The History of St Chad’s Church…
Friend, this church stands open now for thee,
That thou mayest enter, rest, think, kneel and pray,
Remember where thou art, and what must be
Thine end. Remember as Thou go thy way.
The dedication of the Pattingham Parish Church to Chad, a seventh century Celtic bishop, suggests that there has been a church on this site since Saxon times. It is interesting to look around and discover what can be seen of that long history in the architecture and artefàcts in the building.
Although part of the foundation of the chancel is believed to be Saxon nothing can be seen of that original building. However, the shaft of the churchyard cross may date from that time.
The Domesday Book states that Pattingham had its own priest. It is practically certain that a wholly Norman church was built, of which only the two round arches on the north side of the nave remain. The octagonal font dates, in part, from that time.
Much of the building work dates from the early thirteenth century. The chancel dates from 1220-1240.
Note the sedilia. seats for the priest, and piscinae, the basins for washing hands and vessels during Mass. There is also an aumbry or cupboard for the church vessels.
The nave has been largely rebuilt but still retains the characteristics of the Early English period. There is a well moulded hood ending in heads, particularly a fine head of Our Lord.
The tower, dating from 1330 – 1380, is peculiar in that it is wholly within the church. The south wall also dates from the decorated period, about 1350. On the outside are two Mass clocks, or scratch dials, used to tell people the time of services.
The stone book-rest near the font, used for public readings of the Bible probably dates from this time.
The boards showing the Lords prayer, the Creed and the Ten commandments which now hang under the tower would have started life where they could be easily seen by everyone, who could, in this way, be taught the rudiments of reading.
There is a Bible box, of unknown date but probably fifteenth century and two oak chests with the customary three keyholes-one each for the vicar and church wardens.
The paten has on it the word PATYNGHAM and it is recorded that the church at this time took possession of a silver chalice. The bells were recast in 1601.
There are no records of Pattingham suffering depredation during the Commonwealth; indeed the same incumbent remained in situ from 1647 to 1676. The present chalice was donated in 1664.
After the Great Fire of Pattingham in 1665, which devastated almost all of the village except the church, the king himself donated money to the rebuilding fund. The loyalty to the Stuart dynasty is demonstrated by the arms of Queen Anne on the west wall of the nave. An interesting benefaction board is dated 1710.
The most comprehensive rebuilding and reflirbishment of the building was carried out in the nineteenth century thanks to two remarkable men: Reverend W G Greenstreet who was vicar from 1844-1900 and the patron, the 5th Earl of Dartmouth. Work on the church began in 1856.
The chancel, the nave and the south aisle were restored. The north aisle and the vestry were built, paid for by the vicar. The Earl donated the spire, built in 1871. The bells were re-hung in 1864 and two smaller bells added bringing the full peal to 8 bells weighing 57 cwt. More details about the bells, including their weights and inscriptions, can be found on the ringers’ website.
The organ was first used at the Festival of St Bartholomew in 1873.
The reredos of alabaster with glass mosaic behind the altar was erected in 1890.
Most of the stained glass is Victorian. Starting with the Adam and Eve window on the west wall of the north aisle, the glass in that aisle shows the heroes and heroines of the Old Testament.. The windows in the chance! tell the story of the life of Jesus. The Lady chapel shows the disciples and other leaders of the early church.. The south wall windows relate the parables and sayings of Jesus while that in the west wall by the font is dedicated to the Holy Family. The tower window in the west wall showing the resurrection was installed in 1893 the gift of 181 subscribers, in memory of William Walter, the 5th Earl of Dartmouth.To commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond Jubilee the bells were re-hung and the clock and chimes restored.
The Lady Chapel was furnished in 1918 in memory of Brigadier General T A Wight Boycott DSO. The crucifix in the churchyard facing the shops was erected in memory of two grandsons of Rev.W G Greenstreet, killed in the 1914-18 war.
The oak triptych in the north aisle, in memory of those who died in the Great War, was erected in 1920.
In 1933 the first electric blower for the organ was installed. The present pulpit was built in 1956.
A glass chalice made and engraved in a West Midlands glass factory was given in 1972 by members of the congregation to mark the 13O0th anniversary of the death of St Chad.
Villagers have continued to contribute generously to the upkeep of the building with substantial donations for major repairs to the flying buttresses (1960s) , the tower and bells (1980s) and the spire (1990s). The sundial in the churchyard was restored in 1977. The baptistry was furnished in 1981 in memory of Dennis Selby, a lay reader of this parish. The area inside the South Door was panelled in memory of Colonel Eric Butler in 1985.
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY
The church continues to respond to the changing needs of the parish. An ambitious project, very successfully funded by generous donations and fund raising events, provided much needed toilet and kitchen facilities together with a new upper meeting room, the Loft. We pray that, with God’s grace, this ancient church will continue to serve the community of Pattingham with Patshull during the third millennium.
The Church of St. Chad – POINTS OF INTEREST
Beyond the site and part foundation of the Chancel, nothing remains of the Saxon Church.
It is practically certain that there was a wholly Norman Church, but only the arcade of two bays, on the North side of the Nave, remain of the Norman period, 1066-1100. A priest is mentioned in Doomsday Book, 1086.
Early English, 1200-1240, may have succeeded the Saxon one. Note the sedilia, piscina and aumbry in the Chancel. The Reredos of alabaster was erected by the fifth Earl of Dartmouth. It is canopied and encloses a representation of Our Lord, in Majesty, executed in glass mosaic.
The arcade on the south side has been rebuilt, but retains its former characteristics of the Early English period. There is a well moulded hood ending in heads. Note the finely carved head of Our Lord.
