St Mary & St Margaret - Castle Bromwich Parish Church


'A Touch of Basil' - click here for the 20th Anniversary Concert which includes a performance on the newly restored organ. Basil's newsletter below:


We've planned a series of afternoon concerts by leading local musicians. There's no charge but there will be a retiring collection in aid of the Organ Fund. 


Due to Covid-19 all future events have now been cancelled.

Next up was to be . . .

Sunday 10 May - Allison Taylor soprano

Born and educated in Birmingham, Allison gained her BMus Hons at Cardiff University. She is a member of the CBSO Chorus, female group Cantilena, London Chorale and the English Concert Singers and has performed as soloist all over the world with such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder and John Elliot Gardner. She has performed Martin Bates' Gloria for the Heart of England Singers. Allison is a class teacher and music co-ordinator at St Alphege CofE School in Solihull where she directs two choirs, a recorder group and a handell group. She also trains the young choristers of St Alphege church. Last July Allison brought her young Songsquad with an exciting programme of music.


Her programme  is entitled "Love, Life, Loss" and will include works by Handel, Mozart, Vaughan Williams and Lloyd Webber. She will be accompanied by Martin Bates on piano and Richard Tattam on clarinet. 

Coming in 2020 - cancelled

Sunday 12 July - The Mastoly Quartet

Sunday 13 September - The Alcester Baroque Ensemble

Sunday 8 November - Kingsbury Handbell Ringers

and in 2021 - cancelled

Sunday 10 January - The Soho Saxophone Quartet

Sunday 14 March - David Saint, Organist at St Chad's Cathedral

Past Concerts

Sunday 8 March - Georgina Bloomfield violin

15-year-old Georgina is a violinist from Buxton has regularly performed at the Philip Bates Trust “Touch of Basil” concerts since receiving financial assistance from the charity. Georgina has recently retired as leader of National Children’s Orchestra of which she had been a member the age of seven and was their longest serving member when she left in 2017. This exceptional  15-year-old violinist is now a member of the National Youth Orchestra. She treated us to an exciting programme of work entitled,  'A Day in Town' which included 'Spring' from Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons', the theme from 'Schindler's List' 'Lark Ascending'. She received a standing ovation!

January 2020 - Spectrum vocal harmony group


Castle Bromwich-based vocal harmony group Specgtrum have raised literally thousands of pounds for charities. And we were delighted to welcome them to our church to present a concert of popular music in aid of the organ restoration fund. 

January 2020 - Stephen Davies tenor

This month’s treat was a recital by tenor soloist Stephen Davies, who sang songs by British composers accompanied on the church organ for the last time before it is restored. (Work on the organ was to start the next day!)

Stephen squeezed in a visit to Castle Bromwich in his busy schedule which has recently included performances in Bruges, Dresden, Geneva, Leipzig, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Lyons, Santa Cruz, Salzburg, Tel Aviv and St Petersburg. 


Stephen studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire and specialises in performing the works of J S Bach. He also sings with many of the Midlands’ leading choirs, most notably Ex Cathedra, the region’s foremost chamber choir. He broadcasts regularly on Radio 4 with BBC Manchester’s Daily Service Singers. In his spare time (!) Stephen works as a choral conductor, a vocal coach to schools and choral societies and as an adjudicator.

November 2019 - Birmingham Savoyards

The Savoyards in full swing
The Savoyards in full swing

Birmingham Savoyards was formed in 1963 to perform the works of Gilbert & Sullivan, and today are one of the few surviving and thriving G&S societies in the Midlands. Savoyards are based at the Old Rep where, in 1973, they became the first amateur company to perform Gilbert & Sullivan on that famous old stage. As well as G&S, they stage concerts with a wide range of music spanning the 20th century to the present day supporting charities, such as the National Federation of the Blind, as well as assisting local churches and other organisations with fund raising. 

Producer Janet Davies; Musical director Martin Fautley

September 2019

John Saunders baroque flute, Sarah Saunders baroque oboe, Martin Bates harpsichord, Susan Bates soprano

Mostly Baroque


John Saunders and his daughter Sarah with guest appearances by 13-year-old Ollie Feaver, saxophone and 11-year-old Charlie Feaver, cello.

