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The Church of the Good Shepherd, The Hook

On Tuesday 20th September, 1870 the Chapel of Ease at the Hook, the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, was consecrated by the Bishop of Worcester. He preached at the morning service and, in the afternoon, the preacher was the Bishop of Exeter, Dr Frederick Temple, an old friend of the Rector, Robert Lawson. Berrows Journal was disappointed that his sermon did not reawaken any of the controversy which he had aroused just before his appointment. The "Chapel" was not constituted as a district "Church" until 1985 with its wardens then being given legal status.

The decisions, in 1869, about the building of an extra church for Upton's parishioners were not taken with the same degree of openness as those to replace the old parish church in the later 1870s. There are no mentions in the Vestry minutes and no minutes of the organising committee have been found. The Rector had arrived in the parish in 1864 with a reputation as a church builder: the church at Offenham had been largely rebuilt during his time there and his appointment to the parish of Upton had quickly involved him in the building of the cemetery chapels and lodge. It was considered that another church was needed: the parish had a population of 2,676, but the parish church had "sittings" for only 535. On the roads out towards the Hills there were 85 dwellings - "70 of them being cottages" - the nearest of which was a mile and a half from the parish church. The committee included Sir Edmund Lechmere, Colonel Woodward of The Hyde, Major John Joseph Martin, the Lord of the Manor of Upton, G. E. Martin, his nephew and heir, W. Woodward and G. Osborne, who were local farmers, W. E. Cooper, the chemist, H. Cowley, the draper, F. M. Gregory and T. W. Walker, solicitors, the then curate, the Rev'd W. A. Newman, and Dr Marsh. The Rev'd Robert Lawson was the secretary. The site for the new church was given by Major Martin, by a conveyance in October 1869, "voluntarily and without any valuable consideration." There is unlikely to have been much discussion over the choice of architect: George Row Clarke had designed Upton Schools in 1858 and had quickly and efficiently produced the plans for the cemetery chapels and lodge in 1865. Although he had a London office, an extensive practice and a reputation as a water colourist as well as an architect, Clarke was an Uptonian who had contributed illustrations to Emily Lawson's first book about Upton and whose retired wine merchant father was still an influential figure in the parish.

Clarke produced three sets of plans, the one which was later adopted, one with the vestry further down the side of the chapel and one which was 3ft 6ins wider so that there was room for five people in each pew on either side of the nave rather than four. (It must have been assumed that each person was allocated 1ft 9ins!) Local subscriptions were collected: Major Martin gave 200, The Rector 100, Mrs Attwood 100 &c.a total of 1,059. The Incorporated Church Building Society gave 50 and the Church Extension Society for the Archdeaconry of Worcester 130. The cost was just over 1,343, so there was a small deficit, partly offset by the collections at the first services producing nearly 36. As part of the original design, and with the bell included in the costings, there is a stone bellcote over the chancel arch, the single bell has the inscription:

MEARS & STAINBANK, FOUNDERS, LONDON, 1870.

The Whitechapel Foundry daybooks show that the bell was supplied in July 1870 at a cost of 21, with a further charge of 5 for the stock, wheel, clapper, brasses, rope etc. The bell was rehung a few years ago with new swing-chiming fittings. The Whitechapel Foundry had also been responsible for the bell in the cemetery chapels. In addition there were other gifts to the chapel: the pulpit from Mrs Marsh, the font in memory of Miss Lawson, the Rector's daughter, who had died earlier in the year aged 14, was given by "Fellow members of the Choir and her associates in other parish work", the Communion Plate by the Rector and a Brass Lectern by Mrs Attwood. Other gifts included kneelers, a harmonium, hassocks, hymn books, altar cloths and alms bags. The reredos by Preedy, who had been the architect at Offenham, was the gift, in 1871, of Colonel and Mrs Johnson of The Hill and the Misses Martin. (The ladies were G. E. Martin's sisters.). It has been much altered and lowered since.

The residents at The Boynes played an important part in the life of the chapel from its foundation and for nearly a hundred years thereafter. Mrs Attwood, who had built The Boynes in the 1850s was the daughter of Joseph Grice of Handsworth Hall. In 1844 Elizabeth Grice had married, as his second wife, Thomas Attwood, who in the 1830s and early 1840s, was one of the leading radical politicians in the country and founder of the Birmingham Political Union. By the time of their marriage he was in financial difficulties and far from well. In 1856 he died at Ellerslie in Malvern, a clinic run by his doctor. He is buried in Hanley Castle churchyard. Elizabeth Attwood's two brothers were both Anglican clerics: one, Joseph held curacies at Queenhill and Ripple and lived for a while at The Mount. How much part Mrs Attwood played in starting the chapel is not clear: Mrs Lawson, in The Nation in the Parish, says that the site was provided "by an arrangement between Mrs Attwood and the late Major Martin", but, as noted the site was actually given wholly by Major Martin, although Mrs Attwood contributed generously to the chapel in both cash and gifts. From 1870, until her death in 1888, Elizabeth Attwood played an important part in the life of the chapel and her contribution is recognized in the East Window by Heaton, Butler & Bayne given by George and Louisa Grice-Hutchinson "aided by several Cottager Friends". She is buried with her husband at Hanley Castle.

