St Michael's Church, Baddesley Clinton
Although not part of the National Trust’s property, the Grade 2* listed St Michael’s Church is well worth a visit, and has many connections to the families who have lived in the house.
A short stroll along a 250-yard section of the Heart of England Way will bring you to the church. Take the path on the right as you leave reception; there is a sign to guide you.
In the early spring, the churchyard comes alive with flowers – first snowdrops and then daffodils and bluebells. There is an annual “Bluebell Service” in the church each May.
Records show a church on this site in 1305, and the nave dates to that time, but there may have been a church there two or even three centuries earlier. Originally dedicated to St James, the dedication was changed to St Michael, possibly following the 19th century restoration.
Nicholas Brome (c.1450-1517) was Lord of the Manor of Baddesley Clinton and lived in the house. One day in 1485, he came home and surprised a man in the parlour “chockinge” (stroking) Brome’s wife Elizabeth “under ye chinne”. Enraged, Brome drew his sword and killed him, only to discover he had murdered the Rector of St James. There is a bloodstain on the floor of the library which may, or may not, be where the murder occurred. In penance for this act Brome built the towers of this church and of the church at nearby Packwood. They are sometimes known as the “Towers of Atonement”. He also stipulated in his will that he should be buried in the porch of the church:
" Within the Church door as the people may tread upon mee as they cone [sic] into the church."
In 1870, during the restoration of the church, the tomb was opened and remains were found in an upright position.
The church also contains many references to the Ferrers family who lived at Baddesley for many generations. In the chancel is the gaily painted “table tomb” of Sir Edward Ferrers who died in 1535. The nearby east window has 16th century stained glass, with likenesses of Sir Edward Ferrers and Lady Constance, who paid for the window. There are also several examples of the Ferrers coat of arms, which features a seven-diamond pattern, particularly in the two funerary hatchments.
The unique organ is inscribed “Sarah Green, Organ Builders to their Majesties, Isleworth 1797”, and is used regularly for recitals.