The First Church

Springfield formed part of the Parish of St. Mary’s. The parish church stood on Stafford Street until the ring road development of the late 1960s. Even before the larger areas of housing were built, the vicar, the Rev. J. Kitchingman and no doubt the leading members of the congregation decided that something needed to be done to satisfy the spiritual needs of the growing Springfield population, especially those of the children. As a result a Sunday school was set up in the workshop of coffin maker, Mr. William Jones, at his house in Field Street, in 1872.

By October of that year plans were already in hand to build a church at Springfield and fund raising began. On Thursday 31st October, and on the two following days, a fund-raising bazaar was held by St. Mary’s at the Exchange Building that stood in Exchange Street opposite the retail market hall. The Mayor, Joseph Ford opened the proceedings, which were attended by several prominent members of local society including Major Monckton and his family, and Mrs Thorneycroft and her daughters from Wrottesley Hall.

There were six stalls in the bazaar, one of which, described as the “Springfields stall” displayed items that were provided by the Springfield inhabitants. The entrance fee was reduced to sixpence on the last day so that the less well-off could attend.

A total of £370 was raised, and on Thursday 27th March, 1873 a temporary church made of corrugated iron and fitted internally with varnished woodwork opened in Grimstone Street.

The Bishop of Lichfield opened the church which seated 300 people and became known as St. Stephen’s Iron Church. Although a further £130 still had to be raised towards the £500 construction cost, this seems to have quickly been done, because by the following year enough money had been raised to purchase more land on which to build a permanent church.

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