St.Lawrence, Bidford on Avon, is a pleasant church but with nothing of apparently outstanding interest. Much of its interest is of the historical sort and some of the old items are hidden away.
There was no church recorded here in 1086 (Domesday Book) though there may have been a daughter chapel of Salford Priors. But there was achurch by the 1120's, when it was claimed by Kenilworth Priory. None of the architecture of that period is visible now, the earliest being of the mid 13th century. The 13th cent. pieces are the chancel, part of the nave and the west tower. The nave is 7' wider at the chancel end than at the tower end. The two aisles were built in 1835 and the chancel restored in 1886/9; the chancel arch is still largely 13th century. The tower is of 2 stages, the upper stage narrower; it is this 2nd storey which acts as the clock chamber. The clock itself is of interest to clock enthusiasts; it carries 'Halford fecit' and is of the late 17th century. The 6 bells are 100 years younger (1791). The eucharistic plate date from 1663 and the parish registers (in Warwick Record Office) from 1664.
The lords of the manor since 1654 (to 1852) were the Skipwiths and during that time they held the right of presenting to the church (the advowson). It is a monument to the first wife of Sir Fulwar Skipwith that one sees in the chan cel; she was Dorothy Parker, died 1655.
The Society was recently able to record 370 gravestone inscriptions as well as 37 which Bloom found at the start of this century and which are now not readable. Our earliest find was that of Anne Standly in 1667 who is buried in Bidford churchyard with her five sons; the epitaph runs:
'Here lieth mother with 5 children more
Confined in earth till God doth them restore
To earth again when Trumpet last shall sound
Thayle live not die or ere in mould be found'.
Alcester & District Local History Society
Summer 1985 Index