In the late 1950’s, the Ettingshall area was being rapidly depopulated, while at the same time a new housing estate was being developed at Ettingshall Park on the slopes of Sedgley Beacon. It was considered that a new church should be built at Ettingshall Park to serve the new population and that it should replace the old church which would then be closed and demolished.
Messrs. Mucklow (the estate developers) had offered and donated a piece of land for the new church, but, as this site was actually in the parish of Sedgley, it was necessary to make some parish boundary changes since it was not permitted to build the new church inside another church’s parish.
Sedgley parish agreed to give up the necessary area so that Ettingshall parish could be extended and an application for this boundary change and for the rebuilding/demolition project was made to the Queen’s Privy Council which in due course sanctioned the change. The document authorizing this would bear the Queen’s signature.
Local planning for the new building was obtained and a firm of architects (Caroe and Partners) was chosen. Several successive plans were submitted by the architects and rejected for various reasons. The present design was the final choice and its main feature, the hall below the church, was determined by the awkward slope of the site and the need for the least possible excavation cost. Test borings were made to determine foundation requirements but even these did not give the full information and hard stone areas were encountered during the excavations, which increased difficulties and costs.
The architects misunderstood the church’s intentions regarding the organ and allowed only for a small electric instrument and a change of interior design was consequently made to provide accommodation for the reconditioned existing organ works, this entailed the addition of a small gallery over the baptistry. As many items as possible, including the east window stained glass, the pews, rood, organ etc., were transferred from the old church to the new one.
The old church site included a graveyard which contained one grave and since the site could not be sold while the grave remained, it was necessary to obtain permission of the family concerned for an exhumation and reburial elsewhere. This was agreed and arranged.
The old church was then deconsecrated and demolition was carried out. The site was then purchased by John Thompsons.
The original church building
The demolition of the old church as reported in the local press
Fr John Bigby, first Incumbent of the new church
Fr John Bigby inside the newly constructed church