I was quite surprised to find out that the church I was now approaching was actually Birmingham Cathedral.
Or as it is known “The Cathedral Church of St Philip”, and the seat of the Bishop of Birmingham.
Situated in a nice open area it is not as grand as Salisbury or Lichfield, but is a pretty building in its own right. If anything it is really a large church.
The open space around it is popular with those with time on their hands, coffee drinker, email checker, social network junkie, selfie taker and the occasional mini market or busker. I am not sure if they are aware that they are doing all of this on a graveyard. There are still graves in this space, and judging by what I saw there are even be a few vaults under the grass.
The statue outside the cathedral is of Charles Gore, the first Bishop of Birmingham, although I have to admit I really thought it looked a lot like Sean Connery.
The church was known as St Phillip when it was consecrated in 1715, although at the time Birmingham was really a small provincial town as opposed to the second most populous city in the UK that it has become, and the church has become a cathedral as a result.
Inside was quite busy, and photography was difficult because of the people standing around seemingly lost without their cellphones.
The church does have the same features as a larger cathedral has, there will be a quire, and a font and an organ and all of the other spaces and objects that make up a church or cathedral.
In fact it is really a smaller version of something much grander and is actually a very pretty church inside.
The image above is looking towards the nave, and the magnificent window at that end of the church.
The High Altar is similarly overlooked by a grand window.
I had first seen the box pews in Staffordshire, and Birmingham Cathedral also has these on the level above the aisles.
And while I did not see any effigies, there were a number of wall memorials, as well as a memorial to the men of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment who lost their lives in the First World War.
There are even small chapels, although these are more like small spaces where an altar and an area to pray are.
The church was busy though and any further exploration was difficult as it seemed as if they were preparing for a service. Unfortunately the upper areas were roped off so trying to access the box pews was impossible.
The sign above the door?
And then I was outside once again. It was frenetic outside compared to the stillness and hushed tones of the building I had just left. I did more exploring of the graveyard, looking for any more signs of what may be buried beneath.
I was rewarded by a door and some steps….
What lies beneath I cannot say. I was not able to tie a name into a vault. However, I did find a fascinating document on the archaeological work around the Cathedral that was conducted in 2000-2001 by Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit on behalf of Birmingham City Council and was directed by Chris Patrick. It is well worth reading the report.
And then I was on my way once again, and another cathedral beneath my belt. As mentioned before, it is not a grand building, but I suspect it reflects a lot of Birmingham in it. A small town that became a city, and which suffered the ravages of the bombing during the second world war, and having survived that I expect the cathedral will be with the city for a long time still to come.
© DRW 2015-2018. Images migrated 30/04/2016