St Mary’s Church was built in 1875 and replaced The Old Chapel as the parish church. It was built by the Newton family of Barrells Hall at a cost of £5000 (Kellys Directory 1896). A plaque on the wall at the east end reads “This Church was built to the glory of god in memory of William and Mary Newton late of Barrells by their sons THG W & H and daughters E & MR Anno Dni 1875”.
“The new church is impressive with its array of arches running down the nave and chancel, even framing the windows of the apse, all covered by one great roof looking like an upturned boat. The chancel floor has a great circle of mosaic, the altar in the middle”. (A. Mee, 1936, The King’s England, Warwickshire).
The Church was designed in the Gothic style of architecture by the architect John Pollard Seddon. It is built of stone from Campden in Gloucestershire and from Box near Bath. The Communion table, the pulpit, the prayer desk, and the seats are of pitch pine.
The church clock was added at a later date:
“An announcement, which was received with great pleasure, was made by Mr. Newton of his intention to make further improvements in the Parish Church, one of the most useful and important being the addition of a clock to strike the hours”. (Parish Magazine June 1886).
THE CONSECRATION SERVICE
The Consecration Service was due to take place on Tuesday, January 5th 1875. However this had to be postponed owing to the indisposition of the Lord Bishop of Worcester.
The Church was opened for Divine Service under licence from the Bishop of Worcester on the evening of January 5th, with the service being well attended and the sermon being preached by the Bishop of Sierra Leone, Rev Cheetham.
The first marriage in the new Church took place the following day, that of Miss M. R. Newton to the Bishop of Sierra Leone.
A new date for the Consecration Service was set for the 18th May. The delay enabled the spire to be finished off, the land around the new building to be tidied up, and finishing touches to be completed.
“Tuesday, the 18th of May, 1875, will long be remembered by the inhabitants of Ullenhall as the day on which the Lord Bishop of Worcester CONSECRATED, or set apart for the glory and worship of Almighty God, the beautiful new church of St. Mary, Ullenhall. Besides the Bishop, there were present the Venerable Archdeacon Hone, the Rev. C. Dolben, Rural Dean, and about 25 of the neighbouring clergy. The church was filled to overflowing, many people being quite unable to find seats. . . . As soon as the Bishop, accompanied by the Diocesan Registrar and the clergy, reached the door of the church, a petition from the kind friends who built the church, praying him to consecrate it to the glory of God, was presented by the Vicar.
. . .
After the service, the visitors, farmers, and principal inhabitants of the parish and neighbourhood were entertained at luncheon by T.H.G. Newton, Esq., in a marquee erected for the purpose in his grounds”. (Ullenhall Parish Magazine – June 1875)