St John the Baptist, Middleton

There has probably been a church on the site since Anglo Saxon times although no evidence of an earlier church remains. The present church was built in the Norman style probably at the end of the 12th century. The walls of the chancel and parts of the lower south wall of the nave date back to Norman times. At the end of the 13th century the North Aisle was added and the tower was built in the 15th century.

Sharpening arrows

According to the guide book the grooves in the sandstone were made when implements were sharpened. Presumably this includes arrows and these marks are far more obvious than the ones at St Giles, Packwood. The church porch was built in the 18th century but above the church door can be seen Norman dog-tooth stonework over the original 800 year old church entrance.

The font is believed to be late 19th century and the wooden carved top is made of oak. The chancel screen is made of oak and is 15th century – to my mind it was the highlight of the visit, with so many beautiful carvings. The pulpit is believed to be late 17th century. The Nave windows were restored and fitted with stained glass in the 1890s and may be by Kempe.


The Fitzherbert Recess is the oldest monument in the church and the small brass plant has an inscription in Latin to Dorothy Fitzherbert (nee Willoughby) who died in 1507.

The 17th century Willoughby Monument is very important architecturally and is 17 feet high. It was erected in memory of Francis Willoughby (a naturalist who died in 1665) and his wife Cassandra (died 1675). This and other Willoughby gravestones show the link with nearby Middleton Hall. The White Memorial is in memory of Samuel and Benjamin White whose charity constructed six almshouses in the village.

When Victorian plasterwork was removed from the Nave in 1994 the remains of 14th century wall paintings were revealed.

This page is an edited version of a piece published on Ragged Robin’s Nature Notes blog, and reproduced with the author’s permission.

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