Our story really starts with the death of A. B. Foster who lived at Canwell Hall and whose family had made their fortune by producing worsted and mohair cloth, in the Mill towns north of Manchester. As a memorial to him, his wife, Rosamund Susanna Staveley and son, Philip Staveley Foster decided to build a church on the estate for use by the family and by those living and working on the estate.
Abraham Briggs Foster
Philip Staveley Foster
In 2013 Rev. Jonathan Iddon took responsibility for Canwell and is now guiding it forward into the next stage of its development.
From 2005 till his retirement in 2013, Rev. Michael MacLachlan was the minister in charge of Canwell. Over recent years there has been a significant amount of residential development in part of the Parish. A number of new congregation members come from this area, and we continue to see the benefit of the facilities afforded by the Parish Room. It is encouraging to see the numbers of people coming forward for baptism and confirmation, and to have their weddings in our Church.
Rev. Philip Hall was resident minister from 1996 to 2001.
This period saw the completion of the Parish Room extension which has had a dramatic effect on the church by giving us facilities for fellowship, group meetings and social events.
These years also saw the beginning of the new millennium which was marked by the generous gift of a stained glass window donated by the Canwell Agricultural Show committee.
Rev. Roy Ball was vicar from 1989 to 1994.
During this period, dedicated Church members worked hard to demonstrate the benefits that would result from a Parish Room Extension. Money was raised from the congregation and by approaching local and national charities. Following these successful fundraising campaigns, planning for the construction of the extension began.
Rev. Graham McNamee was in charge from 1978 to 1987 and became vicar of Canwell in 1983, when Canwell became a Parish by Act of Parliament. It became a parish by areas being transferred from the neighbouring parishes of St. James Hill, St. Mary the Virgin in Weeford, St. Peter's in Drayton Bassett and St. Bartholomew's in Hints.
Rev. W. R. Heskith was curate in charge from 1971 to 1977.
Rev. G. E. Weaver was curate in charge from 1964 to 1970.
From 1960 to 1964, Rev. R. P. Powell was curate in charge.
From 1952 to 1960, the church was in the care of Rev. Cyril Bishop.
Rev. H. H. Follis was curate in charge from 1947 to 1951.
For the closing years of the second World War and until 1947 Canwell Church was in the charge of Rev. E. L. G. Whitehouse. These would have been momentous years with servicemen coming back from the war. Rev. Whitehouse did not enjoy good health and his early death in 1947 brought his tenure to a premature end. The church possesses a handsome silver wafer box which was presented in his memory by his parents. It bears the inscription, “He being perfect in a short time fulfilled a long time”
Wisdom IV 13.
The Rev. B. B. P. Egerton was curate in charge of Canwell from 1936 to 1943. His period of office would see the build up of tension in Europe resulting in the Second World War. This was a time when able bodied men would have to leave their families to go to war and when the jobs they left behind would have to be carried on by the remaining members of their family.
From 1918 to 1936 L. A. Pritchard was the curate in charge. At the end of the First World War in 1919 Canwell Hall and Estate were sold to the City of Birmingham. The estate consisted of 14 farms and they were used to create a number of small holdings for the settlement of ex-servicemen returning from the war. The hall was used as a convalescent home for war wounded, and later as a children’s hospital.
The church was then transferred to the Lichfield Diocese and in 1921 became available for worship by the general public but at this stage did not have a defined parish.
From 1911 to 1916 the chapel was in the charge of C. C. Wilson, curate in charge of the conventional district of Canwell. This would take his period of involvement into the middle of the First World War, and a plaque just inside the church entrance records the names of those from Canwell who lost their lives in the conflict.
The first priest associated with our church was Rev. A. H. Bell who was the curate of St. James Hill and priest in charge of Canwell, which was at this stage a private chapel.
The architect chosen was Temple Moore who had been a pupil of Gilbert Scott Junior. The church was dedicated on 15th August 1911 by Augustus, Bishop of Lichfield.