St Bartholomew,
originally  St Brice.

The Church

The church 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.

The west 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.

Monument 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.

The 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 National Trust).

"St. 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.

"Also 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."

The following is taken from: the footnotes refer back to that page in "British History".

The 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, (fn. 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 turret, (fn. 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. 89)

In 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. 93)

The Sundial

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 South.

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. "


Bus Bus services
Arriva services 9, 39, 99 Telford/Wellington-Bridgnorth, alight Broseley, 1ml (pass close British Rail Telford Central)

 Cycles Cycling
View local cycle routes on the National Cycle Network website

 Bus By road
1ml NW of Broseley (B4375), 4ml NE of Much Wenlock, 1ml SW of Ironbridge

Map reference  :  

Pictures by Edwin Macadam

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This site has been constructed by, and remains the copyright of, its authors,
Edwin and Sheila Macadam,

Shelwin, 30, Eynsham Road, Botley,
Oxford OX2 9BP
© July 2001 -