24-OCT-50 FORMER CHURCH OF ST BARTHOLOMEW
(Formerly listed as:
CHURCH OF ST BARTHOLOMEW)
Built 1667-68, with furnishings of late C17 and C18. Vestry added 1884 and porch and stair turret added by R. Bateman in 1893.
MATERIALS: Nave and chancel of whitened render, vestry of grey siltstone, porch and turret of brick, all under tile roofs on plastered eaves.
PLAN: Nave, lower and narrower chancel, south vestry, west porch and stair turret, west belfry.
EXTERIOR: The nave has 3 segmental-headed windows in north and south walls. The original round-headed south doorway is blocked and enclosed by a projecting narrow brick bay, carried above the eaves under a hipped roof. It has a round-headed gallery window above a large square sundial and a small C17 lion's-head bee-bole, restored in 1893, alluding to the biblical aphorism in Judges Ch.14, `out of the strong, something sweet'. The bellcote is timber-framed under a pyramid roof with weathervane. It has simple louvered sound holes. The east window of 1884 is 3-light with uncusped Y-tracery. The vestry has a boarded door under a shouldered lintel, and 2 pointed lights to a window on the left side. The porch is a lean-to against the west end, but its roof is concealed by a stepped coped wall, which has a blind bullseye above the door. The door, moved from the original south doorway, is studded and retains strap hinges. The turret is beside the porch but projects further forward and is apsidal under a dentil cornice and hipped roof. It has a single west stair light.
INTERIOR: The nave roof has 2 hammer-beam trusses on corbelled brackets, and a single tie beam truss, all plastered behind collar beams. A plastered round chancel arch is below a timber beam. The chancel has a single hammer-beam truss similar to the nave, and one tie-beam truss against the chancel arch. Walls are plastered, except for the porch and stairs which are white-painted brick. The nave and porch have C19 floor tiles, with some medieval tiles by the original south door and old grave slabs laid in the central aisle. The chancel floor is medieval tiles and graves slabs with date range 1738-1767.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The west gallery, carried on a timber beam, is dated 1667, and has a panel front. Two painted panels commemorate annuities left by Ann Brown (d 1767) and Serjeant Rode (d 1825). Pulpit and reading desk form a pair, presumably of 1667 and incorporate Jacobean panels. The C17 font has a broad round stem and narrow bowl. The panelled box pews and panelled dado are C18, as is the bowed communion rail with turned balusters. Hatchments are in the north and south walls. There are several wall monuments. In the chancel south wall is a Baroque wall monument to Ralph Brown (d 1707), with broken segmental pediment, achievement and flaming lamps. In the south wall is a simpler tablet to Francis Harries (d 1848) by A Boucneau of London. There are neo-classical tablets in the nave to Mary Hill (d 1793) by S. Paty of Bristol and William Colley (d 1775). In the nave south wall are war-memorial tablets for 1914-18 and 1939-45.
HISTORY: The present church was rebuilt in 1667-68 after destruction of the old church in the Civil War. The vestry was added in 1884 on the south side (the north side is the garden of Benthall Hall). Together they `make an enchanting manorial group' (Buildings of England). In 1893-94 the west porch and stair turret were added by R. Bateman. The sundial was restored in 1961. The church is no longer open for regular worship.
J. Newman and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Shropshire, 2006, p 141.
VCH Shropshire, x, pp 256-57.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The church of St Bartholomew, Benthall, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It is a rare and well-preserved church of the Restoration period.
* It retains a wealth of fittings of the C17 and C18, including gallery, pews and communion rail: the pews are a particularly notable survival.
* Other fixtures of interest include a good Baroque wall monument.
* It has group value with the Elizabethan Benthall Hall.
This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 30 October 2017.