The Formation of the Parish and Boundary
– from the Book ‘The Venice of the Midlands’ by The Reverend F. Brighton.
The Church owes a great debt to Two Good Queens of England – Queen Anne and Queen Victoria.
Queen Anne wished to return some of the funds lost to the Church at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries and she created the famous Queen Anne’s Bounty.
Queen Victoria carried on the good work and an Act of Parliament was passed in the 6th – 7th year of her reign entitled “An Act To Make Better Provision For The Spiritual Care of Populous Parishes.” Owing to the industrial life of Tipton the population had greatly increased and though only one church had satisfied the needs of the whole of Tipton for 1,000 years yet in a short space of 50 years five new Churches were built in Tipton and numerous Non-conformists places of worship.
The building of new Churches or formation of Parishes was partly due to three causes:
1. The revival of Religion largely due to the Wesley movement.
2. The increase of population.
3. The encouragement given by this new Act of Queen Victoria’s reign.
The people of Ocker Hill took full advantage of the position of that date. This part of the ancient Parish of Tipton met the full blast of the changes of that day. The leaders and owners of the new iron-works and coalfields were public spirited and generous. The soul-destroying “limited Company” was then in infancy and the works and workpeople were largely under the control of individuals, such families as the Bagnall’s, Walkers, Solly, Caddick, Bayley, Nock, Philip Williams, Yardley and Hunt – to mention only a few and these families at this time were good Church people. In fact, Thomas Bagnall was the first Warden of St Mark’s Church in 1849, with John Yardley.
With the help of these leaders of industry the new Parish of Ocker Hill was founded by an appeal to Parliament under this new Act of Queen Victoria’s reign. The scheme had the consent or approval of the Vicar of Tipton, the Reverend William Kerr, and so at the Court of Buckingham Palace the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty in Council met the 8th day of August, 1845 and made the new Ecclesiastical Parish of Ocker Hill a concert reality. On the 16th May 1846 the Reverend Lionel William Stanton was licensed to be the Perpetual Curate of this newly constituted district. The first Vicar, the Reverend A.A.N.F. Solari was appointed in 1854.
The style of the Church is called Decorated Gothic, built with hard blue bricks with plentiful stone dressings, even the buttresses having stone weathering’s. Under the Reverend H. Colvile the East End of the Church was extended and strengthened, but the planned spire was never added.
We rejoice that our faith is built on that of the people who went before us.
Almighty God, we praise you for all your servants who have finished their course in your faith and fear; for those known to us and unknown. We pray that encouraged by their example and strengthened by their fellowship we too may be found worthy to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.