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A Brief History

Old Church is the eleventh stop on the Smethwick Heritage Trail. Built in the classical style in brick with stone dressing, it is the oldest surviving building in Smethwick. Old Church was consecrated in 1732 as a Chapel of Ease in the parish of St Peter, Harborne, after Dorothy Parkes, a wealthy spinster, left money in the hands of trustees to build a chapel, vicarage and charity school. It became a district chapelry in 1842 and was designated the parish of Smethwick in 1892.

The church has no dedication: in other words, it is not named after a saint. It was originally known as Parkes's Chapel or Smethwick Chapel. When Holy Trinity church was built in 1837, Old Church became known as the Old Chapel or Smethwick Old Church. The name, Old Chapel, is shared with the public house to the north of the churchyard.

The church interior has several fine memorial stones including one to Dorothy Parkes. Two of the stained glass windows were designed and created by the Camm family, who had their studios in Smethwick and are buried in the Churchyard. Old Church is a Grade II* Listed Building.

If you are interested in the history of the building, Brian Jones has written A Brief History of Smethwick Old Church, which was up-dated by the Local History Society in 2010. Click here to download a copy.

If you are seeking information about burials in our churchyard, we would be happy to search the Burial Registers on your behalf. There would be a fee of £19 per surname. The records are also available for search at Smethwick Library, where there is no charge. Please contact Yvonne Hadley if you would like to pursue this further.

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