Bill's Lecture - Lye & Stambermill






Bill's Lecture

Early Days
(Lagos, Oldbury,Langley)

Lye & Stambermill

Oldswinford & Stourbridge

Brierley Hill

Cradley Heath, Cradley & Dudley

Wollescote & Kinver


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Other Works

Bill at Work



It was in the church at Lye that I must have looked upon the first stained glass window I ever saw, when as an infant I went to the Sunday School there. Much later as an adult member of the choir I looked at this window for hours shifting the figures about into differing attitudes, during years and years of boring sermons. It was placed there almost 100 years ago, is very simple in style, and contains some completely black glass, which throws the figure of Christ into bright contrast.


For many years it was the only window in the church until after the 1914 war when the memorial to Fred Hill and the War Memorial windows were erected (St George). The Rev. Conan Davis, the incumbent of the time, collected money from all over the district and it was not realised that the memorial would be inside the Parish Church. This upset some of the nonconformists who had subscribed, so later a monument was erected in the churchyard facing the High Street.

  For many years our Town Librarian, Mr Fred Bristow, used to relate the story of how he had returned from the War and also had his name on the window among the fallen. ‘Poor old Fred, numbered among the Dead’.  

  The Hill window was put in to the memory of Fred Hill, master of the church schools, who died in 1918.







There is also a Second World War memorial made by Edgar Lemon of Bromsgrove whom I knew as clever artist in my early days.

He also created the Hodgkiss window which has several points of interest upon it. St Andrew glares out at the other saint on the other side of the nave. He also appears in a boat which seems to tell the story of the miraculous drought, except that there are only two disciples in the boat and one of these is looking more like Noah flying his pigeons. It could not be the story of Christ walking on the waters and calming the sea because he stands in the distance, a very diminutive figure firmly on a rock.

Beneath the well known passages of ‘Their sound is gone unto all lands’ is a fair representation of Worcester Cathedral and ‘and their words to the end of the world’ is ‘The Lye’. The Lye – notice the local vernacular which seems to completes the passage. Is the artist trying to convey that Lye is the end of the world?

  It is a nice bit of painting of the Parish Church. One can also see in the picture the Ebenezer Methodist Church which recently fell apart, and more smoking chimney stacks than ever I recall from the past, and whatever are those two glasshouse cones doing in Lye! It would have been a far better thing to have shown a glimpse of the Oldnall Colliery which once was a familiar landmark dominating the scene as much as it once dominated the industrial life of the district.

We will now proceed to Stambermill where the living has just been amalgamated with Lye. The chancel here is apsidal in form with the roof running up at angles to an apex at the height of the nave roof. This makes a good sounding board for the choir and in the apse are three stained glass windows. In churches throughout the country can be seen the usual ‘Pot-Boilers’, the artist’s expression to describe windows which are easy to dash off and provide his bread and butter. I would rate these as The Good Shepherd, Christ blessing the little children and the Light of the world, in that order. They have been repeated ad nauseum everywhere, and Stambermill has its share with two Good Shepherds, two Blessing the Little Children and one Light of the World.

I plead guilty to the Good Shepherd on the right of this group which was put there in 1938. My work at this church included the renewal of many of the leaded windows a few years ago. One windy morning, whilst putting in the large West window which was high up on the West gable near the roof, the Rev. Lutton came up and told me he had had a dream in which he saw me fall from the top of the scaffolding. As you can imagine, this cheered me up no end for the rest of the day.

(St Mark's Church Stambermill was demolished in February 1986.  The fate of the windows is unknown.  They have probably been lost)