Thursday, 19 March 2015

St Augustine of Canterbury church, Rugeley

Although this church on the outskirts of the town is relatively modern - it dates from the early C19 - it has the size and feeling of a much older, grander church. I attended a wedding here when I was a child and remember thinking what a splendid building it was. It replaced the old church, now called ‘The Chancel’ which stands on the other side of the road.
            The first church dedicated to St Augustine of Canterbury  in Rugeley was small, and when it deteriorated into decay it was thought too small for the growing populous, so a  new larger church was built, but the stone tower of the old C14  church was retained to grace the skyline.
.....The building of the new Gothic style church began in 1822 and was consecrated on New Year Day 1823.  Because the church was originally meant as a ‘preaching’ church it is simple in design, with the nave the dominate feature. Toward the end of the C19 a chancel was added onto the existing building, with a new altar and choir stall and by 1908 the Lady Chapel, organ gallery and vestry were also in place. Hence the church as we see it today is little more than 100 years old.
The East window is quite lovely and stands above a splendid reredos and high altar. It depicts the figures of St Augustine, St Chad, St John the Divine and The Virgin Mary in it’s panels.

The altar in the South aisle was carved and donated by an ancestor of my husband. It’s nice to think it will be there for many following generations to see,

...and I found the Lady Chapel delightful  >>>

                    The  pulpit has a carving of St Augustine on it.. 

....and the brass lectern standing at the head of the nave is most impressive.

I found the circular font unusual as it is made from alabaster and differs from the more traditional fonts that we see.

 < Looking from East to West in the galleried nave

             central nave >

  < choir stalls 

This is a church which encourages bell ringing skills, and the bells of  St Augustine’s are rung on a regular basis. Apart from the Sunday summons to prayer, the bells can also be heard during the week  when bell ringing practice takes place

 In the churchyard outside of the West door is the tomb of John Parsons Cook who was a victim in 1855 of the notorious C19 murderer William Palmer… also in the churchyard is the headstone for a Christina Collins who was murdered in 1839 on a canal boat locally. It’s good to know  that justice prevailed and these murderers met their just deserts!

St Augustine’s is a fine church which is in daily use and bears witness to the faith of it’s parishioners.

With thanks for extra information to ‘The guide and History of St Augustine’s’ by S.M.Simpson

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