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BRAILES St George 6, 29-0-19 in C

Grid Reference 151/315393 Brailes Church - Source: David Kelly
Postcode OX15 5HU
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals None
Sunday Check
Practice Wednesday  1930-2100

History

Set in a very pretty part of South Warwickshire the church dominates the local area. The church is actually in Lower Brailes. The bell tower is 120 feet (37 m) high and has the third-heaviest ring of six bells Only St Buryan and Queen Camel are known to have heavier tenored rings of 6. It is the largest church in the Kington Hundred and is locally called the "Cathedral of the Feldon". Feldon is an Old English word meaning "the land from which the timber has been cleared away". Excavations in 1879 beneath the arcade between the nave and south aisle are said to have found 12th century foundations. The south aisle was added in about 1280 and is the oldest part of the present church building. The western part of the south arcade was added in about 1330–40 when the nave seems to have been extended westwards to its present length of six bays. At the same time the clerestory was added to the nave and the chancel was rebuilt[2] with its present Decorated Gothic east window. The north aisle may also be 14th century, but rebuildings and alterations in 1649 and 1879 have obscured the evidence for its original appearance. In the 15th century an additional window was inserted in the south wall of the chancel. St George's is a Grade I listed building.

The tenor is the heaviest bell ever cast by Blews of Birmingham and it must be one of their best. Blews said that it weighed 31-0-22 on delivery. The canons have been removed from all of the bells. Up some point in the 19th century these bells were rung from the ground floor, taking 15 men to ring them! There is a sanctus bell in the gable over the chancel arch.

The third bell, a recast of a Matthew Bagley bell that was cast in Chipping Norton in 1752, has a medallion depicting St George and the Dragon cast into it. The old tenor was probably cast in the early 15th century in London by John Bird. It had been long cracked prior to recasting. The fourth is a recast of a 1671 bell by Richard Keene of Woodstock. At the 1877 restoration the bells were rehung in a new oak frame with new fittings by Hooper and Stokes of Woodbury, Devon at a cost of £200. This work was never very satisfactory and the bells were again rehung in 1894, with new fittings, by Frederick White of Appleton.

Even though the bells were again rehung, (by Taylors in a two-tier frame lower in the tower in 1957-  the fourth bell above the others), and also that this frame was further strengthened in 1993, these bells are not the easiest to ring, (note the weight of the treble). Outing organisers should therefore avoid bringing relatively new learners here.

Bells 1, 2, 5 & 6 are "listed". All the bells have had their canons removed.

The tower entrance is inside the church, enter by the south door, and there is on-street parking nearby.

Details of the Bells

1 Richard Purdue, Banbury        1624   9-2-20  37.50"  870.0Hz (A-20c)
2 William Chamberlain, London   c1440  10-3-16  39.75"  778.0Hz (G-13c)
3 William Blews, Birmingham      1877  13-3-04  43.50"  692.0Hz (F-16c)
4 Mears and Stainbank, London    1900  15-2-16  46.00"  649.0hz (E-27c)
5 Richard Keene, Woodstock       1671  22-2-06  51.00"  590.0Hz (D+8c)
6 William Blews, Birmingham      1877  29-0-19  58.00"  525.0Hz (C+6c)

Photo Gallery

 
The Chancel. Source: JEH Photography Plan of the Church. Source: British History Online
The Chancel Plan of the Church
 
The Chime Barrel in Use  

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