A tour around the church.
This is but a very brief history of our church and you might like to learn a little of our ancient building, so before we go inside we will have a look at some of the features outside. The church is built on the highest point in the village, 200ft above sea level and would at one time been the centre of the community.
The porch is said to be Victorian in Tudor or late perpendicular style. The south wall has been extensively researched in recent years. Notice the Saxon/Norman window. On the buttress close to the door leading into the Chancel you can see a scratch dial, a primitive sundial c14 for telling the time for the priest to say mass. The holes at the edge and centre held a triangular gnomon (peg) which would cast a shadow around the dial. Below the dial is an arrow sharpening slot. Apparently archery practice took place, by law, in the churchyard after morning service up to the time of Elizabeth I. The churchyard was also used like a village green for fairs, feasts and processions as well as archery practice. There were no gravestones until the mid 17th century when these pastimes were finally abolished. In this area there are many memorials to members of the Lane family who were Lords of the Manor from 1786 – 1921.
Retrace your steps towards the tower, and on the great buttress by the porch is a possible mason’s mark consisting of six ‘petals’ in a circle. Going on round the corner is the west door and further round you will see the north door with a 15/16c ‘ogee’ canopy.
Retrace your steps now and enter the church. Just inside is the font (not the original which has not been traced). It carries the date 1664 and was a replacement after the restoration of Charles II. The initials W.U. and S.H. were churchwardens of the time.
The nave is the original Saxon/Norman church. The south wall with the Saxon/Norman window would have been plastered and richly painted before the reformation. For some time the small Norman window was filled in but was rediscovered in the 1870’s when restoration took place. The clerestory was added to the nave, the date of which is put at 1450. The north clerestory windows (bricked up) are still visible from the north aisle but from the nave they are now hidden by a remarkable example of hung canvas painted to resemble sandstone masonry. The roof of the nave was repaired many times but in 1927 it was completely renewed by a local builder. The initials of the vicar and churchwardens and the date are carved on the roof above the rood screen. The pulpit dated 1656 is the top part of a two tier pulpit which stood in the right hand corner by the rood screen and was removed to its present position in 1927. The rood screen is very much restored, but is late medieval with human heads and bunches of acorns and leaves. There would have been a rood loft here and the fact that the carvings are flat backed suggests it could have been mounted on the boards in front of the loft and would have been richly decorated.
The first ‘extension’ to the church was in the area now occupied by the chancel. The high altar is the original stone slab removed at the reformation and rediscovered during the 1870 restoration. The reredos is of marble and Staffordshire alabaster, by Jones & Willis, and presented to the church by John Henry Hervey Vincent Lane in 1911. The east window with the theme ‘The Light of the World’, designed by A.L.Ward, was also a gift from Mr. Lane in 1911 – look at the brass plaques on the east wall. On the north wall is a Missal bracket, very rare in Staffordshire churches, dated c 13/14. The piscina of the sanctuary itself is of the late c13 with a simple trefoil arch. The choir stalls are a gift of the Lane family and are suitably inscribed. The organ was originally in the north aisle and moved to its present position in 1927.The sealed vault of the Lane family lies below the organ. [The more recent memorials of the Lane family, who were the last Lords of the Manor, are in the north east corner of the churchyard]. There are several monuments and windows worthy of note here, one being the window designed by William Morris on the south west wall and an armorial window on the south east.
We move on now to the north arcade dated c14 which opened up the wall into the north aisle. There has been much alteration in this area over the years. The box pews were here, also the old organ and the present organ which is now in the chancel. The central north window, known as the Eginton window, shows fragments of mixed glass mostly by Francis Eginton who worked from 1780/1790. A very interesting window.
The right hand window in the north wall and the small window to the east of it, above the organ, were replaced by the present ones in December 1999, being subscribed to by parishioners to celebrate the Millennium. They are made from fragments from other windows which had been removed in previous centuries. The children’s altar is where the organ was sited.
Mounted on the wall by the south west window is the Charities Board. We believe that this was mounted on the south wall and during the restoration in the 1870s it was removed and put in the belfry which was at that time at ground level. The belfry was put back to its original position in 1985, which was its position in 1860. Consequently, the Charities Board had to be moved as space did not allow it to remain there. Up until 1850 there was a children’s gallery joined on to the old high floor of the belfry and it protruded over the west end of the nave. Possible location for the support structure can be seen on the wall.
The tower was added in the c15 in the perpendicular style. It is a particularly fine tower and was restored in 1890 at a cost of £500. There have been restorations since that date, the last one being in 1977.
The clock, originally with one dial, now has three dials and was made by John Smith of Derby who has serviced it ever since. It was converted to electricity in the 1990s and so we do not now need a clock winder! In John Smith’s estimate of 1898 they offered to ‘form a first class clock which would keep accurate time and which we guarantee to maintain perfect accurate time with less variations than 15seconds per month’. This guarantee still stands.
The bells: The tower houses six bells and they are regularly rung. The earliest documentary we have is that there were 4 bells in 1553, and between that date and 1705 a fifth bell was added. In 1937 the six bells were recast and rehung by John Taylor of Loughborough and the following are the inscriptions :-
Treble 27″. ‘Arthur Lane gave me. Gloria in excelsis.
August 28 1892′
2nd bell 30″ ‘Praise ye the Lord’
3rd bell 32″ ‘Joseph Smith in Edgbaston made me’
4th bell 33″ ‘To the Church I call both great and small’.
5th bell 38″ ‘Michael Lycett, Richard Marshall,
Tenor Bell ‘John Newton Esq., chief cause of making
Patronage of King’s Bromley All Saints Church.
King’s Bromley was a peculiar, the meaning of which is:-
‘A parish or church exempt from the jurisdiction of the Archdeacon or bishop in whose diocese it lay’.
It is recorded that in 1563 a chapel appropriate to the prebend of Alrewas and subject to his peculiar jurisdiction. Down to 1836 the appointment of the Vicar of King’s Bromley was in the hands of the Prebend of Alrewas, and for many years the Vicar of King’s Bromley was Sacrist of the Cathedral.
To the patron of a parish belongs the important privilege of appointing the Vicar or Rector.
There is so much more history concerning our church, but we hope you have enjoyed looking round our lovely old building and what it means to us today.
June 1998, revised November 2000. e. & o.e.