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KERESLEY* St Thomas 6, 3-3-10 in D

Grid Reference 140/317825 Keresley Church - Source M Chester
Postcode CV6 2PD
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 1000-1030
Practice Tuesday 1900-2000 (Check)
Other Information Benefice Website

History

Quite close to Coventry City Centre but not actually in Coventry, St Thomas' church is a red sandstone building right by the main road out to Fillongley, the B4098, and eventually Tamworth - hence it is on the Tamworth Road. (The church is called, for some reason, Brownshill Green in Ron Johnson's "Atlas of Bells"; Brownshill Green being the neighbouring part of Coventry).

The church was consecrated in 1847. The building, of red sandstone, standing in Tamworth Road in Keresley, between High Street and Sandpits Lane, was designed mainly in the Early English style by Benjamin Ferrey. It consists of nave, chancel, south porch, and pinnacled western tower surmounted by a spire. The cost was partly defrayed by a grant from the Church Building Commission.

The first notice of ringing that I can locate at present is from Bell News of 15th September 1900:

The first peal on the bells was rung in 1913:

 

There was an article about Keresley  in The Ringing World April 8th 1938:

"NEW BAND FORMED AT KERESLEY.
ADDITIONAL BELL HOPED FOR.
With the view of putting the band of bellringers in the parish of Keresley with Coundon, Coventry, W arwickshire, on a proper footing and the promotion of the art of campanology among churchmen there, a parish church society was formed at a meeting which was held in the belfry of St. Thomas’ Church, Keresley, on March 7th. The society has the name St. Thomas’, Keresley and Coundon Society of Church Bellringers.
The Vicar is president and the churchwardens vice-presidents. Mr. C. H. W ebb was elected Ringing Master and Mr. W . Ensor steeplekeeper. Mr. F. East was appointed hon. secretary.
Members include all the old ringers and several newcomers to the district interested in bellringing. Two probationers are in training.
The society practises on Monday nights regularly. Nearly all the members and associates are members of the Warwickshire Guild. The church has five bells and a fund has been opened to provide a sixth bell."

This was then reported in The Ringing World of October 14th 1938:

"At Keresley, a Warwickshire five-bell tower, where a young band is making excellent progress and rang three quarter-peals of Grandsire Doubles on Sunday week for the harvest festival and services of thanksgiving for the maintenance of peace, it is hoped shortly to augment the bells by the addition of a treble.
THANKSGIVING RINGING.
Three quarter-peals of Grandsire Doubles were rung on Sunday, October 2nd, at Keresley, Warwickshire, for the harvest festival and thanksgiving services. Before 8 a.m. Holy Communion, by W. J. Ensor (first quarter-peal) 1, S. J. Oughton 2, E. Stone (conductor) 3, F. N. Maskell 4, P. Stone 5. For matins, by F. P. East (first quarterpeal) 1, A. W . Bristow 2, P. Stone 3, S. J. Oughton 4, W . A. Stote (conductor) 5. For evensong, by E. Stone 1, S. Oughton (first ‘ inside ’) 2, S. J. Ought-on 3, F. N. Maskell 4, P. Stone (conductor) 5."

The augmentation, of course, did not happen until much later, however, the local band were soon able to ring a peal on their own bells.

There was more about the tower in bells in The Ringing World of August 22nd 1939:

"After being closed about two months for restoration, the tower of St. Thomas’ Church, Keresley, Coventry, is open again for the usual Sunday service ringing and practice on Monday evenings. Bell founders have been invited to tender for a new treble to complete the peal of six, the ringers having already raised about £40 towards the cost."

One can speculate that what was to occur a matter of days later scuppered the project.

Thne ringing room was, at one stage rather unusual. Are recorded by Ernest Morris in The Ringing World of May 11th 1945:

"At Keresley, near Coventry, St. Thomas’ Church has a ring of five, all by C. and G. Mears, 1848, with tenor 6¼ cwt. There the ringing chamber was very peculiar. It is behind an organ case, and the ringers stood on a series of ‘steps which once was a gallery. The fourth ringer’s head was on a level with the treble ringer’s knees. Of recent years, however, this has been levelled up."

The bells were a slightly heavier ring of five until they were recast and rehung into the lightest ring in the Diocese by Taylors in 1980/1. They are now in a two tier frame - the fourth on top. Dove did say that the bells are in the key of D, but the bell weights card from Taylors says Eb. The tenor is actually 1196Hz (D plus 32 cents).

The first peal on the new bells was rung in 1981:

In the edition of The Ringing World of November 13th 1981 there was an advert explaning the then new pendulum slider with a steel stay mechanism that was first employed at Keresley - this system means that the bells do seem to be on slightly "springy" stays when you grab hold of the rope!  It give pictures of the bells at the foundry.


(
Click to enlarge)

The old bells were all by C & G Mears, 1848 - a ring of five, tenor 6-1-10 in Bb. They were rehung by Mears & Stainbank in 1898 and 1930.

Pleasant to hear and easy to ring.  You normally enter by the tower door, though you can get to the ringing chamber from the church, using the stairs to the organ and then going round the back. Parking is slightly tricky. A few cars can park half on/half off the pavement on the road by the tower, otherwise try the road at the back of the church.

BTW - pronounce Keresley in two syllables - "Kers", "Lea", or, if you are trying to sound posh, "Cars", Lea" - but we probably won't understand you if you do!

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1980  1-2-00  18.75"   2010.0Hz (B+36c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1980  1-3-08  20.00"   1794.0Hz (A+33c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1980  2-0-12  21.50"   1596.0Hz (G+31c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1980  2-1-22  22.375"  1507.0Hz (F#+31c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1980  2-3-08  24.50"   1340.0Hz (E+28c)
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1980  3-3-10  26.25"   1196.0Hz (D+31c)

Details of the Previous Bell s

1 C & G Mears, London             1848  3-1-21  24.75"
2 C & G Mears, London             1848  3-2-03  26.50"
3 C & G Mears, London             1848  4-1-14  28.00"
4 C & G Mears, London             1848  4-1-24  29.50"
5 C & G Mears, London             1848  6-1-10  32.75"

Photo Gallery

keresley2_small keresley_west_small keresley_font_small keresley3_small
The Church -
Looking East
The Church -
Looking West
The Font The Ringing Room
keresley4th_small keresley_tenor_small keresley_5th_small  
The Fourth in the
Upper Frame 
The Tenor
Treble to the Right
5th bell to Left,
Frame for 4th Between
The Fifth.
Note the Sprung
Steel Stay,
Pendulum Slider
& Girder Frame 
 

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