Edgbaston Old Church

There has been a church on the site of St. Bartholomew’s (Edgbaston Old Church) since the middle ages. In many ways, with its ancient lychgate, ancient yewtrees and manorial funereal memorials located in the side chapels it is a quintessential Anglican parish church. St. Bartholomew’s is not, however; located in the sleepy shires, rather it can be found in Edgbaston, a wealthy inner suburb of Birmingham, a stone throw away from the University campus.

Looks can sometimes be deceptive. Whilst the core of the church does date back to the middle ages, when it was constructed a private chapel for Henry de Edgbaston (the local lord of the manor), much of the church that stands today was constructed in the 1880s, when in common with many other Anglican churches, the church was restored, extended and remodeled.

The restoration of St. Bartholomew’s was conducted by J.A. Chatwin a local architect, who is buried in the churchyard. Chatwin was a prolific designer and restorer of churches, and his work can be seen in many of the suburbs surrounding Birmingham. In keeping with the then highly fashionable gothic style, Chatwin’s work on the building sought to enhance the “medieval” aspects of the structure. Chatwin’s Victorian patrons took great comfort from the idea that they were worshiping in a building that bore a strong resemblance and connection to the buildings that their medieval predecessors gathered to celebrate their faith in.

Whilst the Victorian’s fantastic conception of medieval piety might seem odd or overly simplistic to us today, it continues to form the basis for popular conceptions of what a Church of England Church should look like. This makes St. Bartholomew’s, standing at the heart of the Edgbaston community, with its rich decoration and sumptuous stained glass windows, a brilliant archetype of what a traditional Anglican church is like.

Exterior Images of the Church

Interior Images of the Church

Stained Glass Windows in the Church

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