Church History.

Very briefly:

Built: 11c/1861
Architect: George Sidebotham,
Our Patron: Martyrs Memorial and Church of England Trust

The Parish of Boningale

Boningale is a small Parish in the diocese of Lichfield with an area of 1,003 acres. It formerly belonged to the De Bolinghales, a family of good, though not of Knightly rank. In the 12th century, the name of Henry de Bolynghale is found as its Lord. Hugh de Bolynghale was the owner from 1203 to 1228 and another Hugh from 1250 to 1275. In 1277, however, either this Hugh or his son, also Hugh de Bolynghale, gave all his lands to Lilleshall Abbey, whose monks retained an interest in the property till the Dissolution of Religious Houses in 1538. The advowson, however, being of small value, became attached to the Parish of Stockton, though entirely separated from it by two intervening parishes and some five miles away. In Pope Nicholas' taxation of 1291, Boningale is mentioned as a chapelry of Stockton and in Henry VIII's Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1534, the Chapel of Bonynghal in the Deanery of Newport is included in the return made by the Rector of Stockton. Jonathon Wild, the notorious highwayman, who was executed at Tyburn on 24th May 1726, was born at Boningale in 1682, possibly at Church Farm in Church Lane. Lea Hall is said to have been garrisoned during the Civil War in order to guard the road between Shrewsbury and Birmingham. There are some fine half-timbered houses close to the church and the meadow between it and the highway is called the Lady's Close.

St Chad's Church

The church is dedicated to St Chad and is said to have been founded in the 11th Century. In its shingled spire are three bells, concerning one of which there is a local legend:- "Formerly there were no bells at Boningale, but the inhabitants, hearing that three new ones were on their way from Birmingham to Donington, intercepted one of them on its way through the village and hung it in their own steeple, where it has remained ever since."

The church was restored and the south aisle added in 1861 at a cost of 1,000. Further improvements took place in 1890, when the nave was re-tiled and the inside old carved roof repaired and re-backed with new oak panelling In 1891 the treble bell was recast and the three bells re-fixed. Finally, in 1894, a new porch was added. In the vestry there is an old oak parish chest. There is a Norman window in the nave and the remains of another on the north wall of the chancel. The pulpit is Jacobean. The church has a chalice and paten dated 1579. In the churchyard are a very old yew tree and a sun dial with the motto "Sine Sole Sileo" (Without the sun I am dead)

Until the death of the Revd. Charles B Whitmore in 1856, Boningale belonged to the Parish of Stockton and the Rectors of Stockton were also rectors of Boningale. The result was that, after the death of Mr Littleford in 1714, for over 125 years this neglected parish had no resident clergyman. Before the separation of the parishes in 1857, the rectors of Stockton with Boningale do not seem to have ever taken duty at Boningale, with the exception of Mr Whitmore, who, having taken offence at something which happened at Stockton, obtained a curate to do duty there and officiated himself at Boningale from June 1833 to October 1851, to avoid doing so at Stockton.

Ministers of Boningale

The following names of officiating ministers occur in the registers:

Thomas Littleford. Buried at Boningale, July 21st, 1714

1742-1765 Richard Stanley

1765 Thomas Cockayne

1767-1802 John J'Anson Bromwich

1803-1830 Richard Thursfield

1830-1833 James Lee, MA

1833-1851 Joseph Giffard

1853-1857 Francis Ossian Durant

1857-1911 Charles Powys Isaac

1912-1929 J E Pyke

1929-1950 Alfred Speechly White

1950-1970 John W M Finney, Vicar of Shifnal (Rev W S Jones, Curate)

1970-1975 Vivian Clarke, Vicar of Shifnal

1975-1983 Walter John Turner, BA, FRSA, Vicar of Shifnal

1983-1996 Charles William Woods, Rector of Donington

1996-1997 Period of Interregnum

1997 - present Roger Balkwill, Vicar of Albrighton, Priest in charge of Boningale

Burial Register

The burial register still in use at the church began in the year 1814. The curate in charge at the time was the Revd. William Tindall, MA, who was the Head Master of Wolverhampton Grammar School.

In the register, Mr Tindall recorded the death of King George III in these words: "Memorandum. On the 29th day of January, 1820, at half past eight o'clock in the evening, died that amiable and beloved Monarch, George the third, King of the British Empire Isles, of blessed memory; and on the sixteenth day of February, being Ash Wednesday, his sacred majesty, was buried with great funeral solemnity at Windsor in the evening. "Sic transit Gloria mundi." And on which latter day the chapel yard of Bonninghall was planted with lime trees by the Revd. William Tindall, MA, curate of the said chapel".

Mr Tindall died at the age of 70 while at Boningale and was buried there on the 15th May 1830. 17 years later, his widow, Sarah, died and was buried there too. In 1861, the Revd. C P Isaac, curate, began to enter the name of Boningale in the registers, instead of Bonninghall.

The 14th Century east window has a modern picture of Christ appearing to Mary at the tomb, a memorial to the Revd. C P Isaac, Vicar for 54 years.

St Chad's today

Today the church continues to play an important part in the life of the village of Boningale, it is very much a living church, with a growing congregation. There is a morning service every Sunday at 11.15am. Our parishioners still find peace, tranquility and fellowship in this beautiful church, where one is very aware of its past history. Whilst worshipping here, there is a wonderful feeling of continuity and God's unwavering care for his people.