Churches & Chapels


Hallow Parish Church
(St. Philip & St. James)

Grade: II*    Listing NGR: SO8285157927

Church of St Philip and  St James Parish church. 1867-9 by W J Hopkins on new site. Spire added in 1900. 

Red sandstone ashlar with yellow sandstone tracery, tiled roofs, parapets at gable ends with kneelers. Two bay chancel with chapel to south and vestry to north, four bay nave with clerestory and north and south aisles, south porch and west tower. Decorated style. West tower: 3 stages, angled corner buttresses with cusped gablets; south-west buttress is of increased width to incorporate stairs and has 3 slit openings; 3 strings; west doorway has pointed archway, deeply recessed and moulded, the hood mould returns to continue as string, and has nookshafts, the upper shafts almost weathered away, with foliated capitals and moulded eaves. Above is a large 5-light window with geometric tracery. The second stage has metal clockface to each elevation. Beneath the belfry stage is an imbricated frieze and above a diaper frieze and moulded cornice; between are paired, louvred 2-light openings each having nookshafts with foliated capitals and moulded bases and with hoodmould returning as string. Broach spire has corner pinnacles and four 2-light lucarnes, above which is a quatrefoil frieze between strings and 8 gables with pointed-lobed trefoil openings, with an additional string above; at top of spire is a finial and weathercock. Nave: Traceried flying buttresses at bay divisions terminating in outer buttresses surmounted by pinnacles; 2-light windows, round clerestorey windows with varied tracery; cusped lancets to aisles and clerestorey at west end of north and south elevation; 3-light window to west elevation of aisles. South porch: Gabled with parapet and kneelers; corner angled buttresses with offsets. Doorway has pointed arch in deeply moulded and recessed surround, hood mould and foliated label stops; at sides is arcade at window height composed of 3 cusped pointed arches supported on short columns with moulded caps and bases. Chancel: corner buttresses with offsets and gablets, 2 string courses, the lower one continuing around side elevations; 3-light east window has hood mould with foliated label stops. At east end of north and south elevations is a 2-light window with hood mould and foliated label stops. South chapel: catslide roof, end buttresses with offsets, a large 2-light south window set partly within central gable and paired, pointed arch windows in the east elevation. North vestry: also has a catslide roof, tall chimney, corner buttress with offsets and an outshut to east; 2-light north window and pointed arched doorway at west end; 3 cusped lancets in east elevation.Interior: 5 pointed stone diaphragm arches to have on long shafts terminating on moulded corbels; additional stone pointed arches in aisles, the inner spandrels pierced with quatrefoils. Cusped pointed chancel arch also pierced with quatrefoils and rising from foliated corbels. Four bay arcades to aisles, of pointed arches on columns with foliated capitals and moulded bases.  Chancel roof has hammerbeam trusses with pierced, cusped decoration on foliated corbels; above wall-plate is elaborate, traceried timber arcade. At lower end of chancel large, pointed archways lead into chapel to south, and contain organ to north; above northern archway is small, pointed doorway into vestry. Reredos by R Boulton; alabaster and marble. Crucifixion scene beneath highly ornate vaulted canopy surmounted by angels. Octagonal stone font by Forsyth in Butterfield style, base surrounded by 8 marble columns, bowl inlaid with ornamental tiling and much carved decoration including figure reliefs. Pulpit of stone and marble with tile inlay; carved figures beneath gabled canopy.

Memorials Beneath tower monument to Edward Hill died 1616, also an early C18 one to Edward and Anne Bull; Anne Bull provided the main part of the endowment for the village school. In south aisle, cartouche with fruit and flower surround and putto head, to John Pardoe, died 1680; also one to John Evett died 1657, one to Richard Harrison died 1795, by W Stephens, decorated with an urn and coat of arms, and one other late C18 memorial and an early C19 memorial. In the north aisle are 2 late C18 and 3 mid-C19 memorials, one of which is to the scientist Sir Charles Bell. Glass: late C19 stained glass in east window and C20 stained glass in east window of chapel. The former parish church stood on a site about 300 yards north-east of present church; it was replaced by an aisle-less building c1830 which was demolished when the present church was erected.


THE FIRST CHURCH IN HALLOW:  The earliest Church in Hallow was a small stone building on the bank above the River Severn.  Nash, the Worcestershire historian, says that it had Saxon masonry over the north door.  It was demolished in 1830, and the only remains of it are some flat stones surrounded by railings, marking its position in the Old Churchyard, and the memorials taken from it and placed on the walls of the present church.

THE SECOND CHURCH:  In 1830 a building of plain and simple construction was built on the same site as the original Church.  This only existed until 1869, when the present Church was built.

