There has been a church on the site here for hundreds of years; the current octagonal building was built by Thomas Telford and consecrated on Easter Monday 1797.
Many changes have taken place since then, the most recent being in 2008 when the church was reordered internally to bring it into the 21st century. Part of the changes included removing the pews downstairs and replacing the seating with comfortable chairs which can be rearranged. (link to events?)
Having this versatility enables us flexibility in our services, weekly meeting and events. Including occasional café style services, bible studies, hosting a number of musical evenings, as well as hiring the building to local community groups.
The building has a fully equipped kitchen enabling refreshments to be provided for a variety of events. We have audio visual equipment installed together with a variety of lighting rigs.
There are toilets, with has baby changing facilities and disabled access. The downstairs area is on one level, apart from the chancel area which can be accessed by a couple of steps.
A crèche area is available enabling babies and young children to stay with their parents to play with toys whilst still remaining part of the service.
The history of Madeley dates back to the 12th century when it was attached to the priory of St Milburga at Much Wenlock, who held the manorial rights and titles. The first church on the site was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and built at some point during the 13th century. Although it is suggested by some that a Saxon church originally occupied the site, documents have yet to be found to support this. The name of the church was changed after the Reformation to 'St Michael's' suggesting Henry VIII's displeasure with the Catholic Church.
During the Civil War the church housed a garrison of Parliamentary soldiers. The Parish records date from 1645 and are currently held at the County Records Office in Shrewsbury. Records before 1645 no longer exist, and were probably destroyed by Cromwell's men. The original silverware may have been removed by Henry VIII to supplement treasury resources. Subsequent silver was sequestered by the crown to produce coinage for King Charles' army pay and minted at either Shrewsbury or Bridgnorth.
The current Church silver dates from the early 19th century. The old parish church, like it's successor, was only about 100 yards from the famous hiding place in which Charles II was hidden after his defeat at the battle of Worcester in 1651.
The first verified vicar, was Richard de Castillon. Perhaps the most famous of all vicars was John Fletcher (1760-1785), and he is buried in the churchyard of St Michael’s church in a cast iron chest tomb along with his wife, their adopted daughter and his wife’s faithful companion Mary Tooth. More information about him can be found in a leaflet within the church.
It was during the time of Samuel Walter, within ten years of Fletcher's death, that a campaign was launched by public subscription to replace the old church which closed in 1794. The octagonal church you see today was opened on 16th April 1797. Originally there was a high pulpit beneath the central arch of the chancel highlighting the centrality of God’s word in worship. In 1910 the church was reordered and the chancel extended.
There are a number of memorials within the church dedicated to various people: the Anstice family, Revd George Yate, Revd James Gwyther, Thomas Parker, Sir Wyke Bayliss, John Randall, as well as war memorials commemorating those who died in the first and second world wars.
Although now a modern church building, we value the prayers and worship that have been said in this place for hundreds of years and acknowledge that as a basis for people being able to worship God today, to hear the bible being read and explained, and to seek the peace of God which passes all understanding.
The churchyard is probably one of the most significant in Shropshire. The collection of sixteen cast-iron tombs is arguably the best in the country for their variety.
Some of the more prominent gravestones in the churchyard are:
Memorial to the Nine Men of Madeley: On 27 September 1864 'nine men of Madeley', some just boys, died when a coupling chain to the pit carriage became detached. A recently restored memorial to the nine men lies in the churchyard and interpretive material about the tragedy is available.
John Fletcher is buried here along with his wife, adopted daughter and his wife’s companion.
Add Picture John Randall, local historian, china decorator, local councillor, postmaster, printer, geologist.
On the outside of the building, installed in four niches, can be seen some of the panels from The Brooke Memorials, the surviving elements of a substantial monument to the Brooke family who lived at Madeley Court during the 16th and 17th centuries. The original monument was inside the old church.
The lower part of the churchyard has been used for more recent burials, although as this is now full the churchyard is considered to be closed for new burials.