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Other outstanding sites in the county are the Wedgwood Institute, Burslem, the outcome of early enthusiasm for terracotta, which sadly set no local precedents; Lichfield Cathedral, Trentham Church and Wightwick Manor, the latter a supreme display of hand-made tiles, quite different from anything else Staffordshire has to offer. Pugin was the architect of the Hospital, a term then used in the medieval sense to describe an almshouse with communal facilities such as the chapel.Suggested reading: TACS Tour Notes entry for Staffordshire covers the administrative areas of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council and Wolverhampton City Council. Pugin described the Hospital tiles in a letter to Shrewsbury dating from December 1841: ‘The tiles produce a most glorious effect and are certainly a cheap decoration.Work began on the interior decoration in 1844, and Pugin himself was responsible for the design of many of the church furnishings, including the majority of the tiles, which were manufactured by Minton’s.The tile pavement, ornate even at the west end where it includes several inscriptions, increases in complexity and lavishness to culminate in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament with its golden reredos of printed and painted tiles.There are tiles throughout the church, resulting from four donations of tiles by Herbert Minton around 1846-54.
Brewood was the centre of a strongly Catholic area, and St Mary’s R. They probably date from between the wars, but the manufacturer is unknown; perhaps they were locally produced. His patron was John Talbot, sixteenth Earl of Shrewsbury and the leading Catholic layman of the time, whose seat lay a few miles to the east at Alton Towers; Pugin began work there on a banqueting hall and chapel in 1837.Since 1996 the Castle has been run by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham as a residential youth centre, and the chapel roof has been restored with coloured tiles replicating the Minton originals. In this odd industrial village - home of Armitage ceramic sanitary ware - and perched above the Trent, stands the neo-Norman St John’s Church, built in 1844-7 by the architect Henry Ward of Stafford to replace a genuine Norman building.Herbert Minton made three separate donations of tiles to the church during 1845-7, and the result is a spectacular but gloomy interior.The tradition that Pugin reproduced faithfully what was there before does not seem to extend to the tiling, which is far from lavish, although there are colourful Pugin-style red, buff and blue patterned tiles bordering the altar.Most strange, however, are the fleur-de-lys floor tiles in which ragged ventilation holes seem to form an intrinsic part of the design.
The nave, porch and west tower floor tiles are all two-coloured encaustics (buff and red or buff and black) while those further east are multi-coloured; these latter are undoubtedly by Pugin.