Umberslade Baptist Church
Umberslade Baptist Church is a redundant Baptist church situated to the southwest of the village of Hockley Heath, Solihull, West Midlands, England ( grid reference SP147721 ). It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II listed building, and is under the care of the Historic Chapels Trust.

History
The church was built in 1877 in Umberslade Park, having been commissioned by George Frederick Muntz, junior. Umberslade Park was the estate of Umberslade Hall, Muntz's country seat. The church was designed by the Birmingham architect George Ingall. A vestry was added to the east of the church in 1893. In the 2000s repairs, including re-roofing, were carried out by Midland Conservation Limited. They were completed in 2008 and cost about £500,000.

Architecture

Structure
The church is constructed in blue lias stone with limestone dressings. The steep roofs are of Welsh slate and are hipped and gabled. Its plan consists of a four bay nave with a north porch, north and south transepts, a chancel terminating in an apse, and a southwest tower, with a spire, incorporating another porch. The architectural style is Decorated and it is elaborately detailed including pinnacles with finials. Around the church are lancet windows, those in the transepts have rose windows above them. The tower is in three stages. It has diagonal buttresses on three corners rising to the full height of the tower, surmounted by pinnacles. On the northeast corner is an octagonal stair turret with an embattled summit. The bottom stage of the tower has a west doorway with an arch under an ornamented porch. In the middle stage there are trefoil windows. The tall top stage has a clock face on each side over which are lancet bell openings. At the summit is a pierced quatrefoil parapet. The spire contains gabled lucarnes.

Fittings and furniture
Internally the original furnishings are largely intact. They include the benches, the organ, the stained glass, and a Gothic style pulpit, in front of which is an open baptistry. On the floors are encaustic tiles. The two- manual organ was built by Bishop & Son of London in about 1878. The ring consists of eight bells, all cast in 1878 by Gillett & Bland of Croydon, who also installed a chiming machine and a carillon. After being derelict for a time, the bells were restored in 1978 but, in the absence of an electrical supply, they cannot be sounded by the chiming machine.

Present day
Open days and other events are organised by the local committee. The church is "the sole survivor among grand chapels associated with the rise of Birmingham Nonconformity". It is also the "last extant major chapel of... George Ingall".

Building Activity

  • Kiril Pavlov
    Kiril Pavlov activity.buildings_person.create
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com