Index
Use the links on the top and left navigation bars to find out more about life at St Mary's.

Other
An ever-changing list of all the other items we offer. Explore and enjoy!
Wedding Information

We are very pleased that you are thinking of getting married at St Mary's. It is a beautiful church and a popular location for weddings, so we have plenty of experience! We aim to make your wedding a truly happy and memorable occasion.

You are probably not sure of how to proceed in terms of booking a date and considering all the options you have in preparing for this very special occasion.

Use the links to help you to make your initial booking as well as planning for the big day.

If you want any more information, you can find it on the Church of England website. Click on the banner below to visit it.

Funerals

Funerals are normally arranged by Funeral Directors who will make all bookings and organise everything for you.

If you wish to have a burial in a new grave in the churchyard at St Mary's, the deceased person must have been resident in the Parish of Old Swinford or on the Electoral Roll of St Mary's.

Click here to see a list of roads which are part of the Parish.

The Diocese of Worcester has issued guidelines for the erection of memorials in the churchyard.
Please click here for details.

To find out costs for funeral services click here.

Family History

If you are interested in researching your family through our Parish Records you will find that most of them, except for the most recent, are kept in the Diocesan Archive in Worcester.

The parish records for all available Worcestershire parishes and some of its neighbours are now housed at a brand new facility at" The Hive" in Worcester city Centre.

The Hive was opened in 2012 and combines the Worcester University Library and county archives service. All the parish records are freely available in microfilm, microfiche or Bishops transcripts form and the film readers are also readily available. There are ample parking facilities nearby and transport links are all easily accessed. the building has free wi fi connections and there is also a cafeteria available.

The contact details are as follows

Worcester Archive and Archeology Service
The Hive
Sawmill Walk, The Butts

Worcester
Tel: 01905 822866

archive@wocestershire.gov.uk

Although the records at St Mary’s Old Swinford go back to as early as 1602 they are not all kept at the church.

If you are looking for any records of:

baptisms between 1602 and 1889 or

burials from between 1602 to 1884 or

marriages from between 1602 and 1877

then you need to visit the record office at Worcester.

The registers are in 46 volumes with parcel numbers for each volume. You will need to ask for accession number 9150

We do have copies of 3 volumes of these records which are volumes 12 &13 which contain marriages between 1780 and 1813 and volume 6 which contains baptisms and funerals between 1768 and 1800.

If you are looking for any registers of:

marriages, between 1877 and 1994 or 

baptisms between 1889 and 1972 or

burials between 1884 and 1933 or

register of graves between 1930 and 1957

then these are also held at the records office in Worcester.

You will need to ask for accession number 14267

Any records from these dates to the present day are held in the safe at St Mary’s Church.

To access the records we hold in the safe you would need to make an appointment to meet with a member of the church staff who will assist you as much as they can.

Copies can be made of any records if you need to record evidence.

The Parish Office is open every day from 9.00 – 12.00 noon and the church is also open on a Saturday morning between 10.00am and 12.00 noon when staff will be available to help.

The contact details for the Parish Office are 01384 441003 or e mail st.mary.os@btconnect.com.

It should be noted that the graveyard is very large and in parts very overgrown. It is always advisable to seek help before attempting to find a grave and the following points should be noted:

1. Not all graves are marked with headstones.

2. Many inscriptions are badly worn and/or illegible.

3. Many graves have been damaged or have fallen over time.

4. In the past, the layout of burials was random with graves often being cut across or through other plots.

5. The churchyard here is very ancient with burials dating back over 900 years.

6. The burial registers do not always list where graves were sited.

If you wish to visit the graveyard you are most welcome to do so. Strong footwear is recommended - be prepared for a bit of a scramble!

In 1989/90 a survey of the graveyard was carried out by The Family History Society in association with the Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry.

If a grave has any kind of inscription on the headstone then it will be recorded in this survey. 

The survey resulted in the production of a detailed map of the graveyard, with inscriptions and a description of all the graves and including the memorials inside the church.

A copy of this document is held in the Parish Office

To trace a relative you will need to start at the index to identify the person then you should  be able to reference the grave on the map. The survey is not totally complete but has the vast majority of graves recorded.

Groups
There are many different groups and activities taking place here at St Mary's. New members are always welcome so feel free to contact the organisers to find out more.
Children and Families

We have a wide range of activities for parents, carers, children and young people.

Worship Together

This is an all age service held on the second Sunday of the month.  This service is slightly shorter and children take an active part in the worship.  During this service we pray for those who are to be baptised in the near future and present certificates to the newly baptised.

Baptism

If you are interested in baptism for any member of the family come and see the clergy on Saturday mornings in church from 10.00-11.00. Tea and coffee available.

Noah's Ark

                Parent and Toddler Group. Babies welcome.

Wednesdays (term time) 1.30-3.00 pm in the Church Hall

Lots of toys, crafts and singing.

Come along for a warm welcome and a friendly chat over a cup of tea or coffee. Meet other parents and carers with Pre-school children. Activities, games and music to suit children from babies to age four.

Children Together

Children aged 4-10 have their own activity time during the main service in the narthex.  Children aged 3 are welcome to join them but must be accompanied by a parent. 

Youth Club

Fridays 6.00-7.00 pm (term time) in the Church Hall. Supervised games and activities ranging from craft to cookery for children aged from 6-12 years. Outdoor Summer activities and local walks. Annual weekend residential trip to the Far Forest.

