St Laurence's Church, which has stood on its present site for at least eight or nine centuries, was for most of its existence a parish church in the county and diocese of Worcester.
Northfield used to be a large rural parish of 6,000 acres, covering much of what is now south Birmingham, and it was not taken into the city until 1911. St Laurence is now one of three remaining medieval parish churches left within the city of Birmingham.
St Laurence's stands on a modest hilltop, still surrounded by the old village centre which is now protected as a conservation area.
To the north, lies the old Rectory, rebuilt in 1933 and enlarged into a Pastoral Centre in 1976-77, but still possessing its brick and timber barn of c. 1700; and behind the barn is the new Rectory of 1976.
A church very likely existed on the site before the Norman Conquest (1066) because the Domesday Book in 1086 records a priest living in Northfield. However, the first Domesday evidence of a church is nearly a century later, about the year 1160. There was certainly a sizeable Norman church in existence in the 12th century because survivals of parts of it, especially the north door and the east end of the south aisle, show that it was something like the present church size. The Norman church was gradually replaced in the later middle ages. The fabric of this later medieval church survives almost complete.
Sunday services are held at 8.30am and 10am when there is crèche/ Sunday school. On the second Sunday in the month the 10am service is particularly focussed on the young, and there are special services for children at Christmas and Easter. The church is open for daily prayer Monday to Friday at 8am and 6pm.
School and Church
St Laurence Church stands at the heart of the parish and in easy walking distance of the church schools. This beautiful and ancient church has served the people of Northfield for nearly 1,000 years and continues to reach out into the community as a visible sign of God's love. Children and families are always welcome and especially on Sundays at 8.30am and 10am when crèche/Sunday school meets in the church vestries during the services.
In term time the pupils from St Laurence's schools regularly attend services in church led by the staff and the Rector, Fr Charles. The church is also used to help deliver the R.E. curriculum, when visiting a church and looking at religious artefacts is part of a lesson.
St Laurence was one of the seven deacons of Rome in the 3rd century. He looked after the money of the church and those in need.
When the Roman governor demanded he hand over the church's valuables, he assembled the poor and sick and said; "Here is the church's treasure." The governor was not amused and had Laurence roasted alive on an iron grid in the year 258.
In art his emblem is a gridiron, and he is shown with a quill in his hand to indicate that he was a bookkeeper.