In 1841, a monk of Downside Abbey, William Ullathorne OSB, came to Coventry from Australia, where he was Vicar General. When he arrived in Coventry, there was a small chapel, dedicated to St Lawrence and St Mary, on the site of the present church. He set about planning for the construction of the church and got Charles Hansom to design it. Construction started in 1843 and was finished two years later. On 9 September 1845, the church was consecrated by the Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District, Nicholas Wiseman. On 21 June 1846, Ullathorne became Vicar Apostolic of the Western District and the ceremony was held in the church, in attendance was John Henry Newman.

On 14 November 1940, parts of the city was bombed during an air raid. The church’s roof, chancel, east side masonry and all the windows and furnishings were destroyed. Until 1944, the church was in partial ruins. That year the chancel ruins were separated from the nave allowing services to temporarily resume.

The Benedictines from Downside served the parish until 1992, when it was handed over to the Archdiocese of Birmingham. In 2008, the Apostles of Jesus were invited by the archdiocese to serve the church and the nearby parishes.  Priests from the Apostles of Jesus also administer St Elizabeth’s Church and Saints Mary and Benedict’s Church in the city.