  • The church cost £4,000 and is built of sandstone quarried from both Holt quarry (just north of Holt bridge) and Ombersley, just South of Ombersley village. 
  • The builder for the church was Mr. Inwood of Malvern and the tower and steeple were built by a contractor from Hereford a Mr. Henry Walsh.  
  • The church was designed for 450 sittings. 
  • The reredos was presented by Earl Beauchamp and executed by Mr. R. Boulton of Cheltenham, a beautiful and lofty structure inlaid with expensive marble, it consists of three arches, the Crusifixion in the centre and on the serpentine columns stand seven alabaster angels, representing the seven churches, each bearing candlesticks in their hands.
  • The pulpit which is also a fine specimen of stonework was a gift of P.H. Pepys M.A. Chancellor of the Diocese.
  • The font, a gift from Charles Wheeley Lea,was carved by well known local sculptor, Mr. Forsyth.
  • The Parish Registers begin at 1583

To read research on the Second Vicarage (The Old Rectory House), please click here
Materials from the second church were sold to help fund the building of the present church.

THE CHURCH The ecclesiastical parish of Hallow was originally part of a much larger parish: in 1877 it was separated from Grimley, in 1910 Broadheath, hitherto part of Hallow became a separate parish and in 1940 Comer Gardens District detached from Hallow to become part of the parish of St. Clements. The earliest church in Hallow was a small stone building on the bank of the river at the end of Church Lane. Nash, the Worcestershire historian, says that it had Saxon masonry over the North Door. It is recorded in 1552 that the old church had ‘one steeple bell, a little sacrynge bell’ and a little lynch bell’. In 1740 there were five bells; one had the inscription ’Cum tonat hoc signum, hostat fugat Anna malignum’. It is believed to have been cast in the foundry in Sidbury over 500 years ago. This bell hung in Hallow Church until 1900 when it was removed to the new church in Broadheath.

The old Hallow church fell into decay and was demolished in 1830. All that remains are some flat stones surrounded by railings to mark its position in the old churchyard. The memorials from it are placed on the walls of the present church where there is also a painting depicting the old church. The old church was replaced by a simple construction on the same site that served until the present church was built in 1869.

The church was designed by Worcester architect, Mr. W. Jeffrey Hopkins and is a good example of Victorian Gothic style. It is built of sandstone quarried locally at Holt. The foundation stone was laid by Frederick Lygon, 6th Earl of Beauchamp on March 5th 1867 and the church was consecrated two years later by the Bishop of Worcester Rt. Rev. Henry Philpott.

The flying buttresses that support the roof are a notable feature of the design but proved so costly to construct that the addition of the tower was delayed until 1879. Donations of £2800 were collected by Mrs. Lord of Hallow Park to erect the 67 foot tower. Principal benefactors were Mrs. Lord, Mr. Charles Wheeley Lea and the First Earl of Dudley. The spire was added in 1900 by Mrs. Wheeley Lea of Parkfield, in memory of her husband who died two years earlier. Her grave is near the south porch.

The inaugural peal of bells was rung on February 1st 1902. The church has three stained glass windows, the remainder having lights of clear and tinted glass. Although a village church, it is of generous size and in a prominent position on high ground.  Its spire is a landmark for miles around.

It is recorded that in 1552, the old Church had “one steeple bell, a little sacrynge bell and a little lych bell”.  In 1740, there were said to be five bells.  One had the inscription “Cum tonat hoc signum, hostem fugat Anna malignum” and was believed to have been cast at a foundry in Sidbury over 500 years ago.  This bell was still in Hallow Church in 1900, but later it was removed to the new Church at Broadheath.

The present bells were cast by Messrs. Taylor of Loughborough.  They have the following inscriptions:

No. 1   With Faith, We Praise Thee
No. 2   With Hope, We Bless Thee
No. 3   With Charity, We Worship Thee
No. 4   With Justice, We Glorify Thee
No. 5   With Prudence, We Give Thanks to Thee
No. 6   With Temperance, We Magnify Thee
No. 7   With Fortitude, We Call unto Thee
No. 8   With Praise, To the Glory of God

The bells were renovated in 1937 as part of the commemoration of the Coronation of King George VI.

The canopied reredos was the gift of Earl Beauchamp, who at that time (1872) owned Hallow Park.  It is of alabaster and marble, with carvings in high relief of Christ on the Cross, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John, Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary.  Over the canopy are figures typifying the angels of the Seven Churches from the Book of Revelations.  The reredos is the work of the ~Worcester sculptor, R. Boulton.

