St. John’s Church History

This elegant little church was built in the days of William IV. The land was gifted by the Sneyd family and the neat, post-Georgian building was the work of the famous architect and builder, James Turbshaw, who also built Ashcombe Park, Ilam Hall and Swynnerton Hall. The stone was quarried locally and the cost of the building, given as £1,200, was raised by subscription.

The first incumbent of Wetly Rocks was the Reverend Henry Sneyd M.A. a son of the Sneyd Family of Ashcombe Park. The church was completed by 1834 and the dedication service took place on Saint John the Baptists Day, June 24th 1834.

The church was consecrated by the Right Revd, Henry Rider, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry on the 24th of June 1834. The first services were held on 10th August, 1834.

Incumbents;

1836 – 1858            Henry Sneyd

1858 – 1879            Hugh Thomas Downman

1879 – 1892            James Hool Sharples

1892 – 1931            Ernest Henry Nash

1932 – 1947            Albert James Paskin

1947 – 1961            Sidney Wells Saywell

1961 – 1970            Frank Anderton Moss

1970 – 1997            Donal Royston Whiteley

1998 – 2016         Susan Elizabeth Goodwin

2017-Present         Michael Stuart Follin

 

The Revd E.H. Nash, who served the church for 39 years, is remembered in a memorial window on the south wall of the church. The cost of this window was £100, given by his parishioners in 1936. There are many people in the parish who still remember him and his successors.

Mr and Mrs. Podmore, of Consall Hall, who died together in 1958, are remembered in the second window of the south wall.

The window on the right of the Chancel, Dated 1976, is in memory of Mary Dixon Woodcock and was commissioned by her husband. Her pet dog is featured in the design.

On the left of the Chancel, the window, by donations from the parishioners in 1973, is in memory of Revd. F.A. Moss.

Various other memorial plaques are to be found around the church.

The main east window is in memory of William Meakin of Westwood Manor, Who died in May, 1889.

The memorial grave stone to the Meakin family is made of red granite and can be found behind the church to the left. Further back can be found the grave of the first man who was buried in the church yard in 1835. The stone in memory of William Yates was erected by the vicar and people of the parish.

In 1883 there were;

124     Free sittings in the body of the church

70      Free sittings in the gallery

41      Pews (187 seats) rented for the vicar’s stipend at 2s. 6d

3        Pews (13 persons) were set apart, 5 seats for the minister, 4 seats for his servants and 4 seats for Mrs Sneyd.

All pew rents were subsequently abolished by the Revd Nash who took Easter offerings in lieu.

The first parish beadle to be appointed was Henry Smith. His main duty was to keep order in church, in case of any unruly behaviour. His annual salary was £2. 12s.

The Electricity was put into the church in 1935 at a cost of £49 18s 6d. The most recent cost of oil for the heating was £986!

In 2010 the Church hosted a flower festival based on ‘Stations of the Cross’ as part of the patronal festival. This was regarded by visitors as an exquisite display and many kind comments were received from the three-day event.