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BOLDMERE* St Michael 8, 13-3-14 in F

Grid Reference 139/109938 Boldmere Church - Source: David Kelly
Postcode B73 5RX
Recording
Affiliation St Martin's Guild
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 1030-1100 & 1720-1800
Practice Wednesday 1945-2115

History

This church was built in 1856/7 and enlarged in 1871. Only the south aisle and the tower survived a major fire in 1964. A modern church was built to replace it, unusually using Staffordshire blue brick, incorporating the tower and aisle.

Prior to the installation of the ring there was one bell in the tower. The whole ring was given by Harriet and Charlotte Inston in 1906 in memory of their father, Thomas at a cost of just under £600, after allowance for the old bell. The cast iron frame and fittings are mainly contemporary with the bells.

On Saturday, 22 December 1906, the bells were dedicated by Canon Mansfield Owen (afterwards Dean of Ripon) acting on behalf of the bishop of the diocese and rung for the first time. A peal was rung on the same day. This was reported in "Bell News" in the edition of December 29th 1906:

The front 7 bells are simply incribed BARWELL FOUNDER BIRMINGHAM A.D. 1906 around the shoulder and have the Barwell mark on the waist. The tenor is inscribed:

BARWELL FOUNDER BIRMINGHAM on the shoulder and on the waist:

TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN MEMORY OF THEIR FATHER
THOMAS INSTON
THIS RING OF BELLS WAS GIVEN
BY HARRIET AND CHARLOTTE INSTON
A.D. 1906

The church website notes, "In 1946 the bells were found to be in poor condition and it was considered dangerous to ring them. An estimate for repairs and recasting obtained from a firm of bell manufacturers amounted to £1200 and not unnaturally was received by the church council with great concern. Fortunately, help was at hand. Mr. J. Grason with the aid of his son Arthur and his son-in-law, George Lister, offered with considerable trepidation as he himself admits to undertake the work. Enlisting the help of the church's good friends, Messrs. G. T. Stephens and Son, Builders, who supplied the scaffolding they dismantled the bells under conditions of great difficulty - lack of manipulation space, amid filth and grease and exposed to the icy winds in the belfry - in their spare time during six weeks to complete their self-imposed task. The total cost of this work was £55/9/2!"

The tenor was rehung on ball bearings by the local ringers in 1989. This proved successful and the rest of the bells were rehung in 1993. The bearing housings and gudgeon pins were specially designed to replicate the originals and produced by a local toolmaking company. In 2005 the original ground pulleys were replaced with replicas made of oak with Nylacast sheaves running on ball bearings. In 2008 the clappers were re-bushed with Tufnol/PTFE and fitted with new stainless steel staple pins by Whites of Appleton

These bells are a rarity in that they are a complete Barwell ring of 8. The only others are at Wolverhampton, Blakenhall (where the church is closed and it currently an antiques centre) and Capetown, Woodstock. They are in F (697Hz) and not F# as is often quoted. They were all cast with flat tops.

Details of the Bells

1 James Barwell, Birmingham & Co,  1906   4-1-09  27.375"  1407.0Hz (F+12c)
2 James Barwell, Birmingham & Co,  1906   4-1-11  27.625"  1324.5Hz (E+8c)
3 James Barwell, Birmingham & Co,  1906   4-2-00  28.25"   1177.0Hz (D+3c)
4 James Barwell, Birmingham & Co,  1906   5-0-24  30.25"   1040.0Hz (C-11c)
5 James Barwell, Birmingham & Co,  1906   6-3-06  33.25"    933.0Hz (Bb+1c)
6 James Barwell, Birmingham & Co,  1906   7-2-03  35.00"    877.5Hz (A-5c)
7 James Barwell, Birmingham & Co,  1906   9-3-03  39.50"    772.0Hz (G-27c)
8 James Barwell, Birmingham & Co,  1906  13-3-14  43.75"    697.0Hz (F-4c)

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