Telemann's G minor Trio Sonata, Pepusch Corydon, Quantz C major Trio Sonata and Arne's 'Where the Bee Sucks' (Ariel's song in 'The Tempest')




July 2019

Songsquad - Allison Taylor directs St Alphege C of E Junior School Choir, Solihull

The award-winning SongSquad was formed in 2010 by Music Coordinator Allison Taylor at St Alphege CofE Junior School, Solihull as an after school club - it currently boasts some 60 members. 

May 2019

Sue Bates, soprano accompanied by our own church organist Martin Bates, organ and keyboard:


Bach’s Toccata in D Minor
Sinding - Rustle of the Spring
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody 
Mendelssohn - Hear Ye Israel from Elijah
Faure - Apres Un Reve
Gershwin - I’ve got Rhythm





March 2019 - The Himley Duo

Anna Downes (violin)  and Tony Bridgewater (piano) - The Himley Duo
Anna Downes (violin) and Tony Bridgewater (piano) - The Himley Duo


The Himley Duo are Anna Downes and Tony Bridgewater. They are well-established in the West Midlands and beyond, giving regular recitals across the area. Their wide repertoire encompasses works from the Baroque period through to contemporary music. Anna began to play the violin at an early age and studied at the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and with David Gregory of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. She has a busy career as a freelance violinist and performs with many leading orchestras. Tony was a student at the Birmingham School of Music and is also a regular chamber music player and accompanist with other music groups.


January 2019 - The Mastoly Quartet

The Mastoly Quartet - 

Lynne Hodgson - trumpet      Stephen Mayes - French horn

Tony Miller - trombone           Margaret Croucher - piano

played the first in the series of free concerts to a packed church some 20 varied pieces including Handel's Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Berwald's Adagio & Finale from Quartet in E#, Sonata for trumpet & trombone by Poulenc, Howard Goodall's Psalm 23 (Vicar of Dibley theme) and La Cucaracha. 

We thank them most sincerely for giving their time and talent freely to help our cause and we were very encouraged by a large and supportive audience. 


The Project Launch October 2018

Sunday 14 October saw the launch of the Castle Bromwich Organ Restoration Appeal. Following the Sunday service our church organist Martin Bates demonstrated what this old organ is still capable of and told a little of its history. 


Click here for more on The Launch.


Requests - Sundays after the morning service

Each week after the 10 am Parish Communion Service, our organist Martin Bates plays a requested piece of music in return for a donation to the Organ Restoration Fund. Pieces are chosen just for pleasure or may be dedicated in memory or celebration of a person or event. Get in touch!

J.S.Bach, D minor Two-Part Invention.

J.S.Bach, Goldberg Variations

Mendelssohn, Wedding March.

George Frederick Handel, Organ Concerto Op.4 No.6

Vaughan-Williams, The Lark Ascending. 

Mozart, Clarinet Quintet

Hubert Parry 'I was glad' composed for the Coronation of Edward VII

Elgar, Pomp & Circumstance March

Rogers & Hammerstein, Oh what a beautiful morning

Sheep may safely graze, J S Bach

Vivaldi's Four Seasons - Spring

and - would you believe ?! - Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody


It is remarkable what Martin can coax out of this old organ, but he tells us he is careful which notes he plays - some keys stick and keep on playing and some don't play at all!



Martin gives to talks to local groups about the history of the organ. He has recently visited the North Arden Local History Society, St Mary & St Margaret's Mothers' Union and Yardley & Sheldon Rotary Club.

If you would like to book him for your organisation, do get in touch!

Visiting organist


We were pleased to welcome a visiting organist, Margaret Croucher, organist at St Giles' church, Sheldon, who played for us during the Heritage Open Day in September 2018. 



Many thanks to all who took part in our raffle recently. Over £1000 was raised for the Organ Restoration Project. 

April 2019

Quiz Night


In November the bellringers held a Quiz night in aid of the Organ Restoration Appeal. Nearly £400 was raised. Thank you, bellringers!




Another QUIZ!


Thanks to all who took part in our second QUIZ night. What a successful night it was! -  a lot of head scratching and a lot of fun.  August 2019



An exciting event at Castle Bromwich Hall Hotel raised over £2600. Thanks to all who offered their promises and all those who bid to make this event a real success! Friday October 2019 

Church visit

A visit to church and a guided walk round Castle Bromwich by Dorridge U3A local history group who kindly made a donation to our church Organ Fund. We've also had visits by primary and secondary schoolchildren and by local beaver packs.  October 2019


If you're associated with a group who'd like a guided tour, get in touch! CONTACT