There are notable people and events linked with the cathedral.
Matthew Boulton, industrialist and entrepreneur and founder of the famous Lunar Society was baptised at St Philip’s in William Small, a fellow Lunar Society member and tutor to Thomas Jefferson worshipped and was buried here and is commemorated with a memorial plaque in the west end of the nave. James Keir a chemist and also part of the Lunar Society was married here in 1770. John Baskerville, the well-known printer and associate of the Lunar Society was a one time church warden at St Philips as was William Withering.
The so called “Priestley Riots” of 1791 were sparked off following a dinner at the local Dadley’s hotel. The dinner was attended by liberals and radicals to commemorate the start of the French Revolution who were jostled by a pro-church and King mob.This mob then moved on to the property of radical Unitarian scientist, Joseph Priestley. Allegedly, the tensions that led to the riots were exacerbated by the rector of St Philip’s the Rev Spencer Madan, who attached Priestley’s political views.
The Birmingham Triennial was a musical festival held at St Philip’s to raise money for a new hospital. These music festivals were so popular that they outgrew St Philip's and The Town Hall was built as a fitting venue.
Edward Burne-Jones was born close to St Philip’s in 1833 and was baptised here in 1834. He famously designed remarkable stained-glass windows for the church later in the C19th. Samuel Lines topographic artist and founder member of the Birmingham Society of Artists is buried in the churchyard. His tomb is one of the listed monuments in the churchyard and faces the studio where he worked. Reverend Arthur Broome the founder of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was buried here in 1834, only a record in the registers survives. He died whilst living as a penniless itinerant preacher in nearby Bull Street.
The Eighteenth century can be seen as the golden age in the production of church monuments and the cathedral has a rich variety. There are mainly simple wall tablets and Greek revival motifs such as winged cherubs, urns, scrolls or coiled snakes. C19th and C20th monuments also feature most notably an endearing and impressive memorial to an artist, Moses Haughton and the unusual First World War memorial to battalions from the Royal Warwickshire Regiments by A S Dixon installed in 1920. There are memorials to all of the Bishops within the building including an impressive bronze portrait relief of Bishop Barnes and a floor tablet to Bishop Wilson. Wilson had been Bishop of Singapore at the time of the Japanese invasion during World War II and was held prisoner throughout the Japanese occupation.
Join us for Ash Wednesday. To mark the start of Lent, there will be an opportunity to ...Read