The tower of the Grade II* listed church , also known as Handsworth Old Church, dates from 1170. Many parts of the building date from the 12th and 15th centuries. There were two major rebuilds in the 19th century.
St Mary’s is known as the ‘Cathedral of the Industrial Revolution’. It is associated with several of the men who made the Midlands an industrial powerhouse in the 19th century. James Watt, steam engine pioneer, is buried in the church, with a memorial chapel erected over his tomb. There is a bust to his partner in industrial ingenuity, pioneer Matthew Boulton, in the sanctuary, and one of William Murdoch, who worked on gas lighting and the high-pressure steam engine.
There has been considerable erosion to the tower due to previous repairs being made in cement based render. The project will remove this render and any loose material and repoint the tower. Damaged slates will be replaced, as well as repairs to the window frames and interior timbers. The church will be watertight and safe.