St Mary’s Church, Moseley

What to see in St Mary’s Churchyard

The Lych Gate (December 1932)



Erected to the memory of Mr S Howard Fisher, the Headmaster of Wintersloe School (Wake Green Road) by Old Boys and Friends ‘Virtutem Extendere Factis’. This motto means ‘To spread abroad manly strength by deeds’. It was adopted by Wintersloe School but it is also the motto of the Fisher family.


Carving on the lintel of the Lychgate


Churchyard Gates

Churchyard Gates (1933)

Churchyard Gates leading from Churchyard to the roadway into Village. These were repaired and new gates given by Mr Lawrence Tipper of Wake Green Road (Church record). It is thought that these repaired gates were originally the gates replaced by the Lych Gate.


Early Photograph without the Lychgate

Lawrence Clarke TIPPER 1855 - 1939

Wake Green Road in 1901 & 1911 MRCVS and Manufacturer of Veterinary Medicines

In 1906, it was said: The Veterinary Chemical business of B C Tipper & Son, of Homer Street, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, has a world-wide reputation. This noted firm was founded by Benjamin Clarke Tipper. His son, Mr Lawrence Clarke Tipper, is the present head and his past life, covering half-a-century, has been a strenuous one. As a student at the Royal Veterinary College, London, he took a foremost position and honours; subsequently being appointed Privy Council Inspector during the prevalence of the rinderpest in England. On joining the business in Birmingham, Mr Tipper junior interested himself in the leading agricultural associations of the country. A Conservative in politics, he has for many years held and ably advocated Fair Trade views. He is a County Councillor of Worcestershire, and Lord of the Manors of Kington and Dormstone, and patron of the churches in those two pretty Worcestershire villages.

The Tipper memorial in the churchyard is notable for its appearance with a chained anchor draped over the cross, no doubt as a reference to the sea which took not only Lawrence Tipper in 1939 but also one of his younger brothers, Benjamin George Tipper in 1874, aged 14. See D below


Main Gates on St Mary’s Row

Main Gates (1934)

The gates of the main entrance from the road in Moseley Village leading to the South West door were given by Miss Doris Tippetts of Salisbury Road in memory of her uncle, Councillor F Tippetts. Dedicated Oct 7 1934 (Church record).


Frederick Dale TIPPETTS (1855 - 1928)

  • St Bernards Chantry Road in 1901 Hardware Merchants' Manager
  • 46 Salisbury Road in 1911 Managing Director of Halford Cycle Company Ltd, which is now a household name (Sir Denis Thatcher was a director in the 1970s when it was part of Burmah Oil)
  • One of the original founders and a Director of Moseley Park & Pool Ltd

Moseley Park and Pool was created as a private park, open only to keyholders and their guests. It was established on land from the former grounds of Moseley Hall when Salisbury Road was cut in 1896. A group of businessmen formed a local consortium and leased land around the ‘Great Pool’ to lay out the park and clear the pool, and members of this group built houses in Salisbury Road and Chantry Road, overlooking their property. The park was opened by Austen Chamberlain on 29 September 1899

  • Local Councillor and Vice President of Kings Heath Bowling Club
  • He lost his only child, Dora, in 1895 at the age of 2 and his wife, Mary Matilda, in 1915. Both are buried in the churchyard.
  • The stained glass window in the bell tower is in memory of Mary Matilda Tippetts
  • He entered New York with his neice Doris, via Ellis Island in October 1922 having sailed from Cherbourg on board the S S Aquitania, a Cunard liner with a capacity of over 3000 passengers.
  • Died on board SS Otranto off Constantinople 5th May 1928 and is buried in the Aegean Sea.

Tippetts's Bequest

By will proved 1928 F. D. Tippetts gave £4,000 in trust, half the income to be used in providing nourishment, nursing and comforts in their own homes for consumptive persons resident in Birmingham, and half similarly for persons suffering from cancer, and £2,000 in trust, both income and capital to be for the benefit of Birmingham ex-servicemen. The latter sum was exhausted in 1940. In 1958 the income from the former sum was £140, which was expended in providing assistance, usually in the form of clothing, for the objects of the charity.

Interestingly, both Tipper and Tippetts died at sea!


Plan of Churchyard

Original Graveyard

The is the area closest to the church on the south side, nearest St Mary’s Row. It is not known how large this was but in 1822, before the Rickman church was built, the Curate at the time, Rev Edward Palmer, sold part of his glebe land amounting to 880 sq. yards for an agreed price of £34 to be held by James Taylor of Moseley Hall on trust for the church. The total area of church and churchyard after this sale is shown in pink on the plan below. The size of the church was then, of course, far smaller than it is now.

The next acquisitions for the enlargement of the churchyard took place in 1850 when William Morrell Lawson was the Curate. First, by a Conveyance dated 31st August 1850, he gave the area shaded pale green amounting to 1510 sq. yards and including two cottages which used to stand at the western edge of that plot. Later that year, on 12th November, the long strip shaded pale blue on the eastern boundary was bought back from the Midland Railway Company, having been acquired by its predecessor the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway Company ten years previously and was obviously surplus to requirements.

