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The parish of

Kings Norton

Part of the Church of England

St Nicolas' Church

An appeal for old photos & paintings of St Nicolas' Church

St Nicolas' contains a treasure which few ever see. Tucked away in the church's north-east corner, it is known only to those whom curiosity or duty have taken beyond the choir stalls and up to the altar rail. Here, looking down on the sanctuary from the north, glorious in vivid stained glass, stands the Kings Norton Angel.

He is a relative newcomer, having first appeared in 1872, the work of the renowned stained glass manufacturer Hardman & Co. The founder, John Hardman (1767-1844), had been a friend of A.W.Pugin. Together they worked on commissions as far afield as the Houses of Parliament, St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham and St Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney, Australia.

This hidden corner holds another surprise, too. The Angel is remarkable for his beauty, certainly, but also for his setting. He stands in one of two round-headed Norman windows. That suggests the presence of a church here since at least the 12th century.

As you pause to look up at the Angel, consider this : you are standing on a spot where Christians have worshipped for 900 years, maybe longer. This is a place whose roots dig deep into time. It welcomes you into the community of those who have lived by faith before you and invites you to be part of the unfolding story of God's purposes in Kings Norton.

Jesus calls us to His table, rooted firm in time and space, where the Church in earth and heaven finds a common meeting place. Share the bread and wine, His body. Share the love of which we sing. Share the feast for saints and sinners hosted by our Lord and King.

"Jesus Calls Us" | The Iona Community

Dig Deeper

Lost Colour

Victorian Vandalism

The recent restoration of nearby Saint Nicolas' Place (15th cent.) has provided valuable insights into the challenges of renovating an ancient building. The result, as you will know if you have been there, is a masterful balance between old and new.

The same sensitivity to cultural heritage was not always shown by our ancestors. St Nicolas' Church underwent extensive renovations between 1863-72.

The work was badly needed since, according to a contemporary record, the building was "in the last stage of dilapidation". However, in the process, the architect W.J.Hopkins replaced the roof and stripped the plaster from the internal walls, destroying the remaining mediaeval frescoes.

Before that date, until the paint faded, the interior of the building would probably have been a riot of colour. Worshippers would have been surrounded by hand-painted Biblical scenes whose purpose, in a largely illiterate society, would have been educational as well as decorative.