The South Wall, about 1350, is of the decorated period. Note the survival of the two `Mass Clocks’ or scratch dials on the outside of the wall.
The Tower is of the decorated period 1330-1380, peculiar by being wholly in the Church. The Spire was added in 1871.
The North Aisle and Vestry, built 1865. Note the Benefaction Board in the Vestry dated 1710, which is the oldest record now on the walls of the Church.
The Lady Chapel was furnished in 1918 in memory of Brig-General T. A. Wight Boycott, D.S.O.; against the East wall is hung his sword with a brass tablet contributed by his fellow officers. In 1939 the chapel was restored by W. R. Wilson, Esq., of Rudge Hall.
The Font, with octagonal basin, is part Norman work.
Stone Book-rest, near Font, used for the public reading of the Bible. The Choir Vestry in the west of the North Aisle was erected in 1954 from funds belonging to the Robert Howells Bequest. The oak panelling was designed by K. Vesmans, Guild Dipl. M.A. (Latvia) and the work carried out by C. Humphries, Contractor.
The Organ, 1873, by J. W. Walker & Sons. The electric blower was installed in 1938 as the gift of G. H. Turner, Esq. In 1959 the Organ was modernised with electric action, and in 1961 as a further gift of Mr. Turner the Great Organ was extensively overhauled and the electric blower improved.
The Pulpit was rebuilt and mounted on a base to correspond with the stonework of the Church in 1956, from funds remaining in the Robert Howells Bequest.
The Oak Chests in south aisle (and one in north aisle) with customary three keyholes for Vicar and Churchwardens.
The Bells, eight in number. weight approximately 57 cwt. In 1957 the bells were rehung, with new headstocks, and turned to present an unworn surface to the blows of the clappers, by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, an old established firm of four centuries experience. The two smallest bells were cast at their Foundry by George Mears in 1864.
The Carillon was restored to working order in 1955 as an anonymous gift of a member of the congregation. Made largely of wood the Carillon is like a large musical box, with steel pegs set in a wooden drum. As a weight drives the drum at a speed controlled by a set of wheels and an air brake, the pegs lift levers connected to hammers and so play the tune on the bells. It was restored again in 1993 when an electric motor replaced the weight drive.
The Oak Triptych, in North aisle, erected 1920, in memory of men who fell in the Great War.
Bible Box, date unknown, now used for Altar Linen.
The Chalice bears the inscription : RiCHARDUS WHITTINGTON GENEROFUS, ET ANNA COPLEY, MAXIME PY, ANGERE HOC POCULUM DUAS LIBRAS DEDERE 1664.’
The Paten has on it the word `PATYNGHAM’.
The Manor Court Rolls of great interest, dating from 1312 to 1711, are now in the custody of the Salt Library, Stafford. The Churchwarden’s Accounts are also preserved in the Church safe together with the Inclosure Award.
The Registers date back to 1559.
(As vou leave the Church, attention is drawn to the sketches near Font, dated 1796, showing the Tower without the Spire, also the Village Stocks and Mounting Block).
The Churchyard-cross on an ancient octagonal shaft, a monolith (crudely mended by insertions) standing 6 ft. (with cap and cross 8 ft.) high on three steps.
The Sundial, also on steps, has a plate (a renewal) dated 1818.
The Church is now without any ancient monuments, but mention is made of some of them in books of history.
The Litany Desk was given by Miss S. A. Holles.
The three North windows of the Chancel, 1876, given by and in memory of the Simmons’ family.
On the South wall of the Chancel are windows in memory of Elizabeth Jane Greenstreet and Elizabeth 1liller.
In the South wall of the Chancel is a brass tablet to the Rev. W. j. Greenstreet.
By the Organ is a brass to Mary Catherine Hawley, Organist for thirty years.
The Screen to the Lady Chapel was the gift of William Simmons, 1881.
The beautiful East window (the twelve Apostles) and the window in the South wall are in memory of the Wight Boycott family; there are also other memorials to the same family, including a finely carved alabaster tablet.
Two Windows in the South aisle presented by ‘Martha Simmons, 1876-7
An alabaster tablet commemorating the Faulkner family, 1875-1921.
The Tower window in the West, of very rich colouring, 1893, the gift of 181 subscribers in memory of William Walter, 5th Earl of Dartmouth.
In the North aisle are windows in memory of William Tomkins, 1890, John Tomkins and his wife, 1869, Anne Cooper, 1923, and Rev.W. G. Greenstreet, four years Curate and fifty-three years Vicar of this Parish (this window is by Kemp).
An alabaster memorial to Robert Howel]s. 1863, and family.
The Vestry window is to Jane Owen, and the two Vestry East windows are in memory of Andrew J. Chesterfield.
Lectern and Pulpit Light in memory of Rev. E. A. Austin-Smith.
To commemorate the reign of Queen Victoria the bells were re-hung by ‘Thomas and Margaret B. Jones of the Elms. (Mr. Jones was sometime Gardener to Queen Victoria). At the same time, 1897, the Church Clock and chimes were restored by James Tomkins of Westbeech.
The chimes were again restored in 1935, in memory of William Poynton, who was Ringer for fifty years, Sexton twenty-two years and Chorister sixty-five years.
The Oak Chair in the Sanctuary is in memory of Harold Lumley Warner, who until 1960, had for many years been a member of the Church Council, a Sidesman, and for over thirty years a bell-ringer.
The East Window. This beautiful window depicting eight scenes from the life of Christ was given in 1955 by George and Harry Sellick Dyke in memory of Mary Ethel, the wife of Harry Sellick Dyke of Upper Westbeech, and also in memory of their parents John and Laura Reynolds Dyke of Willenhall.
Photography by Mike Coope