aim of the Friends of Hope Bagot Church is to strengthen the feeling
of community we share and to widen the circle of people who already
value the church and the churchyard, and contribute to their maintenance,
or who simply visit and enjoy its peace and tranquillity.
the church, there is an inscription on the wall behind the pulpit
which reads: "This Church was adorned anno domini 1681".
seems probable that a considerable amount of work was done at this
time including the restoration of the roof of the Nave and the
installation of the altar rails. The Patron at this time was Sir
William Jones who was Attorney General to Charles II and a very rich
1986, the Shropshire Family History Society gave the church a copy of
the "Monumental Inscriptions of St. John the Baptist (excluding
the interior of the church)" This was transcribed by Knowbury
Woman’s Institute which lists 95 inscriptions between 1707 and 1982
and which was updated in 1999.
local community are very proud of their picturesque little Norman
church and its pretty churchyard. The churchgoers and visitors alike
are made welcome. The church door is unlocked each morning and locked
up again at dusk.
This description is drawn entirely from a longer document prepared by
Mr. Darlington, the original of which is in the Hope Bagot Millennium
Time Capsule to be opened in the year 2100.
is a very ancient Yew tree in the churchyard itself. This may have
survived its youth because it was considered to be a sacred tree –
its position possibly relating to the well beneath the tree whose
waters are believed to have healing properties for eyes and may well
have been used for Baptism in the early years, hence the dedication
of the church to St. John the Baptist. There is a certificate hanging
in the Vestry authenticating the tree as at least 1600 years old and
signed by four people well known in their respective fields: David
Bellamy, naturalist; Allen Meredith, Arboriculturist; Robert Hardy,
Longbow enthusiast; And Robert Runcie, the then Archbishop of
Canterbury. They appended a note on the back stating that "This
is a minimum age, the tree is probably much older". The
present procedure for maintaining the churchyard is to allow the wild
flowers to grow throughout the Spring so that the whole churchyard is
a mass of colour and is at its best around the time of the annual
festival in May. The grass is cut in July and
friends of the church help with raking up the grass, trimming edges,
tidying the graves and in general maintaining the surroundings,
including cutting the hedges. In this work Caring For God's Acre http://www.caringforgodsacre.org.uk/ and the Stourbridge Rambling
Club have become firm supporters so that up to 30 people are involved
in the exercise. This is followed by lunch on the lawn in the
churchyard or the Village Hall, depending on the weather. Thereafter
the grass is cut approximately every three weeks until the Autumn
with some patches being left to allow late flowering plants to seed.
are over 100 species of wild flowers and grasses and almost as many
lichens growing in the churchyard. Joy Ricketts and Claire Leather,
who are lichen experts, came from Worcester and surveyed the lichens
on the church and gravestones and produced a list of 65 species.
the church, there are leaflets with a map showing three walks around
the parish which many visitors have found worth following.