"Handsworth Church, St Mary, is picturesquely situated on the Walsall road, about two miles NNW of Birmingham. It is an ancient structure, partly rebuilt and enlarged in 1820, and has a tower with six bells, which like the other remaining parts of the ancient fabric, is in the decorated style of the time of Edward III. In the chancel are two recumbent effigies of members of the Wyrley family, and an ancient piscena. On the south side, a neat groined chapel has been raised over the vault of the late celebrated engineer, James Watt, Esq, of whom there is in the chapel a beautiful white marble statue, by Chantrey. Among the numerous mural monuments in the church is one in memory of the late Matthew Boulton, Esq, of Soho. The rectory is in the patronage of the Rev John Peel, DD, and the Rev George William Murray, MA, is the incumbent.
St James Church, or chapel of ease, in the western part of this parish, is a neat structure, which was built in 1838, in the Early English style, with a tower. The curacy is in the patronage of the rector, and incumbency of the Rev Charles P Good.
Perry Barr Church, or chapel of ease, dedicated to St John, was consecrated in1833, and is in the decorated Gothic style, the exterior displaying much of the florid character, and forming a fine contrast with the chaste and simple style of the interior. The perpetual curacy is in the patronage of the Hon Frederick Gough, and incumbency of the Rev Arthur M Wyatt, of Penrose.
Oscott College, near Perry Barr, was established many years ago as a Roman Catholic Academy, and now occupies a large and handsome building, lately erected in Aston parish, Warwickshire, and dedicated to St Mary. At Maryvale is a Roman Catholic Chapel, of which the Rev CJ Aubert is priest, and near Handsworth is a small Convent of our Lady of Mercy.
In Handsworth is a large Independent Chapel, which is called the Union Chapel, and was erected in 1788, but was improved and enlarged in 1818 and 1850. The Rev John Hammond is its minister, and attached to it is a burial ground. There is a Wesleyan Chapel in Perry Barr."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]