Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting BA NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Banner will once again be pride of the parish
A RECENTLY re-discovered treasure belonging to a Bromsgrove church is set to be skilfully conserved and displayed in all its glory for future generations to enjoy.
While having a spring tidy-up, the vicar of St Godwald's in Aston Fields, the Rev Trica Allsopp, was sorting through fabrics in a large chest when, to her amazement, she came across the rather worse for wear pastoral banner.
Composed of painted fabric and measuring 4ft 8in by 2ft 6in, it was painted in 1927 by the well-known stained glass designer/maker and decorative artist Albert Lemmon, from Bromsgrove.
Banners were very important and took pride of place in the days when churches used to stage processions for important events and dates such as Easter, patronal services and Sunday school treats, which were often tea and games taken in a local field.
Lemmon worked for a time with the leading stained glass artist AJ Davis at the Bromsgrove Guild, before establishing his own studio in the Strand in Bromsgrove in about 1927.
Lemmon's work can be seen in many windows in local churches, including St Godwald's, St Peter's and All Saints', as well as in the hall in what was Perry Hall Hotel in Kidderminster Road, today a dormitory for Bromsgrove School.
“We need to spend money on putting the banner in good order, because it is part of the heritage of the St Godwald’s parish for future generations."Caroline Spencer, the friends’ secretary
The banner, now an overall faded silver grey, depicts St Godwald as a bishop wearing full eucharistic vestments with a mitre and a crook tucked under an arm.
In his left hand is a model of the church set in a grassed area and with a spire, which Bromsgrove architect John Cotton included in his original design, but because of a shortage of cash was never built.
Over the years the banner has become worn and has lost much of its original colour.
Images symbolic of Aston Fields feature on either side of the saint's feet.
On the left is a steam train descending the famous Lickey Incline beside the old St Godwald's chapel. The banner also shows the churchyard with wild flowers including snowdrops, which still evident today.
On the right is a detailed picture of the now demolished station Wagon Works set against a country background and with smoke issuing from the work's chimneys rising up in the side panel.
At the bottom are Latin scrolls which translated read pray for the church' and pray for the parish.' The cost of the specialist work needed to repair and conserve the banner and to mount it in a frame in readiness to be displayed in church is in the region of Â£2,000.
It is being undertaken by a firm in Leamington Spa.
Half of the money has been obtained from the Edward and Dorothy Cadbury Trust, the remainder will be donated by the Society of the Friends of St Godwald's.
The friends is a group dedicated to raising money for the maintenance and beautification of the church.
Caroline Spencer, the friends' secretary, who has been a regular worshipper at St Godwald's for more than 30 years, said she is delighted the banner will once again to be put on view.
"We need to spend money on putting the banner in good order, because it is part of the heritage of the St Godwald's parish for future generations," she said.
More information about Albert Lemmon can be found in Roy Albutt's excellent book, Stained Glass Windows of Bromsgrove and Redditch, Worcestershire.
Former Catshill resident Roy, a self-confessed stained glass fanatic, is currently researching Lemon's life in readiness for a book he is publishing about him later this year.