Statement of Significance. December 2017.
St. Stephen’s Church is a Grade II listed building (listed entry No. 1243167) It is situated ( 52.48N and 2.0 W with an elevation of 75m and has the Grid ref. SJ9922 ) in the county of Staffordshire, approximately 7 miles from the county town of Stafford. St Stephen’s is in the Lichfield diocese and part of the Joint Benefice of Abbots Bromley, Colton ,Colwich ,Blithfield and Great Haywood.
Great Haywood is situated off the A51 at the edge of Cannock Chase , an area designated as An Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Church is situated in the Shugborough and Great Haywood Conservation Area .
The Church was designed by T. Trubshaw, a member of a local family of stonemasons and builders c.1840 and extended in 1858 by H J Stevens of Derby for patron the 2nd Earl of Lichfield. The structure is of Deeply-coursed dressed sandstone with roofs of graduated slate. The Nave and Chancel are in the North part of the Church together with the “old vestry” ( now used as a storage area) and there is a bellcote at the west end. A new vestry was formed together with a kitchen and toilet to the west end of the North aisle in the re ordering of 2008. The separately roofed south aisle has a porch to both South and West ends.
The Nave has square- headed mullioned windows with 3, 2 and 5 cusped lights and the South aisle is similar with 3,2 and 4 lights. The Chancel has 2 pointed windows in the North wall with cusping and geometrical tracery. There are pointed- arched windows to both East and West gables . All windows are of diamond-paned leaded lights; there is no stained glass in the Church. The main entrance via the West porch has a Tudor arch and parapet.
The walls to the North aisle are rendered and the rendering is scored to resemble stone blocks; the South aisle is of fine faced stone.
Both aisles have hammer-beam trusses set on foliage-carved corbels and the aisles are paved with patterned and encaustic tiling. An Octagonal stone font with traceried and quatrefoiled panels stands at the West end of the South aisle. Pews to North and South aisles are of oak and, together with chairs in the Lichfield area, give a seating capacity of 190.
To the West end of the Nave is an organ chamber fitted with a Stringer organ of 1886.
There are various wall mounted memorials to the Anson family starting with the 2nd Earl to the most recent which was fitted in August 2013, to the memory of the 5th Earl ; these are grouped on the walls of the area known as the Lichfield pews. The pews to this area have been removed in recent years to allow for a meeting and children’s play area. The safe, which contains the church plate and registers of Baptisms Weddings and Funerals, Terrier and Inventory, is contained within newly fitted storage cupboard fitted along the South wall of this area. Photographs of the Chalice and Flagon ( George III silver ) presented to the Church at its opening, are kept for identity and security reasons, at a separate venue.
The wooden Reredos together with the Alter rail is in memory of various members of the Anson family. The Eagle Lectern is of carved wood and, according to the Ecclesiastical Insurance Company, has a rarity value in that the head faces to the left. The War Memorial which is of wood , lists the fallen of both World Wars and is situated on the South wall .
The Churchyard was re ordered in c.1988 when curbs were removed from graves which allowed mowers to be used instead of strimmers to cut the grass. In the Best Kept Churchyard competition a mixture of Bronze and Silver awards have been given between 2011 and 2017.
In Dec.2014, a window situated at the west end of the south wall was fitted with Secondary double glazing in order that the DAC could consider our application for a Faculty to fit Secondary Double Glazing to the windows of the North and South walls. A faculty was granted and the installation to the North and South facing windows was carried out in September 2015. St. Stephen’s is,to date, the only church in the Lichfield Diocese to have double glazing.
With storage in the church being at a premium, the Old Vestry, which is also an emergency exit , was cleared during 2016, the walls were fitted with shelving which has created a large area of storage and also allowed floor area to store 18 chairs. Storage boxes have been provided with labels for contents.
The Church, surrounded by its churchyard, stands on a sloping site boarded on 3 sides by National Trust property. Woodland, owned by The Trust, is far enough away to give the Church a sunny aspect all the year round. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th Earls together with numerous members of their families are buried in the churchyard. A stone wall running parallel to the road , approximately 9 feet high and 100 feet long, forms a screen between the village and the South side of the Church.