In commemoration of the 60th year of Queen Victoria’s reign the East window (behind the reredos) was replaced with coloured glass as the Jubilee memorial of the parishioners.

Recreation of the original Notice:

The Laying of the Foundation Stone ceremony was held on Tuesday March 5 1867, with the consecration of the Church of St. Philip and St. James on Tuesday May 4 1869.  The first hymn of the service was Onward Christian soldiers.

After the service, a dinner took place at The Crown for 196 people.  The bill was presented by the Landlord, Thomas Fuggle and was paid by the vicar. 

The bill was for a total of £42.17s 6d and this amount included 4s 6d .... “See they broke one glass” !!

Transcription of letter 


Malvern, July 30th 1866
Tender for Hallow Church Tower & Spire

Gentlemen We the undersigned will agree to Build and Complete Church at Hallow according to Plans and specifications prepared by
W. J. Hopkins Esq., for the sum of Three Thousand four Hundred and Eighty Six Pounds
Tower and Spire Two Thousand Four Hundred and Twenty Three Pounds
and are prepared to enter into a Contract for the due Completion of the same when called upon.

                                              We are, Gentlemen,
                                                         Your obedient servants,
                                                                      OSBORN AND INWOOD
Church  £3486
Tower    £2423                                                               To the Rev. H. G. Pepys
              £5909 *

*    Approx. £370,000 in 2017

Transcription of letter 


Dear Sir,
           We take the liberty of calling your attention to the effort which is being made in this place to rebuild the Parish Church, and we venture to ask your kind assistance towards enabling us to carry on to a successful issue the important work we have undertaken.

           It is estimated that, including the Architect’s commission, &c., at least £3,500 will be required to complete the Building, even without the Tower and Spire.  Of this, as will be seen by the subjoined list, rather more than £2,700 has been already raised, but there still remains a deficiency of £800.

          The Foundation Stone was laid on the 5th March, and the walls are now rapidly rising from the ground.  The work is going on satisfactorily, and we cannot believe that it will be allowed to come to a stand still for want of funds to carry it on.

          Subscriptions will be thankfully received by any of the undersigned Members of the Building Committee, or by Messrs. Berwick and Co., at the Old Bank, Worcester.

                                                We beg to remain, Dear Sir
                                                            Yours faithfully,

                                                            HERBERT G. PEPYS, Chairman
                                                            J. P. LORD
                                                            JOHN KITCHIN
                                                            W. PRICE HUGHES
                                                            E. LECHMERE PUGH
                                                            RICHARD NASH
                                                            S. M. TEARNE
                                                            T. E. M. TEARNE
                                                            N. S. WEST
                                                            BENJAMIN FARMER



After completion of the work to automate the clock, repairs to roof, the spire and stonework,  rainwater goods, improvement to the lighting, and clearance of asbestos in the boiler room, a Thanksgiving and Re-dedication service was held on 26th November, 2017.              (Photographs:  Anne Stark)





A 1940s sketch of Hallow’s Vestry Chest in an exercise book, done by Roy Gwilliam at Hallow School prompted  a member of Hallow History Group to search for this Vestry Box in 2017.   It hadn’t been seen for many years but following enquiries and thanks to Peter Foster, the chest was found in the cellar boiler room.  Despite its enormous weight Peter brought it up the stone steps and into the church.  In anticipation it was opened, but all it contained was a rotting, sodden mass of old choir vestments.   The boiler room had flooded sometime in the past, which apart from ruining its contents had also caused rust damage to the chest.   The vestments were dried out, but were too rotten to salvage. 
Hallow’s Vestry records date back to 1767 and were stored in the chest along with the clergy’s vestments and valuables.  The Parish Vestry committee, the forerunner of the Parish Council, made up of leading parishioners, landowners and farmers devoted much of their time to the care of the poor.   This did allow for despotic behaviour, as they had the power to levy the rate the wealthy paid and to choose the deserving poor.    An interesting entry in the 1820 minutes - a special meeting was called, presided over by the Rev. Williams, to claim goods from Henry Woodhall whose levies were in arrears to the tune of £11. 5s.   Over 30 goods were seized from him amongst which were a straw mattress and bolster,  6 round platters, 4 cheeses, large iron pot with lid, 6 iron spoons, meat cover, fishing net, bridle, 31 glass bottles, candle box, 2 bushels of wheat, a salting box, two waistcoats and a smock frock.   Valuable items of the day and I wonder how he managed to survive without them.

Duties overseen by the vestry included:  vagrancy;  destitution; illness and medical needs; looking after the church; burial grounds; parish properties; apprentices; charities and accounts; recovery of debts; the keeping of the peace; whipping posts; stocks; clocks; fire engines; common lands; the mending of roads and the destruction of vermin.   

