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The parish of

Kings Norton

September 2012

September 2012

350 years ago on 24th August, St Bartholomew’s Day 1662, a national affair had a tragic impact on Kings Norton. After the turmoil of the English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth, Charles II had been restored as king two years earlier. A new religious settlement was imposed and all clergy were removed from their posts who could not sign up to the new order. They included Richard Baxter, devout Midlander and author of ‘Ye Holy Angels Bright’, and our own Thomas Hall. For 33 years of faithful vigorous ministry in Kings Norton, he had devoted all he had to the local poor and to opening young minds to learning. He had, without any use of cane or birch, given firm discipline and deep hunger for knowledge to so many boys, raising them from poverty to study at Oxford and Cambridge. His bookshelf, patiently gathered at the Old Grammar School, still forms the major part of our City Library’s rare books collection.

But this counted for nothing against his refusal to sign up to the new settlement. He was simply ejected from work and home, dying soon after. He is buried at his own desire in an unmarked grave ‘among the poor of Kings Norton whom I have always endeavoured to serve...’

Read more in From the Rector.

Extracts

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