Observations of Holy Trinity: 1884

This article originally appeared in Belbroughton Parish Magazine in August 2013.

“From the Archives” for July included a contemporary description of the state of our parish church in the 1880’s. The following is a further extract from the same source, “Rambles and Researches among Worcestershire Churches” by George K Stanton:
                     
In the tower is a “maiden” peal of six bells, but owing to the fact that repairs in connection with the same are sadly needed, and that the graceful-looking spire also needs repairing, it is now considered dangerous for the bells to be rung.  It is really lamentable that such sweet-toned bells (in the key of F sharp), which by some are considered the richest-toned bells in Worcestershire, cannot be rung as formerly.

I was pleased to find a good congregation on the morning of my visit, and few, very few, entered the church after service commenced.  The rector, unaided, conducted the whole of the service.  The prayers were intoned, and the surplice choir, aided by the congregation, joined exceedingly well in the responses.  The psalms for the day ere chanted without organ or instrumental music of any kind.  In fact there is no organ – if there were, there is neither apse, chamber, or chapel where it could be place.  The singing of the hymns was hearty and exhilarating – melodious and in unison, a proof that congregational psalmody can be well kept up without the aid of instrumental music.

The author included several epitaphs found on graves in the churchyard, including this quirky memorial to a former landlord of the Bell Inn:

In memory of Richard Phillpotts sen., of the Bell Inn, in this parish, who departed this life January 2nd, aged 69 years.

To tell a merry or a wond’rous tale

Over a cheerful glass of nappy ales]In harmless mirth was his supreme delight,

To please his guests or friends by day or night.

But no fine tale, how well soever told

Could make the tyrant Death, his stroke with-hold;

That fatal stroke has laid him here in dust To rise again once more with joy we trust.