The History of Saint Peter’s Church, Stonnall

The Church was built in 1823 on land given by William Tennant, Lord of the manor of Shenstone. He also gave £100.00, quite a sizeable sum in those days. Sir Robert Peel, Bart, gave £80.00. Mr Mellor of Little Aston Hall acted as Clerk of the Works and very soon a sum of £600.00 was raised. Work was begun in 1822 but the new church was not consecrated until 23rd January, 1823. The consecration service was conducted by the Bishop of Chester, James, Lord Bishop of Lichfield being indisposed.

The church was probably built on the site of a Chapel of Ease, associated with Thomas Hall and mentioned in ‘A History of Shenstone’, by the Reverend Saunders, as existing before 1400.

The church was extended in 1843 by the addition of the chancel. The cost of building the chancel was defrayed by William Leigh of Little Aston Hall, assisted by grants from the London Society.

The alter screen was originally designed for the cathedral in Adelaide, Australia but was considered to be too small and was acquired by William Leigh to enhance the chapel.

Our church is very fortunate in having some beautiful stained glass windows. The lovely East Window depicts Moses addressing the Israelites, with the inscription, ‘So even must the Son of Man be lifted up; whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have eternal life’.

The South Chancel Window is a memorial to John Mellor of Little Aston, who died on the 31st August 1870 aged, 84 years. The North Chancel Window, equally beautiful, quotes text from Isaiah and is signed ‘W. W. London’.

The centre panels of the alter Screen were re gilded as a gift by Mr and Mrs Arblaster, in memory of their son, Kevin.

The side screen depicts in classical lettering, The ten Commandments, The Lord’s Prayer and The Creed.

Set into the floor of the sanctuary is a tablet in memory of the Reverend James Downes, instituted as perpetual curate of Stonnall in 1841. He died in his 90th year (?) and was Vicar of Stonnall for 52 years.

In the chancel there is a brass plate placed by William Henry Cooke Esq. MD JP. This commemorates the death of his son, George Henry Smith Cooke. Dr. Cooke was a benefactor of Stonnall Church. In 1895 he defrayed the cost of a new open timbered roof and the exterior buttresses, which were needed for the additional support. You will appreciate the beauty of these pine timbers. On the North Wall is a plaque in the memory of Clinton David Allen, one time organist of Stonnall. There is also a brass memorial in the floor of the chancel isle to Catherine Leigh of Little Aston, who died in 1835. Her son, James Henry Leigh is also interred here. He was baptised on 5th October 1835 and buried on the 7th June 1836. Some tragic storey here?

The stained glass window of the Nave are worth looking at. The one on the south side is of a type older than the church. Perhaps someone could suggest a date? The other memorial window in the wall near the Baptistery is very apt with two inscriptions, ‘In heaven angels do always behold the face of my Father’ and ‘We receive this child into the congregation of Christ’s flock’. The octagonal Font is very typical of the 18th century and the oak cover bears a memorial.

On the South Wall are the marble memorials to the fallen of the Great War, the 1939-45 War and the Falklands War.

The toilet / kitchen facility was added in December 1995.

(Courtesy of Saint Peter Church August 2010)