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Warley Baptist Church Story

The work began in Beech Lanes Chapel in 1798, when preachers from Bond Street Church were sent out two by two by the Revd E.E. Edmonds to evangelise the village communities around the area.


A Chapel was built in 1824 which was supplied with preachers from the mother church. It was due to the friends at Beech Lanes that the attention of the Bond Street Church was drawn to the needs if Harborne and resulted eventually in the formation of a church there.

From 1896 - 1898 the Revd G. Dunnett as Pastor, he was also in charge of Halesowen and Carter Lane Churches. He was succeeded by the Revd W.H. Purchase, who for twenty-three years, did much to make it possible for the church to seize the opportunity that came in 1935.

The Revd. MacFarlane served as a lay pastor for a short time, and the Revd J.J. Young, of Princes End, settled in 1925 and was pastor up to the time of home call 1930. God greatly blessed his labours, and during his time the movement was inaugurated for a new centre on the main road from Wolverhampton to Birmingham​.

Mr J.W. Willes accepted the lay pastorate in 1931 and continued with rare devotion until Beech Lanes died that she might rise again in the new church at Warley. Sir Hugh Gilzean-Reid, LLD, DL when connected with the Birmingham Post, often went to Beech Lanes Chapel to worship. His Home, Warley Abbey, was often used as a meeting place for Free Churchmen.

The Birmingham Baptist Extension Fund was inaugurated in 1927, One of the results of this was the purchasing of a  freehold site at the corner of Castle Road East and the Wolverhampton Road at Warley to replace the premises formerly known as Beech Lanes. There was a large gathering at a stone laying on 9th February 1935.

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Beech Lanes (now Hagley Road West)

235 - 245 Cottages
Where the Church met before

Beech Lanes Chapel opposite

The new premises will be used for Church and Sunday School purposes, and when the Chapel is built it is to be placed on higher ground. The stone - laying was followed by tea and an evening meeting. The association voted £1,000 to this new project. The stones laid are in the walls of the Church Hall.

On June 6th 1935 Warley Baptist Church was born. four days earlier six members had resigned from Beeches Lanes and they became the Foundation Members of the New Church at Warley. 

The Opening Ceremony and Dedication of the new Church took place on Saturday July 13th 1935. The lay pastor Mr J Willis preached at the service on the Sunday. At a Church meeting on July 29th Mr Willis was invited to become Lay Pastor. 

The Church membership was now at 39 persons attending. The Church continued to grow in numbers and in spiritual insight under the devoted leadership of Mr Willis.

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On March 3rd 1936, a Constitution for the church was adopted. So the new church was firmly established. The Sunday School spread to the Blue Ribbon Hut at the top Castle Road. More children were being attracted to Morning Worship and a League of  Young Worshippers was formed.​

The first Sunday School outing took place in 1936 to  the Lickey Hills. The Anniversary, the Outings and Christmas Parties were the highlights of the year. as also was the Church and Pastor's Anniversary. In 1937 a Choir was formed and led the singing of Hymns each week. Often an anthem was sung as part of worship and on special occasions. 

In 1939 Mr Willis tendered his resignation as Lay Pastor. During his time he had laid a strong and sure foundations on which a future Minister could build. The Church of Redeemer (on Hagley Road) offered to help the Warley Church during its time without a leader. War clouds were gathering and everyday living was becoming more difficult- the future seemed bleak.Young men were being called up for military service. 

These were some of the problems faced by the church at the time. But with encouragement of Revd Ernest Price and after praying, seeking God's guidance it was decided to call minister to "preach with a view". War was declared in September 1939- with blackout, air raids shelters, gas masks and food shortages.But in spite of all this the Lord's work continued at Warley. with encouragement from Ernest Price it was decided to invite him to " preach with a view"

On Sunday 11th February 1940 , Revd R S R Cox BA came to preach. 

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