This cache consists of a micro located on the boundary of the church grounds; there is no need to enter the church grounds to locate it. Please replace the cache safely out of sight.
A brief history of the church building:
Several acres of land on part of which the present church stands was given by Hugford Hassall, a Catholic benefactor for the building of a priest’s house and small Chapel.
A three-storey priest’s house was erected with a small Chapel behind it. The yew tree positioned to the left of the house remains today, next to the the "Lourdes Grotto", marking the boundary of the garden.
A new rectangular church designed by Augustus Welby Northmoor Pugin was built at the side of the 1761 priest’s house. St Augustine’s Church in Solihull has been described as Pugin’s first church and it is undoubtedly the oldest of Pugin’s existing churches. The building was begun in 1838 and opened on 6th February 1839 with Pugin as the cross bearer. It did not follow the traditional orientation of Catholic churches which places the altar facing east. Pugin’s altar faced almost South West. Hence the references to “East” and “West” in relation to St Augustine’s are purely conventional and not accurate geographically. It is not known why the church was built with the altar facing this way. Three lancet windows were incorporated into the “West” wall but were replaced in 1904 by the present three light perpendicular window.
The “East” wall above the altar was opened to accommodate a large five light perpendicular window.
Joseph Hansom of Hansom Cab fame designed a new priest’s house adjacent to the Pugin church facing what is now Station Road. The 1741 priest’s house was demolished to make room for a Chancel to be added to the Pugin church. The “East” stained glass window was relocated to the place where it is currently situated. The Chancel is now known as the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
A small front porch was added.
Pugin left the church undecorated except for the ceiling which was painted blue with gold stars. In 1892 murals were painted by Joseph A Pippet. The original altar, tabernacle and piscina were designed by Pugin.
The original bell-turret was removed and the present belfry, with a new bell, was erected. Sometime before 1904 a choir gallery was erected in front of the three lancet windows in the “West” wall. This was removed in 1979.
The three lancet windows in the “West” wall were removed and replaced with the present three light perpendicular windows.
A “Lourdes grotto” was erected in the front garden. The yew tree to its left is probably hundreds of years old as a diameter of 15cm can represent 100 years of growth. The Grotto was built free of cost by the Tarplee brothers.
The Centenary of St Augustine's Church was celebrated.
The 1878 presbytery was demolished to make room for the extension of the church. The seating in the Pugin church was turned through 90 degrees to face the new altar. A flat above the sacristy was incorporated to provide accommodation for the priest. The architect was Mr Brian Rush.
The ceiling of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel was repainted by Tony Nay using stencils to match the original patterns. Similarly the Pippet-painted angels on the “East” wall were restored.
Mr John Holmes designed a new presbytery.
The side entrance porch was extended, when the Parish Hall was renovated.
Did you know? The mosaic of St Augustine above the 1884 front porch was designed and executed by Gabriel Pippet.
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