Stowe-by-Chartley is an attractive small village situated off the A518 between Stafford and Uttoxeter and has a population of about 460. It has historical associations with Chartley Castle and Mary, Queen of Scots, who was a prisoner at the Manor House (on the site of the present Chartley Hall) from 1585 to 1586, during which time the unsuccessful Babington Plot was conceived. The church of St John the Baptist is of Norman origin and sits squarely in the middle of the village along with several very old houses and a small development of properties built in 1968-1970.
Where to find us:
St. John the Baptist Bellringers.
As a parish we are self-propelled and motivated, with a good sense of community. Our objectives are to foster spiritual growth and support our clergy in promoting God's work (visiting the local residential home, the sick and housebound and in pastoral care). We try to support charities, notably, Water Aid, The Children's Society, Staffordshire Historic Churches Trust and a variety of other one off donations from the annual Carol Service. Our work of outreach includes the very popular Service for Candlemas, the Harvest Festival, the touching Service for All Souls, the Carol service and carol singing around the village. We enjoy sharing the hosting of services and events organised by Mid Trent Churches and being able to experience different styles of worship across the Team. We ourselves offer a fairly traditional approach to the Communion Service with hymns taken from Hymns Old and New and once a month there is a service of Holy Communion following the 1662 format.
Roadside parking is available for those attending the church and on Sundays there is room in the car park of the Cock Inn opposite. We have a ramp to make wheelchair access easier and have large print versions of the service booklet and hymn book, together with an audio induction loop for use, if needed. There is a carpeted area at the back of the church where toys and books are available to entertain young children who might attend a service or wedding, etc. and all our visitors are assured of a warm welcome and offered information about any special aspect of the service, with an invitation to share tea and coffee with us afterwards.
The church is surrounded by a very large, well-kept churchyard, with many old headstones and a parish cross, mounted on a medieval base, with listed status.
Baptism (Christenings) at St. John the Baptist.
A Baptism is always a joyful event and we hope we give a warm welcome to all the family. Photographs may be taken round the font after the service and the baby receives a candle as a reminder of the big day, while parents and godparents have a commemorative card.
Some Of Our Community Activity.
We take part in the annual Village Fete and also organise various fund- raising events. Recent activities have included the highly successful Easter Experience presentation and a beautiful exhibition One Hundred Years of Bell Ringing. Social affairs are often arranged around musical events and are usually held in the village hall
(stowebychartley.co.uk). The Stafford Singers, the folk singing duo Breeze and Wilson and The Crooked Bawbees have all entertained us as we enjoyed a hot supper and in the summer months there is sometimes an Afternoon Tea or a Coffee Morning.
Our Church Building.
The church is of typical Norman design, as may be seen from the flat buttresses, the south entrance door and the remains of the original Norman base structure. It was probably built around 1150 A.D. and was founded either by Ranulph de Blunderville or Ranulph Gervons, both of whom bore the titles, Earl of Chester and Lord of Chartley. Originally it consisted of just a nave and chancel, with narrow, rounded windows which would have left the interior of the church very dark. Towards the end of the 13th century all the windows, with one exception were replaced with larger ones. In the 14th century
the chancel was extended to twice its original length, the present east window was inserted and a
Also on the north wall of the chancel are the memorial tablets to General Sir Walter Congreve and his eldest son, William la Touche. The tablets were designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, one of the foremost architects of his day, and commemorate the fact that both father and son had the rare distinction of being awarded the Victoria Cross.
On the north wall of the chancel, under a Tudor arch, is the dominating tomb of Sir Walter Devereux and his two wives. He distinguished himself in the French wars in the reign of Henry VIII and was made Viscount Hereford and admitted to the Order of the Garter.
tower built at the west end. The main door at the time was in the south wall of the nave where, at some time, a wooden porch was added, remains of which are still evident on the masonry above the door. In 1879 the north wall of the nave was found to be leaning so it was dismantled and re-built outward, using the original stone, to create a north aisle. During these alterations a small Norman door was uncovered and this may be seen in the middle of the extended wall.
