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Willenhall St Giles

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"St Giles Church, which formerly served the whole chapelry of Willenhall, is now the church of a district parish formed under Sir Robert Peel's act, and comprising Bentley and part of Willenhall township. It was rebuilt in 1748, and has about 620 sittings, and a good organ, erected in 1842. It has several neat mural monuments, one of which was erected to the memory of Richard Wilkes, MD, 'the last of an ancient and respectable family, resident at this place 300 years and upwards.
The perpetual curacy is in the patronage of the resident freeholders of the township, and incumbency of the Rev. GH Fisher, MA."

[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]



'The History of St Giles Church, Willenhall' 
by Norman W Tildesley 
Published 1969, by British Publishing Co, Gloucester.



A transcript of the Monumental Inscriptions of St Giles, Willenhall, has been published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Willenhall area or see them printed on a map.


Church History

The first recorded reference to a church at Willenhall is in a 1313 deed which mentions a chaplain of Willenhall. The mediaeval church at Willenhall was believed to be a half-timbered structure which survived until the mid 18th century when it became decayed and dilapidated. The last sevice in this building was on 10th April 1748 and the people of the town were without a church until the new building was opened in 1750. This building was an ugly square structure of red brick with a small apsidal chancel at the east end. The ancient tower, built around the time of the Reformation, was retained, and a further storey added in 1788 to house a peal of eight bells cast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester. 
The church was rebuilt in 1867, and is now a building of stone, in the Decorated style, consisting of a chancel, nave, aisles, transepts, west porch, and a lofty 100 feet high western tower with pinnacles, containing a clock and eight bells. 
The stained east window was placed in 1867 by Ralph Dickenson Gough (died 9th Nov 1881) to whom a memorial window was erected in 1886, and there are several other memorial windows, some of which display the arms of the Sutherland, Gifford, Lichfield and Lane families. A choir aisle was erected in 1895 as a memorial to the Rev GH Fisher, MA, vicar here from 1834-1894, and at the same time the church was enlarged by the addition of a south transept. In 1911 the interior was renovated, and oak choir stalls provided. The church was again renovated in 1927, with the addition of a vestry and side chapel, a new high altar of the English pattern, and an oak carved pulpit. 
The living is a vicarage, in the gift of the Bishop of Lichfield and five lay trustees. 
A mission church of St Giles, dedicated to St Matthias, was erected at Shepwell Green in 1907.

St Giles was a chapel of ease to Wolverhampton St Peter until 1848 when it became a parish in its own right. No burials took place at Willenhall until 1727 when the church and churchyard were consecrated for burials. Before that time burials of Willenhall inhabitants took place at Wolverhampton St Peter. Willenhall marriages also took place at St Peter until 1841. 

Postcard of St Giles Church c 1920

Postcard of the Chancel, St Giles Church c 1938

Oil painting of St Giles Church c 1962

Oil painting of St Giles Church pre 1867

Photograph of St Giles Church (1) May 2003

Photograph of St Giles Church (2) May 2003


Church Records

Church of England Registers 
The register of the church of St Giles commences in 1642. The original registers for the period 1642-1964 (Bapts), 1841-1965 (Mar) & 1755-1926 (Bur), and Banns for the period 1956-1977 are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office. 
Willenhall, St Giles was a chapelry to Wolverhampton, St Peter which retained the right to conduct Willenhall marriages until 1841. 
Bishops Transcripts, 1799-1825 (Bapts & Bur) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office. 
An indexed transcript of the St Giles register for the period 1642-1761 (Bapts only) was published jointly in 1990 by the Staffordshire Parish Register Society and the Birmingham & Midland SGH. 
An indexed transcript of the St Giles register for the period 1761-1778 (Bapts) & 1727-1778 (Bur) was published jointly in 2002 by the Staffordshire Parish Register Society and the Birmingham & Midland SGH.

The LDS Church have filmed the following St Giles registers: 
Parish Register : Bapts 1642-1829 & Bur 1642-1812. Film number 1526220 
Parish Register : Bapts 1829-1901, Mar 1841-1900 & Bur 1727-1901. Film number 1517616 
Bishops Transcript : Bapts, Mar & Bur 1799-1812. Film number 421621 
Bishops Transcript : Bapts & Bur 1813-1825. Film number 497354

Wolverhampton Archives have placed on line indexes of the Willenhall St Giles registers covering Baptisms 1642-1837 & Burials 1727-1837.

Nonconformist Church Registers 
Records of Nonconformist churches in Willenhall can be found on the Willenhall page.

Description and Travel

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Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Willenhall St Giles has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.