Stone and Rubble. State of: Pretty good. Bells: Five- good. Clock: None.

CHURCHYARD : Fence: Wall all around- kept up by the Parish. Gates: Pretty good. Drains: None. Graves: Some too near the Walls. Rubbish: None. Footpaths: A right of footpath thro’ the Churchyard. Cattle: None.

DIVINE SERVICE: On Sundays: Full Service Morning, all the year round- second Sermon afternoon half the year. On other Days: None. Sacrament: Six times a year. Communicants: 20 to 30. Catechism: In the Summer.

INCUMBENT: Name and Residence: Revd J Whalley -Vicarage. What Duty he performs: Shares it with his Curate .

CURATE: Name and Residence: Revd W Cowleyin the Parish. Licensed: Yes. Salary: £50. [2]

PARSONAGE: A small brick building, erected in 1816 – two parlours, four bedrooms and dressing room -kitchens etc. State of: Good. [3] Outbuildings: Stable, Coach-house etc – good order.

INCOME: Gross Value: About £300. Tithes: £140. Glebe: 70 Acres. Surplice Fees: 50s. Easter Dues and small Payments: Not demanded. Queen Anne’s Bounty: £60. Terrier: In the Vicar’s possession.

SCHOOLS: Endowed School: None. Subscription Day School: There is a school, supported chiefly by the Vicar. Sunday School: 70 children. Lancaster School: None.

DISSENTERS: Dissenters’ School:–. Dissenting Chapels:–.


MISCELLANEOUS: Parochial Library: None.

PARISH CLERK: Thomas Dean. Appointed by: The Vicar. Salary: £8 Ss. Od.

CHURCHWARDENs: Mr John Brown- Joseph Hulme.

ORDERS MADE: [‘Done – Articles returned. Qu? Benefaction recorded.’]

Clerk’s Prayer book rebound. Register Ditto. Spouting and Drains provided.

Revisited 14.10. 1837

Window frames to be painted. Ground lowered outside , and gravel walk formed. Thoroughfare of Churchyard stopped. Chancel spouted. Tower repaired.

Revisited 23.10.1841

This Church in admirable order- very much improved since my last visits – a neat gravel walk has been made round the Church and the Churchyard closed. I had only to require (1) A new Prayer Book for the Reading desk. (2) The East Window sill flashed with lead outside- and the bars of the windows painted.

[1] Eccles. Revs.: ‘W Mellish and B Gurdan , trustees.’ [2] Eccles. Revs.: £94. [3] Eccles. Revs.: ‘fit’.


Rushall Church; a venerable old thing indeed, as pictured last winter in my 365daysofbiking journal.

ALDRIDGE 17.5.1830 (A/V/1/2,no. 24;/3,no.  l)

BENEFICE: Aldridge or Aldrich. Nature: Rectory. Ecton: Kings book £8 l s. 3d. – called a VicaragePatrons Mr Hoo and Mr Doleman by turns. Patron: Sir Edward Scott (Bart.) .

CHURCH: Old fashioned Gothic Church- nave and side aisles. Number it will contain: 200.[1] Accommodation for Poor: None- except in, and under, the singing Gallery. Roof: Oak, covered with tile – in good state. Walls: Limestone and mortar. Floor:-Quarries.and grave stones[2] – tolerably even. Windows: Casements wanted. Doors: Pretty good. Pulpit and Desk: Old oak crimson cushions and hangings. Books: Good. Seats: Oak – in good repair generally, except some of the floors. Galleries: Three – one erected in 1770- in a very inconvenient position, partly extending into the Chancel. Organ: A barrel organ, in the corner of the Chancel gallery. Font: There is one- but no proper basin for the Water. Chapels: None. Benefaction Tables: Two- another wanted. Vestry: A small one, under the Tower. Surplices: Two, in tolerably good state. Linen: Provided. Plate: Flagon, Chalice, Paten, the Cup want repair. Chest for Papers: [None.] Iron Chest for Register: In the Vestry. Register: Three Vols.- from 1660 – it appears from an entry in the first Vol. that former Registers, from 1558, have been lost. Porch: A small one – the wall wants fresh plaistering. Vaults: None recently. Cleanliness: Attended to. Damp: No appearance. Dimensions: 29ft. 6in. by 45ft.

CHANCEL: 38ft. 7in. by 15ft. Table: Oak- firm. Ornaments: [None.] Repaired by whom: The Rector – the floor wants laying afresh, both within and without the Communion rails.

STEEPLE: Square tower. State of: Good. Bells: Five. Good. Clock: Good.

CHURCHYARD: Fence: Brick wall, belonging to the Parish, except a pa rt of that on the S. side – in good order. Gates: Good. Drains: Noneorder’d ; and spouting etc. Graves: Some too near the walls. Rubbish: Some- and earth accumulated against the Church walls. Cattle: None.

DIVINE SERVICE: On Sundays: Two full services in Summer-Prayers in Afternoon in Winter. [3] On other Days: None. Sacrament: Monthly. Communicants: 28-60 or 70 at the Festivals. Catechism: In Lent.

