Work in progress . . .
Chapels & Churches in the Ancient Parish of
A largely rural area until the beginning of the 20th century, the ancient parish of Harborne was divided in two in 1842, the northern part being the industrialising district of Smethwick, the southern the well-to-do suburb of Harborne.
< For individual churches of Harborne click on the links left.
Churches are in chronological order of foundation
The documented history of the church at Harborne goes back only to the 13th century. It is known that both Edgbaston and Handsworth churches had the vestiges of a subsiadiary relationship to Harborne in the Middle Ages and it is possible that this church was an Anglo-Saxon minster with pastoral responsibility over a wide area.
In 1732 a chapel of ease was consecrated at Smethwick in the north of the parish some 4 miles from Harborne. The chapel was known as Parkes’ Chapel after Dorothy Parkes whose bequest funded its construction and is now the oldest building in the town. It effectively became a parish church in 1842 and unusually has no dedication being known now as Smethwick Old Church.
By the end of the 19th century while Smethwick was developing into an urban industrialised area, Harborne remained relatively rural and, like Edgbaston and Handsworth, a conveniently accessible retreat for the wealthy of Birmingham. The density of building here still remains significantly less than in other parts of the city.
There was much less need for new churches here than in other parts of Birmingham.
As the residential and commercial centre of Harborne grew around the High Street away from the old village centre, the church of St John the Baptist was built in 1858.And as the city continued to spread outwards the church of St Faith and St Laurence was opened in 1906.