Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The black church

St Bartholomew, Wednesbury is also known as 'the black church' for a reason which leaps to the eye: the sandstone exterior has become very dark. It is in a rather special location, a hilltop which probably held a temple to Woden. The town itself takes its name from this pagan god, while the church's prominent site makes it a Black Country landmark.

It may have supplanted an earlier religion, but the church has been here a very long time. The current building and some of the interior furnishings are mainly mediaeval. What makes the interior absolutely stunning, though, is the Victorian and Edwardian redecoration. It includes stencilled patterns, wall and altar painting by Bateman and Godfrey Gray and stained glass by Charles Eamer Kempe.

Further reading: Tim Bridges, Churches of the Black Country, Logaston Press 2008.


Proud Maisie said...

This is beautiful. I'd love to see it in the flesh.

CarolineLD said...

It really is worth a visit; fairly nearby and on a similar theme, Wightwick Manor is lovely too. It's also late Victorian, and full of William Morris, de Morgan, and pre-Raphaelite paintings.