For 1500 years the Christian Church in England has used bells to announce a service and before the Reformation, bells kept time for people living in an age of almost complete silence apart from the noises of humans and animals. Priests would divide up the day by ringing one
The Friends Of St John The Baptist Church
Some years ago we launched a scheme to enable people who have had a link with the church in the past, either through a baptism service, a marriage or a funeral, or who grew up in the village and have happy memories of those days, to maintain that link by becoming a Friend of the Church.
The response has been very encouraging. We are grateful to those who have accepted the invitation to join the scheme and welcome any future enquiries.
Further information can be obtained from:
Mrs J Brown (01889 270596)
Alternatively the leaflet can be downloaded here in Adobe Acrobat
We hope you have enjoyed reading something about our activities in Stowe-by-Chartley and we would love to meet you. Please pay us a visit!
About The Bells
Bell Ringers: Mr. Michael Brown (Tower Captain).
Mr. John Reed.
Mr's Jenny Brown.
Mr's Ursula Marston.
Mr's Suzanne Reed.
Mr's Kathleen Sargeant.
stroke at 6.00am (prime), three at 9.00am (tierce), three at mid-day (lauds), three at 3.00pm (nones) and at 6.00pm they would ring many strokes (vespers). In Stowe the two oldest of the six bells date from the late 15th century. The tenor, and the 3rd bell are 16th century, the 2nd was cast in 1632 and the most recent addition, is the treble. They all have inscriptions. Details can be found by clicking this link. There are many legends, traditions and customs associated with bells such as the ringing of the Nine Tailors (or Tellers) to mark a passing - 9 strokes for a man, 6 for a woman, 3 for a child. The Curfew continued to mark the end of a working day long after it was officially repealed and curfew was rung at Stowe as late as 1873. In many parts of the country, before honeymoons became the rule, it was the custom on the morning after the wedding to ring a Bride's Peal to wake up the happy couple.
In 1914 a letter from the vicar and the churchwardens was read at a meeting of parishioners. It stated that since 1884 it had only been possible to chime the bells due to the poor state of the tower and that now the wooden framework supporting them was so decayed and unsafe that they could no longer even be chimed. A restoration fund was set up to raise the money to carry out repairs. Local people gave generously and on December 18 of 1914 the bells, now re-hung in a metal frame in the newly strengthened tower, were re-dedicated by the Archdeacon of Stoke, along with a new bell in memory of Mr Bromhall. In subsequent years many local people learned to handle the bells, for a long time under the captaincy of George Robinson and since 1970, Michael Brown. During the 2nd World War village bells were silent, only to ring out in the event of invasion but since then, apart from a few breaks, Stowe's bells have been rung regularly and certainly over the last 45 years have never failed to call the people to worship for a Sunday service, which is, after all, that is what the bells were originally meant to do. Bells have always been associated with landmark events, both nationally and personally - they ring out joyfully for a wedding and the single bell tolls for a death, whether it be the marriage of a member of the royal family, the funeral of a monarch or that of a member of the local community. In view of all this regular activity it is not surprising that some 92 years after the restoration work Stowe's bells again needed attention. It was agreed that bell hangers carry out work to fit new ball bearings in place of the old plain bearings on the bells, to re-bush the pulleys, to restore the profiles of the clappers and re-bush them too. A significant reduction in cost was achieved by using local labour, thus requiring only one bell hanger to oversee the work. Volunteers cleaned out the bell chamber, helped the bell hanger and dismantled the bells so that the headstocks, clappers and pulleys could be taken away to the factory. Volunteers also prepared and painted the frame and then re-assembled the bells over the course of 3 days. Hopefully, no more significant work will be required for another 100 years!
Weddings at St. John the Baptist.
Our ancient church is the perfect setting for a wedding and couples often request that the six bells should be rung as part of the ceremony. Our beautiful churchyard, maintained by a loyal band of workers, has often been awarded prizes in the diocesan Churchyard Competition. It provides a lovely background for photographs and we are happy for confetti to be thrown as long as it is outside the church gates.
Saturday 20th April at 10-30am
Decorate for Easter.
April Rota: 28th April Ursula Marston
5th May Ursula Marston
April: Susanna Munro