A new way to tour churches16 Jun 2015 By Sam Setchell
A new cycling tour around churches in Worcestershire has been launched by the Bishop of Worcester.
The circular tour starts and ends at Worcester Cathedral and then features up to 11 parish churches, with two different routes – either 25 or 42 miles. This tour is one of a country-wide series linking England’s Cathedrals with some of the remarkable churches surrounding them.
Bishop John is a keen cyclist and launched the new tour by completing some of the route. He said: “Our parish churches are at the heart of their communities and hold the stories of those communities for hundreds of years. They are a precious part of our heritage and it is always a treat to explore them to learn more about our social history. They are also wonderful oases of calm in an increasingly frantic world. What better way to visit them than by bike?”
Along with Worcester Cathedral, the other churches featured on the Towers and Spires tour of Worcestershire are:
- St. John the Baptist, Claines - A medieval sandstone church which was restored and enlarged in the early 1800s.
- St Michael, Salwarpe – A church of late Norman origins with a host of intriguing items and remnants of previous liturgical uses.
- St Andrew, Droitwich – Including its chapel dedicated in 1491 to St Richard de Wych, also known as St Richard of Chichester. St Richard was born in Droitwich in about 1197.
- St Augustine, Droitwich - A church which lost its nave in the Civil War when in 1646 royalist troops attempted to remove roundhead soldiers by setting fire to the building.
- St James, Huddington – A medieval church, rebuilt and restored in 1900 although traces of its early beginnings remain visible, including the rood screen and fragments of medieval glass.
- St John the Baptist, Grafton Flyford – A church with a late medieval timber bell frame of considerable significance and two recently restored 16th-century paintings showing the symbols of St Mark and St John.
- St John the Baptist, Bradley Green - A simple Victorian building which replaced an 18th century brick church built on the site of an earlier medieval chapel. Most notable is the ‘Bromsgrove Guild’ west rose window - a memorial to the men of the parish killed in the First World War.
- St Mary, Hanbury - Located on an Iron Age hillfort, the box pews in the nave are an excellent demonstration of the adaptation of a medieval building so it could be used for 18th-century worship.
- St Mary Magdalen, Himbleton - Traces of this church’s Norman origins are visible together with later medieval work including the font. There is also the remains of the royal coat of arms (possibly Elizabeth I) on the east wall of the chancel.
- St John the Baptist, Crowle – A church which was rebuilt in in two stages between 1881 and 1885. Of greatest interest is the limestone lectern which was found in 1845 buried the churchyard. The lectern dates from around 1200 and it is likely it was buried at the time of the Reformation.
- St James, Oddingley - A church featuring a great number of details from the 14th-century to the 18th-century, including a medieval timber arch, medieval stained glass and 17th-century hour glass stand from pulpit. Oddingley is most notorious for the murder of the rector George Parker in 1806, after a dispute about tithes.
Copies of the Towers and Spires cycling tour are available in all of the churches featured as well as local tourist information offices or download the route here.
The Diocese of Worcester is one of 42 dioceses in the Church of England. It covers an area of 671 square miles and includes parishes in the County of Worcestershire, the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, and a few parishes in northern Gloucestershire, south east Wolverhampton and Sandwell.
From: Sam Setchell, Press Officer for the Diocese of Worcester and the Bishop of Worcester.
Tel: 01905 20537 Mobile: 07852 302516 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org