Staffordshire Ride & Stride in September

Visit unique historic buildings, see beautiful countryside, get some exercise,  have fun with the family and raise funds for our historic churches!
That’s the reasoning behind Ride+Stride, which is a sponsored bike ride (or walk) in which people all over England walk or cycle between churches, in between exploring and enjoying the countryside.
This year, 2018, the event takes place on Saturday September 8th

The money raised helps to save historic churches, chapels and meeting houses for future generations by helping to fund urgent repairs and occasionally the installation of modern facilities.

Supported by The National Churches Trust and in partnership with county based local Historic Churches Trusts, Ride+Stride opens the doors to some of England’s most rare and unusual churches, chapels and meeting houses.

Checkley Church

Checkley Church – one of the churches taking part

Most of the registered churches are open from 10am to 6pm and there will usually be someone there to welcome you and offer refreshments


In Staffordshire over one hundred places of worship are taking part, man of them open especially for the occasion.  So there is no shortage of fantastic churches, chapels and meeting houses to visit and support.
See: full list of churches taking part in Staffordshire Ride & Stride this year.

Staffordshire was one of the first counties to take up Ride+Stride – it began here in 1984.
Our county’s R&S collection is by far the largest contributor to the income of the Staffordshire Historic Churches Trust, which celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 2013.

Each year the SHCT presents a trophy to the cyclist who visits most churches on Ride+Stride day; the trophy is, of course, a Staffordshire china plate!

To register as a participant, for further information on what’s happening in your area, or to request a sponsorship form, send the Staffordshire Ride+Stride organiser an email or tel. 07948 481929

In 2018, the Staffordshire Historic Churches Trust gave nearly £10,000 in grants to historic churches in the county in need of repair.

Bear Grylls, the author, television presenter and Chief Scout commented: “Many historic churches, chapels and meeting houses are battling to survive. Roofs leak, ancient timbers rot and medieval stonework crumbles. Now you can help by joining the Ride+Stride adventure, a sponsored bike ride or walk discovering beautiful churches, which also raises money for their repair and preservation.”


Church tours as rewards

A crowd-funding campaign led by Lichfield Diocese is offering tours of historic churches across Staffordshire to anyone who pledges some money to it.

The ‘Places of Welcome’ campaign 2017 seeks to ensure that there are recognised places in every neighbourhood where people can freely connect, contribute and belong.

The church tours (and their dates) on offer to donors are listed here:
Stafford/St Mary, Saturday 5th August
Tamworth/St Editha, Saturday 5th August
Leek/St Edward, Saturday 5th August
Lichfield Cathedral Special, Saturday 12th August
Alrewas/All Saints, Saturday 12th August
Cheddleton/St Edward, Saturday 19th August
Kinver/St Peter Saturday 19th August

Lichfield Cathedral by Wenceslaus Hollar.

Lichfield Cathedral, by Wenceslaus Hollar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Dates on the Two Saints Way

A number of Staffordshire churches will feature in the launch of a new guide-book to the Two Saints Way pilgrimage route.

The route goes from Chester to Lichfield: the two saints of the title being St Chad, one of the first bishops of Lichfield/Mercia, and St Werburgh a saint born in Staffordshire.

Booklet tour

David Pott, who came up with the idea of the Two Saints Way six years ago, and who has written this new book about it, is doing the route in the first week of November, promoting the work as he walks.
He will start at the Cheshire end, and all are welcome to meet him as he goes along.

After passing from Chester and Nantwich in the first two days, he approaches the Staffordshire border on the Tuesday.
▪ Tuesday Nov 3 @ 4:00pm, Englesea Brook Chapel CW5 5QW
▪ Wednesday Nov 4 @ 3:30pm Potteries Museum ST1 3DW
▪ Thursday Nov 5 @ 7:30pm Christ Church Hall, Stone ST15 8ZB (free refreshments)
▪ Friday Nov 6  @ 3:00pm Mayor’s Parlour, Civic Centre, Riverside, Stafford ST16 3AQ
▪ Saturday Nov 7 @ 2:30pm Lichfield Cathedral WS13 7LD (followed by refreshments at St Chad’s Church WS13 7ND)

All events free (except the one in Nantwich) – but try to email by October 22 to confirm you are coming, so hosts can have an idea of numbers expected.

St Chad's Well, Lichfield

St Chad’s Well, at St Chad’s Church in Lichfield, the end of the pilgrimage route


The guidebook, which costs £12.99, is also available via the Northumbria Community online shop – or over the phone by calling the office on 01670 787645.

Butterton, St Bartholomew

Please use the indications on this page to start to supply information about this church; and then email us any extra information.

See:  example already compiled


Brief description of church:       A church almost completely rebuilt in 1873 with a wonderful spire added just a few years later (from the bottom of the tower to the top of the spire (including weathercock!) is 44 yards).  The church has a simple interior, but is wonderfully well looked-after.

Main points of interest about the church:       One is the tablet on the wall dated 1842, which remembers three men who died trying to rescue a ten year-old boy who had gone down an old mine-shaft
Address: ST13 7SY / Access & contacts? / Opening times:       ?
Official website:       ?
Relevant statutory websites:         ?         [e.g. English Heritage website etc (ones which knowledgeable church-crawlers will find the most useful) / OR ‘home’ websites, e.g. ‘Church Near You’ websites] –  St Bartholomew’s on British Listed Buildings
Other links:       ?        [e.g. Wikipedia entry if there is one]
Enthusiasts’ webpages relating to this church:         ?

