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About St. Editha's

St. Editha's is the largest parish church in Staffordshire, a treasured landmark in the heart of England and one of the oldest places of Christian worship in the county.

This magnificent building has a rich history, reflected in its architecture and treasures. As a place of great beauty, worship and wonder, it continues to inspire and encourage all who visits it as tourists, pilgrims or worshippers. 

Home to a welcoming and flourishing church community, we are committed to the daily offering of worship and prayer to God, and warmly welcome all who come on their own journey of search and discovery. 

In addition to daily services, the church also acts as an iconic venue for a range of events including concerts, festivals, awards ceremonies, performances, debates, educational forums and more.  St. Editha's has an incredible past, we are are confident that it has a vibrant future.

 

Be a part of the story - come and explore this magnificent church for yourself. We look forward to welcoming you soon!

A (very) brief history

The present building stands upon the ground where successive churches have stood since the 8th century. The first church was destroyed, along with the town, by the Danes in 874 and it was not until the time of Æthelflæd that a second church arose. The Danes ruined this church in 943 and it was King Edgar who re-founded it around 963. Editha was probably King Edgar's aunt who died in the 960s and was canonized shortly after for her life of devotion and piety and then made the patron saint of the now collegiate church.

As a collegiate church, St. Editha's had it's own Dean and Chapter, much like a Cathedral. The college was dissolved in 1548 under the terms of the Dissolution of Colleges Act 1547 and the church became the parish church for the town of Tamworth. St. Editha's now works as one parish alongside St. Chad's, Hopwas; St. Andrew's, Kettlebrook and St. Francis', Leyfields.

In 1345 the town and church were destroyed by fire and so began a rebuilding, being the fourth (present) church. Begun in 1350 and completed in 1369, this edifice is a monument to the man whose task it became to rebuild and enlarge the church, Dean Baldwin de Witney. Amongst its many treasures, the church contains the St. George's Chapel, which was the home of a mediaeval trading guild.

The church was extensively restored by Benjamin Ferrey and George Gilbert Scott in the 1850s, and William Butterfield, in around1871.

What to see

As well as the beautiful Pre-Raphaelite stained glass, Norman arches and magnificent organ, St. Editha’s Church is famous for its extraordinary and rare double winding staircase, which climbs the whole height of the tower. The staircase had two independent entrances, one from the outside, and the other from the outside of the church. Two persons may ascend the tower simultaneously without seeing each other until they reach the top; or one may go up and another come down without meeting.

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