was built in 1667, the year after the old church had been
burnt in the Civil War. It comprises a single cell Nave, with
Chancel, to which has been added in 1893 an apse at the west
end, constructed of brick. 1884 saw the chancel being "gothicised",
but fortunately this restoration work did not remove the
gallery at the west end of the church. Instead, the old
outside staircase was removed and the present simicircular
intetrnal staircase added.
There is a small timber-framed
belfry at the west end of the nave.
gallery may date from the building of the church, or possibly
later in the seventeenth century, and there is a Jacobean
pulpit with reader's desk (two-decker). Box pews, Rector's pew
and Squire's pew are probably 18th century.
to Ralph Brown, who died in 1707, has a good tablet with big
scrolls and open segmental pediment.
Interesting sundial on south wall, depicting an eye
constructed of glass tesserae.
following is taken from
(use this link to
read a description of Benthall Hall, in the grounds of which
the church stands, and which is now under the control of the
Bartholomew was the patron saint of bees and if you look at
the outside wall above a bench you will see a sundial and a
lions head underneath. At one time bees used to enter the
lionís mouth and go into a hive in the church. The honey was
then given or sold to help the poor of the community. The
bees have now moved to hives in other parts of the grounds.
almost across from the bench is a flat cast iron grave slab
lying in the ground, have a look at it, it is in fine
condition and a testimonial to a man called Eustace Beard.
Why would we be interested in this grave? Eustace was a
trowman (one who hauled the Severn Trows upstream, before
the use of horse power). Eustaceís life was a hard one, he
died at the age of 61 and never lived long enough to see the
great Ironbridge, but his grave has suffered little since
his death in 1761. The design has anchors and rope at the
corners of the grave, a similar grave can be found at All
Saintís Church Broseley, but is not in such fine condition."
following is taken from:
the footnotes refer back to that page in "British History".
medieval chapel was dedicated to ST. BRICE, bishop of Tours
(d. 444). (fn.
82) It was 'burnt down to the ground', probably in 1645,
and 'wholly demolished'; afterwards no warden was appointed
until the building of a new church was undertaken. (fn.
83) A new church of ST. BARTHOLOMEW, so known by c. 1740,
84) was built in or soon after 1667 (fn.
85) probably on the medieval chapel's foundations. (fn.
86) Consisting of chancel and nave with a west bell
87) it had a hammer-beam roof with carved decoration.
There are some medieval floor tiles which, with pews,
panelling, and furnishings that are mostly early 17th-century,
were perhaps salvaged from the old chapel. In 1673 the lord of
the manor owned several seats in the chancel, (fn.
88) and it was probably late in the 17th century that the
west gallery was added. The font may be of c. 1670 and the
bell is of 1671. The royal arms, painted on plaster, filled
the space over the chancel arch but were half whitewashed over
when a nave ceiling was inserted. (fn.
1884 a vestry was built between nave and chancel on the south
side, and the chancel was gothicized. (fn.
90) It was perhaps then that high square pews, said in
1878 to block the chancel, were removed. In 1893 a western
apse was added, with a porch replacing the old south door. At
the same time the external stairs to the gallery were removed,
the pulpit was moved from the south wall to the east end of
the nave, and the lion's head bee bole (fn.
91) over the old south door was renewed. The nave ceiling
was removed c. 1950. (fn.
92) In 1974 a painting of the Coronation of the Virgin was
hung in the church. (fn.
Set in the wall above what
used to be the South Porch of Benthall Church, this is an interesting
example of a vertical
sundial. The position of the base of the gnomon,
exactly on the noon hour-line confirms
that the nave of the church runs East-West and that this wall faces due
The sundial was made in
1893. In Benthall Parish Church, A History by Sir Paul Benthall, K.B.E.,
an unusual story is told:
"...a little turret was built and a sundial was
placed on the south front. The gnomon was set in a semicircular depression
lined with small coloured tiles to represent a human left eye. ( The
symbolism is obscure). Above the sundial is the text "Out of the strong
came forth sweetness", referring to Samson's riddle, and below is a lion's
head carved in stone from the mouth of which a pipe used to lead into a
beehive in the gallery.
Dr. Cranage, who at the turn of the century wrote
a comprehensive book describing all the churches in Shropshire, recorded
with amazement that this was done in the hope that wild bees would enter
the hive, and asked whether anyone could question the originality of
modern church renovators. However, in actual fact, the churchwardens, who
were keen beekeepers, put their own bees in the hive and sold the honey on
behalf of the poor of the parish. The bees remained for a number of years,
but then migrated into a neighbouring tree. "