West Bromwich



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All Saints

Until the early 19th century, the centre of West Bromwich lay just to the south of the parish church. However, following enclosure of the Heath, in 1804, both the commercial and residential areas started to move a mile or so south-west to what became the High Street section of the Birmingham to Wolverhampton road. This movement resulted in the present detached position of the parish church.

The rapid growth of the population, and its distance from the church, led the Archdeacon to declare, in 1839, that ecclesiastically West Bromwich was one of the worst provided for in the Black Country. He proposed building a new and larger parish church nearer the new centre but this was vetoed by Lord Dartmouth. Instead, a series of mission churches was provided.

The present church of All Saints dates from 1872 but its site has held a church for many centuries, possibly from 700 AD, and is believed to have been dedicated to St Clement until some time in the 19th century. The earliest evidence of a church are the Norman remains found in the 1872 rebuilding, whilst the first written record dates from 1125 when Simon, Bishop of Worcester, confirmed Henry I's grant of the parish church of Bromwic to the monks of Worcester Abbey. They subsequently transferred the benefice to the monks of Sandwell Priory who held it until the dissolution of the priory by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525.

Sometime in the 14th century the Norman church was replaced by a larger, higher building comprising a chancel, nave and west tower, and this was extended by the addition of a north aisle in the following century. A chapel at the east end of the north aisle was provided in 1573 by Walter Stanley, Lord of the Manor, and a similar one, on the south side if the nave, was given in 1619 to the memory of Sir William Whorwood of Sandwell Hall.

By 1786 the building was in such a state of decay that it was demolished except for the lower part of the tower and the Whorwood chapel. The new building consisted of chancel, nave and tower and was extensively galleried. Serious decay again set in and by 1870 a further demolition and rebuilding became necessary. The present church of sandstone in a mixture of Early English and Decorated styles with chancel, nave, north aisle and tower was consecrated in 1872.

There are two alabaster tombs with 17th century effigies of Sir William and Lady Whorwood, and it is believed that similar tombs of the Stanley, Sheldon, Page, Turton and Addenbrooke families were burnt for lime during rebuilding.

Please check back soon for photos of All Saints, West Bromwich.