Castle Bromwich Village Trail
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From Rectory Lane back to the Chester Road.
In front of you Castle Bromwich Parish Church is the next stop on the
Castle Bromwich Trail.
A small stone chapel
Castle Bromwich church is first mentioned in a document of 1165 during the reign of King Henry II.
It was a small stone chapel built by one of the de Bromwich family. They were the first lords of Castle Bromwich manor and they also built the castle on the hill.
A large wooden church
In the 15th century a large timber-framed church was added onto the chapel. The lord of the manor then was probably Sir Walter Devereux who became lord in 1450 (Henry VI was king at the time). There is very little stone in the Birmingham area, but Castle Bromwich was part of the Forest of Arden and good wood was plentiful.
The church rebuilt in brick
When Sir John Bridgeman II became lord of the manor in 1710 he began to rebuild Castle Bromwich Hall on a larger scale (This was in the time of Queen Anne). The old wooden church must have looked very old-fashioned to him and so he had it rebuilt to match the hall's English Renaissance style that was popular in the 18th century.
Rebuilding the church took from 1725 to 1731, during the reigns of King George I and King George II. It would have been quite usual to demolish a wooden church before building a new one. However, Sir John's architect, Thomas White from Worcester, decided to keep the old wooden frame in place and to build the new brick church around it. This is the only church in the country where this has been done.
The church within a church
As the years went by, people forgot about the old timber building hidden inside the church, until 1893 when the famous Victorian architect, Charles Bateman was carrying out repairs on the church.
Bateman climbed the ladder to get through the the trapdoor in the ceiling to get into the roof space. He was in for a shock. Instead of the thin wooden beams he expected to see in a typical 18th-century church, here were enormous oak beams 500 years old.
This church is also unusual for the 18th-century box pews. Most churches had them taken out in the 19th century and replaced with bench pews with low backs. Here they were left in place.
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To find out more about Castle Bromwich church click the image. The site opens on a new page.
To find out about ringing the bells at Castle Bromwich church, click the bell.
The bellringers' website will open on a new page.
Kings and princes, lords, ladies and common folk - we come and we go. But Castle Bromwich church bells ring out now as they have done since the Middle Ages. Let’s keep ‘em ringing!
'A History of Castle Bromwich for Young People' written by William Dargue 2016 for the Castle Bromwich Bellringers.
We’ve been ringing here for 500 years and are keen to involve local people in our ancient art. Contact us via our church website, if you want learn to ring or visit the tower or have one of us talk to your group about the history of Castle Bromwich, our church or bellringing. Material on this site may be reused only for non-commercial purposes providing appropriate attribution is given (Creative Commons Licence Attribution NonCommercial 4.0) - details on the Contact page.