Hallow’s two earlier churches did not have a vestry meeting room and in the late 1700s early 1800s meetings were held in the church itself, but more often than not the minutes state they adjourned to ‘the house of John Brown - the Crown public house’.     Today the Crown still accommodates various meetings, but the Parish Council use the Parish Hall, rather than the vestry.

The box itself was wonderful.  In heavy iron, it had a large keyhole, on the top, but no key; two hasps with a rod bolt on the front and large ring carry handles on each end.   Inside was another locked compartment, which did have a key, but disappointingly it was empty.


It was fortunate that the 300 year old records had been moved to Worcester’s Ecclesiastical records office years earlier, but a pity that the chest, Hallow’s heritage, couldn’t be restored to take pride of place somewhere.  It's age is not known, but how lucky that identification was made possible from that early schoolboy sketch.  


The chest has been returned to the cellar, but now sits well above any future flood!  

Hallow Non-Conformist Chapel, Moseley Road

The chapel, a place of worship for almost 150 years, was erected in 1831, owned by Thomas Bright and leased to the Baptist Society. In 1854 the premises was acquired by Thomas Rowley Hill, Liberal politician and mayor of Worcester and later MP for Worcestershire. The following year it was refurbished and registered for marriages.

From 1862 to 1873 George Edwards was appointed as ‘Evangelist’ for Hallow and nearby villages. In the latter years of the 19th century congregations of 50 attended Sunday evening and week night services and around 70 children attended Sunday School. In 1888 Whit Sunday festivities enabled 70 young people to tuck into ‘ample refreshments’, participate in games and singing and enjoy a magic lantern show.

In 1903 despite some ‘opposition’ that is recorded, attendance continued to flourish, with a ‘Band of Hope’ formed with 30 members, its objective to teach children the importance of sobriety and teetotalism. A ‘Thursday evening Brotherhood’ was formed in 1908 with 62 members. Between the wars attendance began to decline with Sunday School numbers falling from 45 in 1926 to 22 ten years later. Mr A Browne was Superintendent in 1925 followed by Mr. A E Allen.  Berrows newspaper of 1937 reports a concert in the parish hall organised by Mr Allen and the Members and Friends of the Congregational Chapel in aid of the ‘Empire and Homeland Bazaar’. A selection of songs, sketches and monologues were performed by The Angel St. Choir and Players with Mr J. Banks of Hallow Park in the Chair.

A 71 year old retired Congregational minister, Rev. AJ Owens, and his wife moved into the Manse to take up duties in the chapel until 1940 when he was replaced by Mr Mark GC Wilder who remained in post until 1960. In 1940 trustees were appointed for the property by Angel Street Church under the auspices of the Congregational Union of England and Wales. By 1949 only 4 members and 12 Sunday school children were recorded.

In 1960 Peter Russell was appointed Superintendent who, with his aunt Mrs G W Williams, did much to serve the chapel and the community of Hallow. In 1965 the chapel became a self-governing Congregational Church, no longer tied to Angel St. Church in Worcester (now Tramps nightclub). By 1968 numbers had risen to 15 members and 20 in Sunday School.  Mr Russell is remembered as living in Worcester and for his instruction of the older children in the 1970s. A number of members of the congregation lived in Oakleigh Avenue including the organist Mr Wilder.

 Following the union of the Presbyterian and Congregational Church in England and Wales in 1972, the chapel became ‘Hallow United Reformed Church’ and four years later Peter Russell was formally recognised by URC as the ‘Presiding Elder’ in charge of Hallow.

The chapel finally closed its doors on Sunday April 30th 1978 following the retirement of its caretaker for 25 years Mrs FL Booth(who lived in the cottage behind the chapel)  and of its Elder Peter Russell and his aunt. (Mrs Booth’s wonderful cottage garden, home-made brown bread and beetroot sandwiched are fondly remembered)The congregation of up to 50 transferred to Albany Terrace United Reformed Church.

The chapel was sold at auction later that year for £16,100 (including 60 chairs) by Mr Alan Barnett. Significant alterations were made to the property. Mr Barnett lived there until 1982 when it was sold to Mr and Mrs A C Briggs for £34,650. They remained there for 10 years, selling to Malcolm and Shirley Wood in 1992.

A puzzling detail is a Jewish Mezuzah prayer discovered fastened to the doorpost by the present owners Paul and Jane Wilcox when they moved into the property in July 2014. Their research has formed the basis of this history. Many thanks to them and others who have shared their memories.