St Matthews Church

Congratulations! You found a Hidden Hippo

The artists

We are West Walsall E-ACT Academy, a 11-19 academy in Walsall. We are excited to take part in the hippo hunt because we want to add to the cultural development of Walsall! We are Riane Bradnock, Sadia Rani Akhtar, Aliya Fatima, Keeley Walker and Khalid Ashton. We are all Year 13 students studying a range of subjects, including A-Level Art and Design. We have chosen to create this piece because we think it represents the unique space occupied by St. Matthews church in Walsall. We believe that Walsall is a multicultural and diverse community, and as such the church is a symbol of hope, peace, and respect; and we hope to replicate this in our piece.

The location

Standing at nearly 500 feet above sea level, St Matthew’s Church in Walsall, with its 170-foot towering spire, has been a landmark of the town’s skyline since ancient times. And it’s inside this Grade II* Listed church, at the top of the curving High Street, that you will find the oldest man-made structure in the town of Walsall, as well as other hidden gems. For its inner crypt, with its beautiful ribbed, sandstone, vaulted ceiling, dates back to the 13th century – it has even been suggested that it’s Norman doorway could date from the previous century.

Originally dedicated to All Saints, it was in the 18th century that it was rededicated to St Matthew. The earliest surviving reference to the church dates from around 1220, when a grant was given by William Ruffus to the Abbey of St Mary in Halesowen, for the patronage of the church. There are also further links to Halesowen Abbey for the remarkable misericords that are a feature of the chancel are believed to have been rescued from the abbey. The spire was part of the church in 1480 but has been rebuilt five times since then, most recently in 1951. The peal of 12 bells is amongst the best in the country. The church continually changes and adapts, currently livestreaming its services and with a service each week in Urdu. It is open to the public all day on Tuesdays, on Friday mornings and on Heritage Open Days.

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