Louisa Grice-Hutchinson, who inherited The Boynes from Elizabeth Attwood and, with it, an involvement with the Chapel at The Hook was Elizabeth Attwood's niece, the daughter of The Rev'd William Grice. She had married Captain Hutchinson in 1876 and they later incorporated "Grice" into their surname. They moved into the house in the mid 1890s: it had been let for a while after Mrs Attwood's death. In 1891 they had been living at Chambers Court at Longdon where their staff had included a governess, a housekeeper, cook, butler, footman, groom, housemaid, kitchen maid and nurse. Captain Grice-Hutchinson was Conservative M.P. for Aston Manor from 1891 to 1900. He died in 1906: the fine West Window by Henry Payne was given in his memory as was the Lychgate by John S. Lee ARIBA of Theobalds Road, London. Mrs Grice-Hutchinson continued to live at The Boynes until 1936, when she died at the age of 86. The Boynes had been a Red Cross hospital in the 14-18 War and she had run it. She took a great interest in the Boy Scout movement, was awarded their Medal of Merit and was an Hon. Commissioner for Worcestershire. The window in the North East nave by Edward Payne, Henry's son, is in memory of her.

Louisa Grice-Hutchinson was succeeded at The Boynes by her eldest son Lt Colonel Claude Grice-Hutchinson, DSO, and his wife Constance. They had married in 1911 and had been living in Kempsey. Constance was the daughter of George Coventry, a local solicitor and member of the Croome Court Coventry family (his father was a younger son of the 7th Earl). Her mother's younger brother, Arthur Winnington-Ingram was Bishop of London for 38 years from 1901 to 1939: He frequently stayed at The Boynes, lived there for part of each year in retirement and died there in 1946. He worshipped at the Hook and presented the brass altar cross to the Chapel. The family continued to be much involved with the Chapel, so it was natural that the death of their son Lt Cdr Charles Rowan Grice-Hutchinson in Hongkong in 1949 after being seriously wounded in the "Yangtse Incident", when he was navigating officer of H.M.S. London, should be commemorated by a window in the North East nave showing Jesus calming the sea by Thomas William Camm of Smethwick. The Grice-Hutchinsons sold The Boynes and its contents in 1955. Claude Grice-Hutchinson died in June 1955 in Newcastle when they were staying with their son who was Vicar of Blyth: Constance then settled in Hasketon, on the outskirts of Woodbridge in Suffolk. She died there in April 1962. Both are commemorated in the Chapel, Claude by the Oak lectern by R. Hedley and Constance by the restoration of the West window. (Note that the year of her death is wrongly recorded there).

Other than those already mentioned and the War Memorials the two other memorials are the Harvest window in the South East nave, also by Heaton, Butler &Bayne, which commemorates Mrs Julia Woodward of The Hyde, the widow of Colonel Woodward, and that to William Bryant Woodward, the son of Walter Woodward of The Hook Farm, who was Third Officer on the S.S. Sandon Hall when he died in mid Atlantic on 20th August, 1912 from an acute skin infection.

When the Hook Chapel was built and consecrated on 1 rood, 4 perches 19 sq yards of land, the "remainder of the land (not used for the chapel) was consecrated "for an additional burial ground." This was in spite of an Order in Council of 21st March 1865, which ordered that no new burial ground should be opened in the parish of Upton-upon-Severn without the approval of one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State. It was not used for some years and Major Martin, the donor of the land, was himself buried in the Rectory Road cemetery in 1873. In 1905 Major Martin's successor as Lord of the Manor, G. E. Martin, was the first person to be buried at the Hook, where his tombstone, like the plaque to his memory in the parish church, has lettering by Eric Gill. In 1906 G. W. Grice Hutchinson was the next to be buried. In 1907 the position was regularised by an order giving Local Government Board approval for the use of the burial ground. In 1908 it was increased in size by a further 1 rood by a gift from E. G. Bromley-Martin, who had succeeded his father as Lord of the Manor. 960 sq ft of this was to be reserved for Mr Bromley Martin, "his heirs and assigns" and the remainder was for residents of the Hook. The new burial ground was duly consecrated. There had been 172 burials at the Hook, other than on the reserved land, by 1964. Amongst the graves on the reserved land there are the two simple wooden crosses in memory of Susan and Madeleine Bromley-Martin who ran a hospital for French soldiers in France from 1915 until 1919.

(Particular thanks for their help to Mrs Pam Baker and Mrs Kate Chester-Lamb, the Church Wardens, and to Mr David Cottrell, also to Mr Chris Pickford for information about the bell.)

Simon Wilkinson