No accommodation for the poor…

As promised, for reader Alison Ball, here’s the entry for Bloxwich Church – All Saints – in the book ‘Visitations of the Archdeaconry of Stafford 1829-1841′ published by the Historical Manuscripts Commission and Her Majesty’s Stationary Office (HMSO). This copy was published in 1980, and bears the ISBN of 0 11 440066 0. The work is edited by David Robinson MA, Ph D.

This book, as readers will recall, is a record of Archdeacon George Hodson’s visits to the churches in Staffordshire between 1829 and 1841. The cleric visited most of the churches in the Archdeaconry, and surveyed them for condition, contents, practice and management, and drew to attention any issues that needed attention.

I’ve previously featured Aldridge and Rushall churches at reader request, as well as Walsall Wood and Stonnall. Last weekend, I posted up the entry for St. Matthews in Walsall.

I’m interested in the entry regarding patronage. Can anyone expand upon that?

Of course, for all things Bloxidge, you need a blog by a Bloxidge mon. Check out Stuart Williams excellent Blowich Telegraph, for all your northwest of Walsall needs…


All Saints, Bloxwich, as photographed by Stuart Williams, editor, creator and curator of the Blowich Telegraph.

BLOXWICH 17.5.1830 (A/V/ l/2,no.28;/3,no.3)

BENEFICE: Bloxwich. Nature: Originally Chapel of Ease to Walsall – now a Perpetual Curacy. Ecton: £7 clear  value.  Patron: Inhabitants of Great Bloxwich have hitherto been supposed  to have the appointment – the Vicar of Walsall disputes the right – The present  Minister was appointed by the Btshop, the Benefice having lapsed. Impropriator: Col. Walhouse and others.

CHURCH: Plain Modern [brick] building, erected 39 years ago. Number it will contain: About 1,000 [-200 added  since, in 1833. (1837).) Accommodation for Poor: None, except for the school children  and singers and some sittings for the Workhouse poor. Roof: Timber covered with slate – not in very good state. Walls: Brick ­ plaistered inside – upright. Floor: Quarries­ – even.  Windows: Pretty good – casements provided. Doors: Good. Pulpit and Desk: Good. Books: Good. Seats: Neat and uniform. Galleries: On three sides. Organ: None. Font: There is. Chapels: None. Benefaction Tables: Not complete. Vestry: A commodious one. Surplices: Two – good. Linen: Provided. Plate: Provided. Iron Chest for Register: There  is one in the Vestry Closet. Register: Two Vols prior to 1813 – oldest date 1733- previously to which period  it is probable that the Registers were kept at Walsall.  Porch: None. Vaults: –. Cleanliness: Pretty well attended to. Damp: None, except  in the ceiling. Dimensions:65ft. by 40ft.

CHANCEL: Table: Oak -good. Ornaments: Red Crimson covering- altar services. Repaired by whom: The township.

STEEPLE: Square brick Tower. State of: Good.  Bells: One – good. Clock: In good repair.

CHURCHYARD: Fence: Maintained by the Parish – in good state. Gates: Iron – good. Drains: Sufficiently  provided-spouting wanted on the N. stde. Graves: Not too near the Walls. Rubbish: Weeds etc [- grass not properly kept.) Footpaths: None. Cattle: None.

DIVINE SERVICE: On Sundays: Two full Services on Sundays. On other Days: None. Sacrament: Monthly. Communicants: 15 to 20. Catechism: Not in the Church.

INCUMBENT: Name and Residence: Revd John Baghe – in the Parsonage house. What Duty he performs: The whole.

PARSONAGE: Brick (small)  building – 3 sitting rooms – 3 bedrooms, kitchen etc. State of: Substantially good. Outbuildings: Stable etc. Gross Value: About £130. Tithes: None. Glebe: Six acres – let for £18. Surplice Fees: £5. Easter Dues and small Payments: Share of an estate at Cannock and £20 per annum from Merchant Taylors School, of which half goes to the National School. Queen Anne’s Bounty: £90 per annum. Terrier: None in the Ministers possession – (at Lichfield there is one as old as 1693 – September 6. GH).

SCHOOLS: Endowed School: None. Subscription Day School: National School.  Sunday School: 100 children.

DISSENTERS: Dissenting Chapels: Methodist and Roman Catholic.

