From Anglo-Saxon times Castle Bromwich was part of the very large parish of Aston. When a chapel was built here in Norman times, the Rector of Aston sent a priest to take the church services at Castle Bromwich. The priest was known as a curate, and was an assistant to the Rector of Aston
It is likely that the lord of the manor gave the priest somewhere to live in Castle Bromwich close to the church. After all, the church here belonged to the lord of the manor.
We do not know the names of any of the priests before 1558. But there are records for many of the curates after that date.
William Churchley was the curate in 1558; he had been born Henley in Arden. He became the vicar of Leek Wootton near Kenilworth in 1560 and remained there until his death in 1569.
(1558 was the date when Elizabeth became the Queen.)
Randolph Worsley was ordained by the Bishop of Chester in 1566. He was the curate at Castle Bromwich chapel in 1573 and then at nearby Nether Whitacre from 1579 to 1584.
Humfrey Morgan was the curate of Castle Bromwich chapel in 1579.
William Hudson was ordained a priest in 1581 at Eccleshall by the Bishop of Coventry & Lichfield. He was appointed as a curate in Derbyshire in 1573 and was the curate of Castle Bromwich chapel from 1584 to 1597.
Nicholas Beete was the curate of Castle Bromwich chapel in 1605. He was curate at Rolleston in 1616, and at Caldwell chapel. He was the vicar of Stapenhill from 1617 to 1639.
Samuel Pegge was curate at Great Barr chapel from 1605 to 1616, and is referred to as the preacher at Castle Bromwich chapel in 1609. He became the curate of Castle Bromwich in 1639.
It is not known who, if anybody, was the curate at Castle Bromwich during the Commonwealth.
In 1665, the year of the Great Plague, no priest is recorded here.
Henry Hughes was ordained a priest in 1664 by the Bishop of Coventry & Lichfield. He was the preacher at Castle Bromwich in 1664 and is recorded as the curate from 1676 to 1691.
Joseph Webster is recorded as the minister of Castle Bromwich in 1725.
Nehemiah Tonkes of Leicester was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Coventry & Lichfield in 1735 and was the curate at Castle Bromwich in 1735. In 1775 he was appointed rector of Aston Botterell in Shropshire on the recommendation of Lord Bradford.
John Buck of Hingham, Norfolk gained his MA degree at Caius College Cambridge in 1814. He was ordained a priest in 1813 by the Bishop of Coventry & Lichfield and is recorded as a stipendiary curate at Handsworth in 1812. He was the stipendiary curate at Castle Bromwich chapel in 1814. ('Stipendiary' means that he was paid for the job.)
John Brown was a LLB, a Bachelor of Law at Trinity College Cambridge. He is recorded as a stipendiary curate at Castle Bromwich in 1819.
Edwin Kempson BA Trinity College Cambridge, was ordained by the Bishop of Coventry & Lichfield in 1825. He was a curate at Aston-juxta-Birmingham but he was sent to Castle Bromwich chapel in 1827. In that year the chapel ceased to be a chapel of Aston and became a parish church in its own right. So Edwin Kempson became the first rector of Castle Bromwich.
Edwin Kempson 1827-1879,
the first Rector of Castle Bromwich is buried in Castle Bromwich graveyard.
Ernest R O Bridgeman 1879-1883
was a a second cousin of George Bridgeman, 4th Earl of Bradford who lived at Castle Bromwich Hall. He later became Rector of Blymhill, Staffordshire near Weston Park, the family seat of the Bridgemans.
Arthur Phillimore 1883-1888
came from Buckinghamshire. He was the curate at Weston-under-Lizard, the parish church of the Bridgeman family at Weston Park. He later moved on to Enville, Staffordshire.
Richard Rigden 1888-1892
George Merrall, clerk in holy orders, is recorded as living as the Rectory in 1891.
Charles Barrington Walters 1892-1897
later became the Rector of Sywell in Northamptonshire. His son, Lancelot Walters, born at Castle Bromwich, was killed in action on board the ship HMS Partridge in the First World War in the North Sea in 1917 when Rev Walters was the vicar of Stoke Climsland, Cornwall.
Ernest G Harker 1897-1911
Edward Monier Bickersteth 1911-1915
came to Castle Bromwich from Leeds. He was the commissary (ambassador in England) of the Bishop of Jerusalem.
Herbert E Malleson 1915-1921
Henry N Forbes 1921-1959
William E Brooke 1959-1978
David J White 1979-1983
Christopher J Boyle 1983-2001
Michael Sears 2001-2007
Gavin A Douglas 2008 - 2016
Mark Hopkins 2017 -
'A History of Castle Bromwich for Young People' written by William Dargue 2016 for the Castle Bromwich Bellringers.
We’ve been ringing here for 500 years and are keen to involve local people in our ancient art. Contact us via our church website, if you want learn to ring or visit the tower or have one of us talk to your group about the history of Castle Bromwich, our church or bellringing. Material on this site may be reused only for non-commercial purposes providing appropriate attribution is given (Creative Commons Licence Attribution NonCommercial 4.0) - details on the Contact page.