Worcestershire Places of Worship

St John the Baptist, Strensham (1) (38k) St John the Baptist, Strensham (2) (27k) St John the Baptist, Strensham (3) (25k) St John the Baptist, Strensham (4) (28k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Rosemary Lockie
St John the Baptist, Strensham
St John the Baptist,
Strensham, Worcestershire.

Cemeteries

This Church had a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded in the 14th century, though it is now closed, but we don't yet know when.

The following information about the Church has been provided to accompany the photographs on the right. A list of people who have supplied the information is included in the Acknowledgements, below.

[Image 1] Now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, St John the Baptist's Church stands in proud isolation, on a ridge looking eastwards over the River Avon, where in earlier times, it was part of the settlement surrounding the former Strensham Castle, 500 yards to the west.

Archaeological excavations reveal the land between the Castle and Church was filled with buildings until the end of the 14th century, when the settlement was abandoned. However the Castle itself was not destroyed until the Civil War.

The earliest parts of the church date from the 14th century. It is built in grey lias rubble stone, with an exterior lime rendering, a large proportion of which has been replaced in a recent programme of restoration.

The RUSSELL family were Lords of the Manor of Strensham from the late 13th century until the death of the last “incumbent” to inherit by direct descent, in 1804. The church has many fine monuments to their memory.

The modern village of Strensham lies on lower ground, some distance away.[1]

[Image 2] The hatchments are of the Taylor family - on the left, Taylor of Strensham - Argent sprinkled with drops sable and a chief indented sable with a pale argent therein and three scallops counter coloured - and on the right, the Taylor motto “Fidelisque ad Mortem”. In the center is a Royal Coat of Arms - “Dieu et Mon Droit”, but it is hidden on this photograph by the head of an angel attached to the cross-beam.

The Taylor family became Lords of the Manor in 1817, when it was bought by a Mr John Taylor, eldest son of Mr. John Taylor, a Birmingham button manufacturer.[1]

[Image 3] This west gallery is one of the most spectacular “treasures” of this delightful church. The gallery incorporates the remains of a 15th century rood screen, which would originally have separated the nave and chancel. The panel in the centre of the screen contains a representation of Christ. He is flanked on each side by 11 figures of “sundry prelates and saints”, a full list of which are available on a framed reproduction inside the church. Each figure is accomanied by their personal emblem - for example, an archbishop, with pallium and cross; St Blaise (patron saint of woolcombers) with wool, comb and staff; St Edmund (the 9th century Saxon king and martyr) with arrow; St Thomas with carpenter's square; St Peter with keys; St Bartholomew (patron saint of tanners) with flaying knife; St Erasmus (patron saint of sailors) with spit or windlass; St Stephen with stones; and St Anthony with pig.

The guide book emphasises the emblems would have been familiar to medieval congregations in identifying the saints, and perhaps that is no less true for us today.[1]

[Image 4] The Chancel contains many fine monuments to the RUSSELL family.[1]

Denomination

Now or formerly Church of England.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.

Maps

This Church was located in the town/village nearest OS grid reference SO910400. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Resources

I have found many websites of use whilst compiling the information for this database. Here are some which deserve mention as being of special interest for Strensham, and perhaps to Local History and Places of Worship as a whole.

The above links were selected and reviewed at the time I prepared the information, but please be aware their content may vary, or disappear entirely. These factors are outside my control.

Acknowledgements

A special thanks to the following people who have contributed information for this web page:

1. Information provided by Rosemary Lockie.

Information last updated on 3 Feb 2011 at 00:00.

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This Report was created 13 Jun 2020 - 08:51:27 BST from information held in the Worcestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 7 Feb 2019 at 12:48.

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