POPULATION: About 3000, belonging to the Townships.

MISCELLANEOUS: Parochial Library: None­ assistance in books much wanted.[1]

PARISH  CLERK: Thomas Marshall.  Appointed by: The  Minister. Salary: Not specified.

CHURCHWARDENS: Mr John James – Edward  E Stanley – appointed by Vicar and Parishioners of Walsall.

ORDERS MADE: The roof to be examined and repaired. Benefaction Tables set up. Spouting along  the North side of the Chapel. Herbage cleared away [from  the Chapel  yard). Additional accommodation for the School children in the Gallery strongly recommended.

Revisited 12.10.1837

Spouts to be cleared out.  Roof of tower repaired. Roof of Church  ditto.

Revisited 20.10.1841

All in excellent order. (I) Outer doors to be painted. (2) Roof looked over and repaired where needful; especially  at the West end and over the North Gallery.

[l] A/ V/1/3: ‘None – books for use of poor much wanted.’

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4 Responses to No accommodation for the poor…

  1. david oakley says:

    The visit of the Archdeacon to Bloxwich church raises several points of conjecture, of which there are quite a number of clues within the report. Quite clearly, there is a dispute between the Vicar of Walsall and Bloxwich parishioners as to who owns the right to appoint an incumbent to the Living.
    The original idea was for a Chapel of Ease, which would be under the remit of the Vicar of Walsall, Such chapels were often modest little places, which enabled worshippers to worship locally. The Bloxwich church has the style and dimensions of a full-blown parish church, and I have the idea that the Bloxwich population may have outflanked the Vicar of Walsall by purchasing the ground and building the church, putting themselves in the position of patron, although the Report states
    ‘have hitherto been supposed to have the appointment’, This could mean that it had not been registered with the ecclesiastical authorities, hence, ‘The Vicar of Walsall opposes the right’.
    Patrons were very often a rich landowner who gave the land and often built the church, giving them the right to appoint their own choice of clergyman, to the living. although church patronage goes back a long, long way and was often sold by monks in the larger monasteries, who controlled many village churches. to anyone who could pay the price. One of the financial benefits was the patron could claim a portion of the tithes. This stand-off between the Vicar and the Bloxwich population
    meant that the Benefice had lapsed and no vicar could be appointed. The Bishop had not the power to appoint a vicar and endow him with the full rights and responsibilities so he appointed a
    ‘perpetual curacy’ which is a qualified priest, with lesser powers than a vicar, although ‘perpetual’ means that he could not be dismissed by the bishop, once selected, but only by the church council or a similar body. The Report cleverly dodges the status of the incumbent by referring to him as
    ‘The Minister’, a term perhaps more familiar to Methodist congregations.
    A very interesting report, but like a swan, swimming, quite placid on the surface, but so much
    going on, beneath the water.

  2. Pedro says:

    White’s Directory 1834 says…

    In the Domesday Book, Blockeswich is described as being held by the King, and having a wood three furlongs in length, and one in breadth. The Church, or chapel of ease, was rebuilt in 1791, and enlarged in 1833, so that it now has 1400 sittings, of which 200 are free. It has a small endowment , and has been with the charities of the township of page 426 (the foreign of Walsall); and in 1811 it received an allotment of Queen Anne’s bounty. The curacy was always considered to be in the patronage of the inhabitants; but at the last vacancy, the advowson was disputed by the vicar and the Merchant Taylor’s Company of London, and as the three parties could not adjust their claims, the Bishop nominated the present incumbent, the Rev. John Baylie.

  3. blixblox says:

    Thank you very much for the Bloxwich section of the ‘Visitations of the Archdeaconry of Stafford 1829-1841′
    There has always been much debate and rivalry between Walsall and Bloxwich (the foreign) so the information in the report is of no surprise to us Bloxwich folk.

    As David Oakley so appropriately put it ” A very interesting report, but like a swan, swimming, quite placid on the surface, but so much going on, beneath the water”.

    Regards from a Blixblox Girl (Alison)

    • Hi

      Sorry I missed your request. Christmas was a bit busy, email-wise.

      As an indication to anyone interested, I get about 40-50 emails a day just for the blog.

      Sometimes stuff gets missed. If you ever feel neglected, mail me again. Please.



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