CHURCH HISTORY


                                   
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Village History

Local Lore has it that Catshill was named after St Chad, Bishop of York and Mercia in 669 AD, but there is no evidence in legal or parochial records that supports this theory.

The earliest traceable reference to the village in the Assize Rolls of Worcestershire is in 1221, where it is written "Catteshule", while in the court rolls of the manor of Hales (Halesowen) in 1472 it has become "Catshill Elde". Strange as it may seem, it may be that the simple meaning of Catshill is the Hill or House of the Cat.

There is very little industry in the village. Weaving and button making were earlier probabilities, but for two centuries it's staple industry was nail making. This died out in the 1930's.

First "Primitive Methodists" in Catshill

It is suggested (in a booklet called "Our Chapel" written by Rev Arthur Wilkes in 1931) that about 100 years earlier, in 1831, the first Primitive Methodists met in a rented room in Barley Mow Lane in Catshill. These early pioneers, men and women of faith and vision, undaunted by opposition and often physical violence, were the founders of the church in Catshill.

From Barley Mow Lane the enthusiasts moved to Golden Cross Lane in 1851 when the first meeting house was opened in
Vine Cottage, which still stands today just a few yards from the current building. It cost £95 7s 0d to acquire! However it appears there were some difficulties regarding funds (see attached extract from the Primitive Methodist Magazine of April 1851)

First Methodists buildings

The first purpose built chapel, erected in 1866, stood at the front of the current car park (adjacent to the footpath) and cost £198 to build (see picture on left)

Soon however, there was a need for a 
schoolroom which was built adjacent to the old building in 1910 and cost £884 (see picture on right)

Youth Hall

The next addition was a Youth Hall at the rear of the premises to cater for the needs of growing youth organisations. The picture here shows it looking through the alleyway between the 1866 chapel and the 1910 schoolroom.

The current church building

By the 1960's, the two original buildings had become insufficient for the congregation and so plans were drawn up for the building that stands today, which was opened in October 1968. The picture on the left shows the laying of the foundation stone by Ken Wilkes, the Rev Tony Bullock and the architect, Don Cornfield.

The picture on the right shows the completed building. 

Replacing the old Youth Hall

In the late 1980's it was decided that the original youth hall, which was really "past its sell by date" needed replacing and at the same time we should add on a first floor area to provide a few more meeting rooms. We therefore demolished the old hall (which was always meant to be a temporary building) and opened up the rear of the church so that the new hall could be attached rather than separate and to provide an area for four new rooms upstairs. The two pictures show "work in progress" with the left picture showing the rear of the church being opened in readiness for the new hall and the picture on the right showing the new hall roof being added. The new youth hall and extra rooms were opened in December 1991.

Latest changes (to the front of the building)

When the current building was designed it was always envisaged that the front could be extended outwards as required, and in 2014 we finally achieved that ambition by building on a glass fronted porch area (seen left). This has given us more space, has made the church lighter and we hope allowed those passing to see what goes on inside (before there was just the old solid wall that meant unless you were willing to venture inside you had no idea what went on there!)

We also created a coffee area (see right) with a new kitchen plus a toilet for those less able, and we also built a new ramp to give better access to the bottom level of the church (the original ramp was too steep)