Rowley & St Giles

Although Rowley is not specifically mentioned in the DOOMSDAY BOOK there is little doubt that there was a settlement here in Saxon times and to this day there can be heard in the local dialect the occasional Saxon word,( i.e. Bin & bist. Meaning the same in the Blackcountry dialect as in German).  

At that time however the Spiritual needs of the community were catered for by St. Leonard’s Church at Clent some six  miles away.  

The earliest traceable records inform us that at some time during the reign of King John (1199 to 1216) the first Rowley Church was built as a Chapel of Ease under the care of a Curate and it was not until 1855 that Rowley became a parish in its own right.  

St. Giles Church holds a central position within the community of Rowley.  It is an urban parish and has a population of approximately 18,000, with a slightly higher proportion of females to males.  

Rowley is predominately white, with a small percentage of mixed Asian Indian, Asian Pakistani, Black Caribbean, Black other and Chinese ethnicity. 

Seventy seven percent of Rowley people are Christians with other religions of Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, or no religion. 

Rowley is probably unique in having had four different church buildings, all dedicated to St Giles, standing on the same ground within a span of 85 years.  

  • The first known church, a plain stone building was built circa 1200 and stood until 1840. 
  • The foundation stone of the second church, built in the gothic style, was laid by the Reverend George Barrs in 1840. This building was closed due to subsidence in 1894 and demolished in 1900. 
  • The third, a red brick building, was opened in 1907 and destroyed in a mysterious fire in June 1913.
  • The fourth and present St. Giles opened in 1923.

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