Image galleries of this church:            ?     [e.g. enthusiasts’ Flickr sites or photo-blogs etc]
Others:              ?     [historian’s personal review / Pevsner link / etc    e.g.  a ‘Staffs Past Track’ entry if there is one]
Guide books & leaflets:       Guide to St Bartholomew’s written by Butterton History Group         [available in the church]

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Burton’s alabaster workshops in focus

Interesting to see that the members of the national Church Monuments Society are leaving their London base to travel to Staffordshire for the CMS 2015 autumn tour.

The excursion, on October 24th, will have its main focus on the products of the alabaster workshops of Burton-upon-Trent in the 16th /17th centuries; and will visit St. Peters in Wolverhampton, Patshull St Mary, Codsall St Nicholas, Brewood Ss Mary & Chad and Penkridge St Michael.

Patshull Church, back

Patshull Church, back

The chance to visit Patshull St Mary is a special one, as the church is in a remote location in a rarely-visited part of the Patshull estate. Although maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust, it is now redundant, suffering from neglect – and infrequently opened.

Robin Draper

The CMS has asked Robin Draper to lead the tour.  It’s a wise choice.
Robin, who is based in Walsall, is of course well-known to the SHCT as the man who organises most of their member tours, and he is certainly an expert on alabaster tombs.

Robin is quite busy at the moment.  He is doing a lecture on Burton on the 30th September about the ‘Tomb Makers of Burton Upon Trent’, and then is booked for the Newport History Society in January 2016.

Religious beliefs in Blore in the past

We welcome articles written by church enthusiasts and historians about Staffordshire churches – their art and architecture and history and access, and more.
If you want to submit an article similar to the one on this page, just email us.

Religious beliefs in Blore in the 16th and 17th centuries
by DW ©

It is often a matter of discussion whether religious beliefs, as expressed in the words of early wills, are the opinions of the person making the will or the beliefs of the priest or scribe associated with writing the will.

In the 16th century, two wills associated with Waterfall Church (in the Staffs Moorlands) were made during the resurgence of Catholicism in the reign of Queen Mary. They use traditional Catholic tripartite phraseology, ie “to allmyghty god and our lade saynte marie and to all the blessed company in hevon” and “allmyghtie god and to the blessit company in heyven”.

The John Garbyte mentioned in John Smyth’s will 1556 is probably the same as John Garlet, curate and clerk of Waterfall mentioned in Alys Allkoc’s will 1557. John Garbet was mentioned in the Will of William Bott 1549 as curate and priest of Rocester. He may have been one of the Catholic reformists who surfaced in Mary’s reign.

The six wills associated with Blore (near Dovedale in the Staffs Moorlands) are comparatively neutral and do not give any indication of any particular belief. Even the will of Henry Phylyp in 1556, in Mary’s reign, is neutral in its wording.
During the whole of this period, the Bassetts were Lords of the Manor of Blore. Even though they were covertly Catholic themselves, it was not politically correct, or in their interests, to show (unlike their kinsmen, the Fitzherberts of Norbury) specific religious alignment – and their chosen clerics would be foolish to follow anything other than the wishes of their lord.

The next door parish, Calton, had its own separate chapel, and it is doubtful if the parishioners would have normally attended a more distant parish church when there was a place of worship and a curate on the spot. However in order to provide for burial in the appropriate parish church, it would be necessary to consult with the parish priest. The wording of the wills of Calton would therefore appear more likely to portray the beliefs of the priest of the parish (Waterfall and Blore) especially concerning where the villagers were buried. This would account for the differences between the two wills made in Calton and the six wills made in Blore.

The last Calton will in the 16th century list of wills, thirty years after the rest, in fcat shows typical Protestant phraseology “almightie god my maker and redymer”.
Similarly in the seventeenth century, the phraseology tended to be of Protestant dedication, characterised by the testator’s hope of salvation through the merits and grace of Christ.
In Calton wills there is no evidence of the puritanism which occurred elsewhere during the Civil War.

1641 John Harrison “trusting through the merrits of Christ his passion to have remission of all sinnes”
1645 John Smyth  “trusting by the merits death and passion of Jesus Christ to have full remission of all my sinnes”
1665 Thos Leake  “knowing the uncertainty of this life on earth …. Beleeving that I shall receive full pardon and free remission of all my sins and be saved by the precious death of my blesed saviour and redeemer Christe Jesus”
1684 Robt Phillips nuncupative will (made orally in presence of reliable witnesses)
1681 John Blore “knowing that death is most certayne and the time thereof mot uncertayne I comend my soul into the hands of almightie god my creator and maker hopeing and trusting to be saved by the meritts and passion of Jesus Christ my saviour and redeemer”
1689 Nicholas Wood “knowing not the time of my death”
1698 Ralph Harrison “calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die”

DW has been researching North East Staffordshire and the villages of Swinscoe, Blore and Calton for over forty years.  He has written the book “Swinscoe, Blore and the Bassetts” as well as the guides to  Blore Church and Blore Hall.

Lecture about church monuments in Staffordshire

Talks from visiting lecturers are not always well advertised, but can be gems if one comes across them.  This description definitely applies (we’re sure!) to the 28th Earl Biennal Lecture, which is being given by Professor Richard Cust of Birmingham University on October 5th (2015) at Keele University.

Professor Cust’s lecture will discuss the commissioning of family monuments in Staffordshire churches from the 1540s to 1660, and what their form and character can tell us about the values of the local gentry.

This subject is well within Professor Cust’s field of expertise, as he knows well the politics and elite culture of the late Tudor and early Stuart periods, and is most recently the author of ‘Charles I and the Aristocracy, 1625-1642‘.

The Earl Lecture is given every two years by an eminent national historian in order to promote the history of Staffordshire.
It is free entry.

The lecture takes place at 7.30pm at the Westminster Lecture Theatre, in Keele University’s Chancellor’s Building.
For more details, contact the university’s Box Office: 01782 734340