Although St. Bartholomew's Church occupies an undoubtedly ancient site, the present building does not seem particularly old on casual inspection. The most prominent aspect for the casual passer-by is undoubtedly the tower, which was rebuilt in its present form in 1765 (in the reign of King George III), giving an unusual Georgian appearance to the church and reflecting the appearance of nearby Himley church which was built in 1764. The Georgian period, although noted for its domestic architecture, was not a time of great church building.
The architecturally curious can do no better than read the description from Nikolaus Pevsner's master work "The Buildings of England - Staffordshire". Here's what the master has to say:

ST BARTHOLOMEW, Church Hill and Vicarage Road, Upper Penn. A mixtum compositum, including a blocked N window which may just be Norman, two bays of the N arcade which are c 13 (octagonal piers) and the bays further w which are Perp, a charming brick w tower of 1765 with such typical Gothick details as ogee gables and quatrefoils, the brick N W annexe dated 1826, the W half of the S side with lancet windows, which is of 1845 (by W. Evans), and the whole ashlar faced E end in the style of 1300 which is of 1871-2 by Paley of Lancaster, whose brother was the incumbent then. FONT. Perp, octagonal, with panelled base and panelled short stem. PLATE. Set Of 1796 by W.Sutton Of London. - MONUMENT. John Marsh, 1802 by Flaxman. High and slender tablet with a standing mourning woman beneath the profile medallion of the deceased. - Mrs Bradley 1817. By J.Stephens. Kneeling woman with an anchor. In the churchyard circular base and part of the circular shaft of a Saxon CROSS.
The antiquity of the site is testified to by the well known stump of Lady Godiva's preaching cross on the South side of the building and, less obviously, by two old yew trees on the north side of the building, a common association with old churches. It is instructive to walk round the extensive and rather hilly graveyard. Fine views towards the Clee Hills, spoiled only by some modern wirescape, emphasise the hill-top site.

The reason for Pevsner's use of the phrase mixtum compositum soon becomes clear if you look at the building from high in the eastern end of the graveyard adjacent to the Old Stag's Head. [A location adjacent to a public house is also typical of old village churches]. The tower can be seen between the south aisle (on the left of the picture) and the chancel, the much greater height of the chancel giving a rather higgledy-piggledy appearance, emphasised by the even lower vestry in the extreme left of the picture.

One of the ancient yew trees can be seen on the right hand side of the picture. As with any building housing a living institution, bits and pieces have been tacked on through the years, usually without the modern concern for "fitting in".
A leaflet is available detailing the history of the building with a series of plans starting with the 13th century. The original 13th century church occupied the site of the present north aisle and the north wall of the church is of that period, the original 13th century door is now blocked and would have led into what is now a room used by the choir.
The sketch plan shows the original 13th century layout in red, brown for the layout from the 15th to the 18th centuries, green for the early 19th century, yellow for the rebuilding of 1844 and blue for the 1872 rebuilding.

The complex building history is typical of a building being constantly modified to meet the changing needs of its users. Up until the 18th century there was a small porch or the south side of the church. Since then entry has been through the base of the tower.

In 1844 the south aisle was built but it was rather short and users couldn't see the altar. This was rectified in 1871 when the south aisle was extended, the lady chapel built and the chancel extended to accommodate the newly fashionable choir. The extended chancel bears a remarkable resemblance to St.Philip's before the re-ordering of 1997; this is not too surprising as St.Philip's was built in 1859 as a daughter church. St.Bartholomew's is a modern working building and much of what you see on entering the building reflects this.
The leaflet that can purchased for 20p gives a detailed history of the church. The entrance lobby is unusual and, frankly, rather pokey, but it's probably very effective at keeping the draughts out.

On the north wall there is a stone memorial to Prebendary Edgar Hartill who was vicar from 1918 to 1948. Entrance to the main body of the church is through modern glass doors donated in memory of Violet May Evatt who died in 1964.

On entering the main body of church, the view to the east window is the first thing to strike the visitor. This is everybody's idea of what a church should look like. There are also traditional Victorian pews and a pulpit to the left. Before 1979 the appearance was even more traditional with a carved wooden screen separating the nave from the chancel. This screen has been moved to a position between the lady chapel and south aisle and effectively defines the lady chapel as an area for private prayer.
As part of the 1979 reorganisation a simple modern holy table was installed in the position formerly occupied by the screen. This meant that the officiating priest could, as is modern practice, celebrate communion standing behind the table and facing the congregation.

When the chancel was enlarged to provide space for the choir, a pipe organ was installed to the north of the chancel. The painted metal pipes are conspicuous at the end of the north aisle. The organ is described as a Walker organ, it was ordinally installed in the north aisle itself but this was awkward and the present organ chamber was built in 1901. In front of the organ pipes is a wooden bookstand donated in 1963 by the 6th Wolverhampton Company of the Boys' Brigade to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Also in the north aisle is the blocked original door to the 13th century church. This too carries a 20th century monumental inscription reading: "In Memory of William Adams for 28 years borough treasurer died 3rd August 1960 aged 59 years. This memorial is enclosed in one of the original doorways to the l3th Century Church the North wall of which still stands".

In 2000 the church raised the very large amount of money needed for a modern church hall and centre which has now (2000) been built on the north side of the church.

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