We are fortunate to have a full index of burials by name, date and, in many instances, precise location. This shows the use to which this extra land was put in the 1860s when there was an epidemic from polluted wells. Moseley was not on mains water and the Kings Norton Sanitary Authorities closed the graveyard as they thought it was the source of the trouble.

In 1878 an additional 4494 sq. yards of land at the rear of the Church (orange) was purchased from Mr. William Dyke Wilkinson at 7/- (35p) per sq. yard, and in 1882/3 two further plots were purchased (dark blue and yellow) to bring the churchyard to its present size. At this time, the church also acquired a legal right of way over the passageway between what is now Barclays Bank and Atlantis Fish Bar, by a Conveyance dated 28th October 1882, when Mr Wilkinson sold some of his land at the rear of the Bull’s Head. The quaint terms of the right of way are:

“Except and reserving nevertheless out of this Conveyance unto … the Corporation sole or aggregate in whom the said Churchyard is vested the right at all times hereafter either with or without hourses (sic) cattle carts or carriages to go return pass and repass over and along the said piece of land thirdly hereinbefore described (brown on above plan) … to and from the said Churchyard and to and from the back portion of the said hereditaments known as the Bulls Head Inn.”

Order in Council

Unfortunately during WW2 several bombs fell in the churchyard causing a lot of damage. In 1974-81 many gravestones were cleared to facilitate maintenance. A complete record was made of all the inscriptions on behalf of the Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry by Miss Dorothy Horton. The space was grassed over but the graves themselves were left undisturbed. Records suggest there have been about 9600 burials in this churchyard and it is now a ‘closed’ churchyard so no further burials can take place. This took place in 1981 by Order in Council. Subsequently, the churchyard has been maintained in good order by the local authority.


St Mary's Churchyard (1981)


Burial Plan

St Mary’s Moseley – Burial Plan 1903

Very colourful and detailed plan but in poor condition. Drawn by the local firm of Surveyors, James & Lister Lea & Co, who used to live in Greenhill House. Several of the family are buried in the churchyard and were stalwart members of the church (James Senior and junior, Lister senior and junior, Montague, Percy and Jack with various wives and in-laws)


Plan of the Churchyard

Plan of the Churchyard

Points of Interest

  1. Horatio Nelson Grimley
  2. War Memorial
  3. Joseph Lucas
  4. Youth lost at sea
  5. Private Newman (WW1 Grave)

A. Horatio Nelson Grimley (1808 – 1868)

He was born in Aston in a ‘back to back’ house, since demolished. He was the 6th of 10 children of John and Ann Grimley. Horatio Nelson had visited Birmingham in 1802 before going on to win the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, which must be how this young lad got his name. He married and had 9 children himself. They lived in Highgate in the front ‘back to back’ house which was presumably preferable to the back one as it did not overlook the court and privies. By 1861 he had set up H N Grimley & Sons, Estate Agent of Bennett’s Hill. This subsequently developed into GVA Grimley which became one of the largest commercial property developers in the UK. He died whilst living in Trafalgar Road, Moseley and was buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard.

B. The War Memorial (1918)

The War Memorial was erected in 1920 in time for Remembrance Day, after a public subscription which raised in excess of £700. It has Grade II Listed status for five reasons.

  1. Design: Its iconography that shows the crucified Jesus flanked by the two Marys. This is unusual for an Anglican war memorial and is well executed.
  2. Architecture: The memorial is a strong composition, well suited to its prominent site in the raised churchyard above St Mary’s Row.
  3. Intactness: The memorial appears to have suffered no loss or alteration.
  4. Historic Interest: A permanent testament to the sacrifice of The Fallen in WW1.
  5. Group Value: The Church of St Mary is also Grade ll listed.

C. Joseph Lucas (1834 – 1902)

He was born in Hockley and attended school where he was taught to read and write. This was a great advantage in those days as many children were sent out to work from about the age of eight to provide extra income for their families. In 1860 he established himself as a street trader selling buckets and bowls as well as oil for lamps. In 1875 he, and his son, Harry, set up the Lamp Works in Little King Street. This concentrated on making new types of lamp burning paraffin and petroleum which developed into simple lighting equipment for Victorian bicycles. This business developed into Lucas Industries, employing in its heyday 80,000 people working in both the automotive and aerospace fields. He was married three times and had six children, many of whom went into the business. His son owned a house in St Agnes Road, which he named ‘Hilver’, after his children Hilda and Oliver. Having had a drink problem in his early life, he became a devout teetotaller and unfortunately died of typhoid after drinking contaminated water in Naples in 1902. He was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard on 14th January 1903.

D. Youth Lost at Sea

The Tipper memorial in the churchyard is notable for its appearance with a chained anchor draped over the cross, no doubt as a reference to the sea which took not only Lawrence Tipper in 1939 but also one of his younger brothers, Benjamin George Tipper in 1874, aged 14.

E. Private Newman

This is the Commonwealth War Grave for Private E. G. Newman of the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry who died two years after the end of the war due to injuries received on active duty. It is unusual to have a Commonwealth War Grave headstone in a Parish Churchyard. It is of the same design as those in Northern France commemorating those who fell in the field of battle.