In about the year 1142 a priory was founded at Canwell. It observed the Benedictine
Order and was dedicated to St Giles, a dedication which has been passed on to our
The Priory received gifts of money and property which over the years allowed the
community to grow. However the phase of growth was followed by decline and by
the time that Henry VIII came to the throne only one monk remained and in 1526
as part of the dissolution of the monasteries the Manor of Canwell was passed
across to Cardinal Wolsey, the Priory was closed down and the estate was
transferred to Bishop Vesey, who was at the time Bishop of Exeter, but who had
grown up in Sutton Coldfield.
The Estate passed through various hands with a family called Lawley building
Canwell Hall near to the ruins of the one time Priory. In 1872 the Estate
was purchased by Mr Abram Briggs Foster who was the owner of Black Dyke Mill
in Bradford, manufacturers of worsted cloth, and well known as being sponsors of
the Black Dyke Mills Brass Band.
In 1904 Abram Foster died and in his memory his son Philip Foster built the Church
as an estate church for use of the family and those who lived and worked on the
estate. The architect chosen was Temple Moore, and the church was consecrated
by the Bishop of Lichfield in 1911. The dedication was St Mary, St Giles and All Saints,
the St Giles being inherited from the orignal priory built in 1142.
After the First World War in 1914 to 1918, the Hall and Estate were sold to
Birmingham Corporation, the farms being divided up to provide smallholdings for
returning sevicemen, and the Hall being used at first as a convalescent home and
then as a children's hospital.
In 1921 the church became available for worship by the general public, and then
finally in 1983 the Canwell Parish was created by act of parliament by taking areas
from a number of surrounding parishes and becoming part of the Diocese of Lichfield.
In 1998 The Parish Hall was built which has significantly added to the facilities and
to the community life of the Parish.
The year 2011 was a year of celebration to mark the first one hundred years of
St Mary, St Giles and All Saints Church in Canwell.