INCUMBENT: Name and Residence: Revd H Harding – Rectory. What Duty he performs: Whole in general; his Curate at Barr sometimes assists.

PARSONAGE: A new, large, and handsome building extensive and well fitted up. State of: Very good. Outbuildings: Stable, Coach House etc. all in good order.

INCOME: Gross Value: £1,200.[4] Tithes: of 7,000 acres, in Aldridge and Barr. Glebe: 60 acres. Surplice Fees: About £3. Easter Dues and small Payments: None. Queen Anne’s Bounty: –Terrier: In the Rector’s possession.


Aldridge Church of St. Mary, as pictured by Geoff Pick and posted on Geograph under a creative commons licence.

SCHOOLS: Endowed School: There is one, endowed with upwards of 100 acres of land left 110 years ago- rent about £130 per annum- for boys from 6 to 14- about 50 attend- there is also a Girls School, supported by Weeley’s charity. Subscription Day School: A smalJ one, supported by the Rector and his lady. Sunday School: 30 boys- 45 girls. Lancaster School: None.

DISSENTERS: Dissenters’ School:–. Dissenting Chapels: –.


MISCELLANEOUS: Monuments: Some. Chandeliers, etc.: None. Parochial Library: None.

PARISH CLERK : Thomas Cooke- who is also Schoolmaster. Appointed by: The Rector. Salary: £21- besides Surplice Fees.

CHURCHWARDENS: Mr Edward Tongue, Mr John White.

ORDERS MADE: The floor to be laid even, near the Vestry door. Casements made in the Windows. Floors and pannels of Pews repaired. Basin for baptismal font provided. Benefaction Tables comple ted. Sacramental Cup repaired. Outside walls of Church and Chancel covered afresh with Rough Cast (as now) or Cement. Earth cleared away-drains made and spouting completed. [5] In consideration of the debt incurred by the Parish by late repairs to the Churchyard fence etc., the completion of the above repairs suffered to occupy three years from present time. The Church, in general, by no means in a becoming state-a new one very desirable. [6]

Revisited 14.10.1837

Much improved since my former visit. Directed – Pews repaired and oiled. West windows repaired. Floors of pews in N. aisle re laid. Enlargement recommended.

Revisited 23.10.1841

Since my last visit, the Church has been somewhat enlarged, and much improved internally; there is reason however to fear that the new roof on South side, has been very insufficiently covered, and that more care has been bestowed on the ornamental, than the useful, inside the Church. Directions. (1) The Arch behind theW. Gallery to be opened half way down, and glazed, to let in light from West window. (2) The sufficiency of the metal covering of the South Aisle to be ascertained and reported to the Rural Dean.

[1] Eccles. Revs.: 300. [2] A/V/1/3: ‘Quarries and paved stones’. [3] A/V/l/3: ‘ l’h in Winter’ . [4] Eccles. Revs.: £1 ,100. [5] A/V/l/3 : ‘ the spowting to be carried all round ‘. [6] A/V/l /3: ‘The Church , in general , is in a very poor condition- by no means suited either to the size of the Pari sh or to the va lue of the living – a new one much wanted.’

This entry was posted in Churches, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Archdeacon blues

  1. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    thank you very much for taking the considerable time and effort to transcribe and publish these fascinating documents. The terminology is very interesting;-
    ..terrier..dissenters school…accommodation for the poor..and a barrel organ!..Queen Anne’s bounty.. all giving a “window” into another part of our local history!…then there’s the bells..Whitechapel or Loughborough?
    much appreciated

  2. Pedro says:

    I wonder if the Barrel Organ that was at Aldridge is still in existence? Contours up irreverent thoughts! A clip below of an organ at Wood Rising Church, Norfolk…

  3. What a great resource! Shame Lichfield is peculiar but we all knew that anyway….;)
    The ‘peculiar jurisdiction’ description rang a bell from my time working with the wills at the record office. Here’s a link which I hope explains it well, and also gives a list of the peculiars. So as you’ll see your missing ones are on the list – Wall & Bishops Wood come under the Dean of Lichfield, Longdon is under the Prebend of Longdon,

  4. david oakley says:

    I was interested in -“Cattle: None,- ” in some of the Archdeacon’s Reports. Grazing cattle were something of a nuisance in those times, and this was one of the reasons that yew trees in churchyards were so common apart from the religious significance. One mouthful of yew could actually kill a cow, so the herd was closely watched by the wiser farmer. A poem, something along the lines of “Gray’s Elegy” was written by Susanna Blamire in 1766.. Entitled “Written in a Churchyard, on seeing a number of cattle grazing in it”. Two verses were as follows:-
    Within this place of consecrated trust
    The neighbouring herds their daily pasture find,
    And idly bounding o’er each hallowed bust
    Form a sad prospect to the pensive mind

    While o’er the graves thus carelessly they tread
    Allured by hunger to the deed profane,
    They crop the verdure rising from the bed.
    Of some proud parent or some love-sick swain.

  5. Barry Carpenter says:

    Hi Bob
    I know someone that would be greatly interested in Lapley, a villageI know well.

  6. Pingback: A place of common resort, and a school for inferior education | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  7. Pingback: No accommodation for the poor… | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.