History of St Barbara's Church
St Barbara's in The Church Today
In the early Catholic Church St. Barbara was one of the 14 auxiliary saints also known as the 14 Holy Helpers, venerated for the supposed efficacy of their prayers on behalf of human necessities. Her feast day was on December 4th though today she no longer has a place in the Calendar of either the Roman catholic or Anglican Churches, though she is still held in high regard on the continent.
Our church is one of only three Anglican churches in England dedicated to her. The other two are at Ashton-under-Hill in Worcestershire and at Haceby (now closed), in Lincolnshire The chapel at the former rocket testing range at Woomera in Australia was dedicated to her and there is a statue of her in the Beauchamp Chapel at St. Mary's Warwick and in many churches on the continent.
St. Barbara is often depicted holding the palm branch of a martyr and a model of the tower with the three windows. Because of the fatal lightning stroke she is the patron saint of artillerymen and miners and because of the tower she is the patron saint of architects. She has also been shown holding a book. an illusion to her studious life and her name has also been associated with prayers for a good and prepared death, supported by. the Sacraments of the Church:for this reason she is sometimes shown holding a Chance and Host and our own parish emblem is based on a Chalice, Host and Cross.
1852 much of the City of Coventry consisted of overcrowded houses, and
filthy streets open to diseases.
The open land of fields and common land to the
South West of the City was much appreciated by City Folk.
In 1873 the Weslyan Methodists transformed an old ribbon factory into a temporary chapel and in 1884 the first Methodist Chapel was built nearby. Not until 1913 was a Mission Church in Palmerston Rd dedicated to St.Barbara by the Lord Bishop of Worcester.By 1921 Earlsdon was growing and the Church Community was growing. and the Church Council agreed to the purchase of a large wooden Building for both Church and Community use. The building came to be called "The tute" and the venture was very successful.
By 1922 Earlsdon at last qualified to become a parish in its own right and
with the provision of a church hall the Institute St Barbara's was becoming a
centre of interest and activity. By 1925 the need for an even larger Church was obvious. No site in the centre
of Earlsdon was available. but by 1930 a sufficient sum had been raised to
consider the purchase of a site where both a new Church and the wooded
"Institute" could be accommodated. Thanks to the gifts and donations ranging
from hundreds of pounds from Sir Alfred Herbert , the machine tool manufacturer
to a shilling or two from workers in the factories the target of £20.000 was
The west end was cut short by 2 bays and a baptistry was never built. The North side of the Church was completed with comparatively cheap brickwork. However The Lady Chapel built in memory of Lady Herbert was completed and contains most beautiful carvings.
During the War from 1939 to 1945 many of the church windows were moved to safety but the Church itself suffered no damage. The Sanctuary was enhanced in 1954 by raising the reredos by 5 feet and around the Sanctuary a carved and painted frieze relating to the 4 seasons carved and painted by Waiter Ritchie was incorporated in 1954.
In June 1971 A new Parish Hall was built at the west end of the Church to replace the old Wooden "Institute" and a new Vicarage was also built next to the Church.
The years since the New Church was built have seen many changes, The Church Hall continues to serve the wider Community as well as the Church activities, and the 60's saw the growing importance of ecumenism and the growing relationship between the five churches in Earlsdon and Chapelfields.
Further detailed information can be found from -:
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