History fan makes casts of church's bullet holes to bring civil war to life

History fan and craftsman Fred Woods wants to bring the English Civil War back to life in classrooms of the West Midlands.

Fred Woods has been making casts of the bullet holes made in walls of St Bartholomew's Church in Tong from during the Civil War, with the help of vicar Pippa Thorneycroft
Fred Woods has been making casts of the bullet holes made in walls of St Bartholomew's Church in Tong from during the Civil War, with the help of vicar Pippa Thorneycroft

Mr Woods has been making perfect casts of the bullet holes left by troops who were involved in a skirmish at St Bartholomew’s Church, in Tong, during the bloody conflict between Crown and Parliament.

“History can be boring on a screen or on a page,” said Mr Woods.

“So why don’t we create something that they can hold in their hands in the classroom that can give them a sensory experience.”

With permission from Revd Pippa Thorneycroft at the church, Fred has been using a resin to make a moulded shape of the indentations left in church walls by shot was fired during the war between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads from 1642 to 1651.

The resin is mixed with a sand that is as close as possible to materials that the church was built from. The idea is to recreate a tiny part of the wall of the church that can be taken away, and then shown alongside modern steel replicas of the actual munitions used.

Some of the marks left by bullets more than 350 years ago

“It is the first time that this has ever been done,” said Mr Woods. “The children can then connect the two, and feel the weight of the shot and look at the impact that would have made. It will give them a chance to see history as a solid thing. It can bring history to life and hopefully it will encourage people to visit Tong church, which is a magnificent building. The walls there have borne witness to many things.”

Mr Woods, of Merry Hill, in Wolverhampton, said the moulds will be sold to cover his costs and to provide a donation to the upkeep of the church.

St Bartholomew’s is Grade I listed. Due to its many monuments inside the church and ornate architecture, it is sometimes labelled as The Westminster Abbey of the Midlands., often featuring as one of the best churches in The Midlands and in England.

Anyone who wants to ask about the moulds or the prices should contact Fred by emailing him ar rowanwoods2018@gmail.com

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