There is a description of the church in an article believed to have been written by the author of “The Rambler in Worcestershire” John Noakes in a magazine titled “The Mirror” dated Jan 10 1826. (The complete article above can be read on the Friends of Claines Church Web site. )
He vividly describes how the ordinary people sat on cramped benches in between two rows of box pews, or “pushed up under the roof...in little galleries”. The box pews took up a huge area of floor space allowing the few monied owners to worship in splendid cushioned isolation A clumsy attempt had been made to heat the Church with a “large stove placed in front of the communion rails” which hindered the approach to the altar. The writer observes “... it is tolerably clear that if the kingdom of heaven itself were to be purchased, the presence of the poor men would not be tolerated there.” he goes on to comment how although the priest declares all men to be equal in God’s sight the rich “must be considered Christian jewels to be kept in velvet -
He goes on to show how unfeeling charity could be. A Rev. T COOKE had left a legacy to provide gowns and coats for poor men and women “to be marked C.T.M....”. He compares marking the clothing in this way with marking the clothes of criminals. He does however say the clothes were no longer marked in 1826.
Some charities are known to have continued with this unfeeling practice as late as the 1920s. This can be seen in Daisy’s Boots.
The Church underwent a restoration which was completed in 1886. A family member worked on the Church restoration he was Francis COLLEY . A copy of a recommendation to him from the then vicar Alfred Porter can be read on the Friends of Claines Church site.