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MOSELEY* St Mary 10, 18-0-9 in F

Grid Reference 139/077832 Moseley St Mary Church - Source: CCCBR
Postcode B13 8JG
Recordings The Steel 8:-  
The New 10:-  
Affiliation St Martin's Guild
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0915-1000
Practice Monday 1930-2100
Other Information St Mary's Bells Website
Parish Website


Until 1853 Moseley was a chapelry, first of Bromsgrove and then of Kings Norton (which only became a parish in 1846). It was from Kings Norton that the parish of Moseley was eventually created in 1853. St.Mary’s was first built as a chapelry in the fifteenth century, and the present tower, said to have been begun in 1496, was added early in the following century. The building has been enlarged and rebuilt several times – notably in 1783, 1823-4, 1886 and 1910 – and the tower is all that now remains of the old chapel. The tower was restored in 1913.

At the time of the 1552 inventory there were three bells here. The number stayed the same until they were replaced by a steel ring of 8 bells, though each had been recast. These bells were sold to the neighbouring parish of St Annes on their removal and they form part of what is now a ring of 6 (q.v.).

The "new" bells were originally hung at St. Marie’s, Sheffield, (now Hallam R.C. Cathedral) in July 1861. They became surplus to requirements when a new ring of eight bell-metal bells was installed there in 1873-4. They were hung by Vickers in Moseley in 1874. The original treble was replaced when the bells were transferred to Moseley, and the second (dated 1858) may be a substitute for one of the original Sheffield bells. This firm tended to cast a number of bells at various times and take rings from them as required, not always casting "to order". All the bells have "button tops".

Though the vicar did write a glowing testimonial about the bells and their hangings, they are not in a very substantial frame. As early as 1887 Taylors commented on the weakness of the frame. This frame is on two levels, with 1, 3, 4 & 7 above the others. Carrs of Smethwick replaced some of the fittings in 1903, but they remained a difficult ring. The ringing room floor was removed during the rebuilding of the church in 1909 and ringing was stopped and an Ellacombe apparatus installed.

The following is reported from a speech  given by Mr A Padden Smith at a dinner in Sheffield in 1938
".. There had in the past been many interchanges of visits between Birmingham and Sheffield ringers, and he recalled that Mr. Harry Hattersley had said that at St. Marie’ s, Sheffield, they had the finest peal of eight bells in the world. He was not going to dispute that, but he could tell them where there was the rottenest peal of bells in the world, and they came from St. Marie’s. The Roman Catholics did not like them very much, but they did not like to give them away, so they advertised them for sale. "At that time a church in Mosley, Birmingham, was thinking of filling its tower with a peal of bells. The churchwardens happened to notice the advertisement, and came, with others, to hear the bells at St. Marie’s. It was long before his day, but he understood the churchwardens and clergyman were taken round, about a mile and a half from the church, while the bells were rung, and they were treated to liberal quantities of what was known as ‘ Tenants’ ’ (laughter), with the result that they struck a bargain and these absolutely putrid bells, cast from steel, were bought by one of the wealthiest churches in Birmingham, where they hung at this moment. Peals had been rung on them, "but they were now hung dead  (sic). As a business man he wondered if he could do a deal and send the old bells back in exchange for the ones St. Marie’s now had (laughter)."

They were overhauled, using parts supplied by Eayre and Smith, mainly using local labour in 1991/2 and ringing restarted. The back 5 were reasonably in tune, but the third was very flat and the second and treble sharp and flat enough respectively to be almost the same note. The tenor was weighed at the 1991 restoration and all other weights are approximate.

On 17th May 2008 the tenor departed from its bearings and landed safely in the pit. The wheel, gudgeons and bearings were all wrecked, but the bell itself has not been damaged.

The ring was replaced in 2012 with bells based on the back three bells of a church in Greenock, Scotland that had been made redundant; with seven new trebles cast by Taylors to G & J Profiles. They were test rung on 18th October 2012 - the difference is remarkable! They are a fine ring of 10. The steel bells have gone to Knapps Farm, Doulton Beacon, Somerset and are currently totally unhung and at ground level. 

(Most of the above information is quoted directly (with permission) from the research notes of Chris Pickford)

Details of the Bells

 1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    2012   4-1-11  25.50"   1733.0Hz (A-27c)
 2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    2012   4-2-19  26.50"   1543.0Hz (G-28c)
 3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    2012   4-2-17  27.375"  1367.0Hz (F-37c)
 4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    2012   5-0-05  28.50"   1293.0Hz (E-34c)
 5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    2012   5-2-11  30.00"   1153.0Hz (D-32c)
 6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    2012   6-0-12  31.50"   1027.0Hz (C-33)
 7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    2012   7-1-15  34.00"    916.0Hz (Bb-31c)
 8 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon       1950   9-1-05  36.60"    864.0Hz (A-32c)
 9 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon       1950  12-3-26  41.00"    770.0Hz (G-31c)
10 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon       1950  18-0-09  45.50"    686.0Hz (F-31c)

Details of the Steel Bells

 1 Vickers Sons & Co Ltd, Sheffield  1874   4¼cwt   30.75"   1136.0Hz (Db+42.06)
 2 Naylor Vickers & Co, Sheffield    1858   5cwt    31.75"   1120.0Hz (Db-17.51)
 3 Naylor Vickers & Co, Sheffield    1861   6½cwt   35.50"    919.5Hz (Bb-23.98)
 4 Naylor Vickers & Co, Sheffield    1861   7cwt    38.50"    854.5Hz (Ab+49.09)  
 5 Naylor Vickers & Co, Sheffield    1860   8cwt    41.75"    776.0Hz (G-17.74)  
 6 Naylor Vickers & Co, Sheffield    1861   8½cwt   44.75"    732.0Hz (F#-18.79)
 7 Naylor Vickers & Co, Sheffield    1861  12½cwt   49.50"    648.0Hz (E-29.81)
 8 Naylor Vickers & Co, Sheffield    1860  16-3-03  53.50"    590.5Hz (D+9.32)

Details of the Previous Bells

 1 Hugh Watts II, Leicester          1638   2-0-24  22.50"
 2 John Martin, Worcester            1650   2-3-06  24.75"
 3 William Brooke, Bromsgrove        1740   3-1-16  27.125"

Photo Gallery

The old tenor in its pit,
having jumped the
bearings on 17/5/08
The Interior. Source: Birmingham and Dudley Historic Churches The Interior. Source Margaret Jones 
The Interior Over Time  

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