New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

The Friday Photo: Holy Trinity Parish Church, Sutton Coldfield

Posted March 24th, 2017 by Julie Webb with No Comments

Today’s Friday photo is Holy Trinity Parish Church Sutton Coldfield.  The church is of early-13th-century origin, and is grade I listed.  It stands in the middle of Sutton Coldfield town centre in a raised position at the junction of the High Street with the Erdington-Birmingham Road.  The church has been altered and extended several times since it was first built. However, early 13th-century plinths and buttresses in the lower part of the east wall of the chancel are the only evidence left of the medieval building. The church now consists of a chancel, north and south chapels, nave, two north aisles, south aisle, south porch, and west tower. It has modern vestries east and west of the outer north aisle. The church is home to the tomb of the renown Bishop Vesey. The grounds include numerous notable graves, but the grave of Mary Ashford is an interesting story.  In 1817 Mary was found drown in pit after attending a party.  She left with a man she met called Abraham Thornton.  He was arrested and put on trial for her murder and rape but was found not guilty.  Mary’s brother launched an appeal and Thornton still protesting his innocence, drew on the ancient law “trial by combat”.  He challenged Mary’s brother to a duel, which was not accepted, thereby Thornton was then freed with no further appeals. This was the last case of its kind, as in 1819, a bill was introduced and an Act passed to abolish private appeals after acquittals and also abolish trial by combat.

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