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Aston Parish Church?

Welcome to Aston Parish Church… err.. I mean welcome to Ss Peter and Paul Church, Aston-juxta-Birmingham.

The church’ complicated name has its origins in 100 years of dispute as Aston fought against being taken over by Birmingham. In 1911 Aston was absorbed by Birmingham, but there are still reminders of the 19th century municipal strife.

There has been a church on the site in all three millennia. The tower, built in 1480 and the huge Victorian church structure make a clear statement about the wealth of the area until the Holte estate was divided up and sold off in 1817. Until 200 years ago, Aston was a more important place than Birmingham. The history of the church cannot be separated from the history of Aston and local people.

Within the church you can see evidence of many major events in English history; the wars of the Roses, the Reformation, and the First and Second World Wars to name a few. However, two events of significant interest are recorded:

  1. Domesday Book: In 1086 there was a church with a full time priest. The area was valued at 100 shillings… the nearby village of Birmingham had a value of 20 shillings.
  2. English Civil War: Six soldiers were buried in the churchyard, killed in the siege of Aston Hall, their graves unmarked. Damage caused by a Parliamentary cannon ball is still visible at nearby Aston Hall.

The church contains some fine monuments associated with local families. The oldest is the tomb of Ralph Arden, who died 1360) from whom William Shakespeare was a direct descendant. The Erdington family tomb is mid fifteenth century. There are some fine Holte family (owners of Aston Hall) memorials. In addition, there are some beatiful stained glass windows, some of which date as late as the beginning of the 1930s.

The ancient parish of Aston was vast. It’s extremities included Sparkbrook, Perry Common, Lozells and Water Orton ( the latter of which is in Warwickshire).

Purchase the guide

A 32 page illustrated History and Guide provides a detailed guide to the present building and also some of the history of Aston. Send a £5 cheque payable to “The Parish of Aston and Nechells” for a copy (inclusive of postage and packing) to Aston Vicarage, Sycamore Road, Aston Birmingham B6 5UH, England.

Plevins window

This window in the south aisle is dedicated to the memory of Joseph and Francis Plevins. Following a public appeal for information we now know that Joseph Plevins was a builder, surveyor and architect. He was a significant local employer.

The dedication on the window and a brass plaque on the wall is; ‘to the memory of Joseph Plevins who died July 23 1846 and Frances Plevins his wife who died July 10th 1844’

Joseph was born in Aston in 1784, married his first wife Anne in 1819, but she died on 20 July 1821. Francis was his second wife. They married on 26 January 1822 at St Martin’s in the Bull Ring. Local trade directories and the Churchwardens accounts show that he initially lived in Pritchett Street (in the parish of Aston, from 2006 the Parish of Aston and Nechells) . He moved to Ashted Row before 1825. His death was recorded in Edgbaston possible at his son’s home in Harbourne Road.

The churchwardens accounts of 1822 show that Joseph paid to the churchwardens a Poor Rate of 11/- on his house and £1 – 12’ on his shop (builders yard and works). The latter is one of the highest rates in the ledger. From 1835 his office was at 8 Waterloo Street in Birmingham City Centre. This office was used by his son Thomson until his death in 1897.

At some time the building firm became a partnership with Pashby and was known as Pashby and Plevins. This partnership was dissolved about 10 years after Josephs death. There are records that show the Pashby continued to use the Builders Yard in Pritchett Street until the early years if the 20th century.