‘Worcestershire Churches’ was the title of the talk given by Tim Bridges, a popular speaker who works for Hereford Diocese Church Building Office, responsible for 400 churches as well being connected with The Victorian Society. His talk was so informative, well researched and beautifully illustrated, about the different facets of the churches and how they changed over time.

Tim pointed out that sites of churches often go back before Christian times and were probably pagan or Roman in origin. Most of the early churches were built of the local sand stone, much of which has been affected by the weather. One of the first churches may have been St Augustines, Droitwich, as its name suggests a connection with St. Augustine who came over in 597AD. There is also a remnant of a 9th C. cross in Cropthorne. Another important site is the crypt of Worcestershire Cathedral which was built in late Anglo-Saxon style. All the slides illustrated the changes in architecture especially those churches connected with Abbeys, such as Pershore Abbey, re-built after the dissolution of the monasteries.

Another fascinating legacy we have, is of so many small village churches, especially those in the Teme Valley. Many local churches were built in the Norman period by wealthy local families who can often be seen remembered in stone memorials. Rock is a good example; Ribbesford has a beautiful Norman doorway, while Chaddesley Corbett has a marvellous example of a Norman font in Hereford Carving, and we must include the lectern at Crowle, for many churches were built with money from the wool trade. Tim also mentioned the only half-timbered church at Becksford, although there are wooden towers at Dormston and Kington.

Through the centuries much re-building took place, although some medieval glass can still be seen, left after the Reformation. Tim briefly mentioned other faith churches such as The Friends Meeting Houses as well as those Anglican Churches built in the nineteenth century in Gothic Revival Style, as well as those built in the new industrial towns like Redditch, with lastly, those like St Catherines at Blackwell, an excellent example of twentieth century architecture.

The society’s next meeting will be on September 13 at Webheath Village Hall, 7.30pm.