A brief history of St.Aidan's Church


Penn parish is ancient with origins going back to Saxon times or earlier. St. Bartholomew's Church has a Saxon cross base and is located at the end of a ridge of land stretching North East to the Saxon centre of what is now Wolverhampton. A ridgeway path of the time survives as a track across the "seven cornfields" and as a footpath reaching to Coton Road. The North Eastern boundaries of the ancient parish were defined by what is now Birches Barn Road.

By the early 19th century Wolverhampton was a growing and spreading industrial town. Penn and adjacent areas were dotted with gentleman's seats and rows of more modest houses. The gentleman's seats have largely disappeared but many of the modest rows of houses survive especially around Swan Bank and in parts of Merry Hill. St.Bartholomew's Church was not well sited to meet the spiritual needs of this growing population. By the 1850's groups from both St.Bartholomew's and the new St.Paul's Church in Wolverhampton (it was demolished to make way for the ring road) were actively planning a new Church in the area between the two Churches. Their efforts culminated in the construction of St.Philip's Church just off Coalway Road. St.Philip's was opened on Friday July 8th, 1859 as a district chapel of Penn. It is not clear when the separate parish of Penn Fields was created but a date about 1880 seems likely.

In the 19th century education was often the responsibility of the local church and St.Philip's had opened a "dame school" in Bradmore shortly after it was opened, a larger school was built in Church Road in 1863 and subsequently expanded. The school was closed in 1928 and demolished in the 1960's. The site is now occupied by Ackleton Gardens. St.Philip's Institute in Victoria Road opened in 1911 to provide recreational opportunities for the local population, it was eventually closed in 1956.

A detailed account of the history of St.Philip's was compiled by Malcolm Deaville and published in 1981.

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