Choir

Music plays an important part in the life of our Church. In 1995 the organ was completely renovated. There are always a number of pupils learning the organ at St Mary's and many members of the choir play musical instruments (as indeed do other members of the congregation). The dedication of our large choir and their choirmaster reflects the high standard of music they create. The choir is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music and all junior choristers are trained for the Dean's and Bishop's awards. The choir sings on Sundays at most 10.00 am services and all 6.30 pm services including a full Choral Evensong once a month. When required it provides music and anthems at weddings and other special services. New junior choristers are accepted at any time from the age of 8 and enquiries from adult singers are always welcome for the alto, tenor and bass parts. Rehearsals take place on Friday evenings in church. For details please contact the

Choirmaster Robin Walker. Tel: 01905 353939 or

07774 445475  robin@holland-house.me.uk

Mothers' Union 

The Mothers’ Union meets once a month at 2.15pm on the second Tuesday of the month in the Coach House.  They are an international organisation which actively supports family life.

 
We also have strong associations with the following local schools and colleges. You can click on the links below to access their websites:

The Rector regularly visits schools within the parish to take assemblies and we host several services during the year including carol services at Christmas, Charter and Founders' Day services and Leavers' services.

We also welcome visits to the church by groups of students from schools to use the church as a learning resource. Topics studied could be local history, art, geography, maths, RE and citizenship. We have trained teachers on the staff at St Mary's who are CRB cleared and who would be willing to work with staff in schools to prepare a visit based upon a specific learning objective.

Contact the Parish Administrator on 01384 441003 or e mail st.mary.os@btinternet.com if you would like to know more about bringing a group of children to the church.

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL OUR YOUTH WORKERS HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE CRB (CRIMINAL RECORDS BUREAU).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT OUR CHILD PROTECTION OFFICER,

MRS. LIZ FOURNESS ON 01384 394359

Study and Prayer Groups

There are several different study and prayer groups which meet through out the year at different venues.

Some of these are in-house and based around Old Swinford, but we also have strong links with other churches in Stourbridge and we often hold courses in conjunction with them.

New members are always welcome. Please see individual courses and groups for details of how to get involved.

Committees

There are many different Committees here, all of which contribute to improving the life of the Church, the Community or the wider world.

We raise money for charities, organise social events and try to reach out locally, nationally and globally to people who need help and support.

It is eay to be involved either in a large or a small way. Often people say 'I'd like to help, but I don't see how I can make a difference.' God teaches us that even the smallest among us can make a difference. If you would like to make a difference, then perhaps you may like to be involved in one of these committees.

The Coach House

The Coach House Arts and Crafts Community Centre was developed in 1995 as a restoration project from the old rectory coachhouse.

The Coach House offers an ideal venue with quiet ambience in a convenient location, close to Stourbridge Junction station in the centre of Oldswinford. Why not try this historic old building for your next event, function or series of meetings?

 

The facilities are ideal for groups such as

·                 Bridge clubs

·                 Art discussion groups

·                 Local history societies

·                 Drama groups

·                 Creative leisure

·                 Book clubs / reading groups

 

Both the studio/workshop and the class-room + annex with kitchen facilities are available for hire and the room lay-out can be arranged to accommodate various meeting formats for up to 40 people. A lift provides disabled access to all rooms.

 

For further details please contact:

The Parish Administrator 

  Tel:  01384 441003

Church Hall

The Church Hall adjacent to St Mary's plays host to church events throughout the year, including the Christmas Market on the first Saturday in December and other social occasions.

It is available to hire for private parties, although we do not let it for children's parties.

If you wish to enquire about booking the Church Hall, please click here to contact the Parish Office.

Helping out

 

We are always on the look out for new helpers for a huge range of tasks which allow for the smooth running of the church. If you wish to be involved in any of them, please click here to contact the Parish Office.

Disabled Facilities

The following facilities for the disabled have been installed at St Mary's:

  • Toilet for the disabled
  • Wheelchair access through the west door of the church
  • Handrails
  • Loop system (please tune your hearing aid to 'T')
  • Parking for the disabled on the Rectory driveway, accessible to the church path via a ramp
  • Most services available in large print (please ask the sidespeople for a copy)

If you are a disabled person visiting the church and require any additional information, please click here to contact the Parish Office.

History of St Mary's

St Mary's is the mother church of Stourbridge, a place of worship that has stood on this same site since at least the tenth century. The oldest surviving part of the building is the tower, built in the late 1400s. From the sixteenth century until 1982, it was graced by a spire. The tower supports eight bells, some cast in the seventeenth century.

To learn more about the bells click here.

For most of its early history, St Mary's was the only place of worship for the people of Stourbridge, Lye and Wollescote. St Thomas's was opened for the inhabitants of Stourbridge in 1735, but it was not until the nineteenth century that most of the remaining districts had their own buildings in which to worship.

To find out more about other churches in the area click here.

NB Thanks must go to Mr Nigel Perry for his excellent booklet 'The Story of St Mary's Church and the Parish of Old Swinford' from which much of this information is obtained.

Copies of the booklet are on sale in the church

St Mary's Parish

The Parish of St Mary's includes the district of Old Swinford, the southern part of central Stourbridge, parts of Wollescote and Pedmore and some roads in Norton.

The parish boundary extends for some ten miles and borders the parishes of St Peter's Pedmore, St Andrew's Wollescote, St Thomas's Stourbridge, Christ Church The Lye and St Michael's Norton.

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