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ROWINGTON St Laurence 6, 13-3-0 in F (GF)

Grid Reference 151/204693 Rowington Church - Source: M Chester
Postcode CV35 7AB
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday Festivals and Holy Days
Practice Wednesday & Friday 1730

History

A fine church set in the west of the Diocese near to Warwick, but actually in the Coventry District. The bells are rung from the chancel crossing and handle well. The church is of more than average interest both for its architectural detail and the abnormal development of its plan. The earliest part of the present structure was a nave of unusual proportions, 46 ft. long by 29 ft. wide. The two plain traceried windows in the south wall belonged to it, as well as the blocked lancet in the west wall, and are probably of late-13th-century date; but the north wall may be the relic of a still earlier church. There is no evidence that this nave had any arcades within it to form side-aisles, but there was probably a small chancel, indicated approximately by the present ante-chancel. The first change appears to have been the addition of the central tower, built within the east end of the nave, leaving shallow transeptal chapels to north and south. This was done c. 1330 and was followed immediately by the addition of the chancel, east of the former chancel. There is a record of a chapel north of the chancel, but no traces of its walls remain.

In the early 15th century the two arcades were inserted inside the nave, the south-west respond partly blocking the 13th-century lancet in the west wall, and the chancel arch was rebuilt and probably widened. The west doorway and window are also of the same century and the north half of the west wall was rebuilt at the same time. In 1554 the north aisle-chapel was added; the earlier north chapel seems to have been entirely destroyed, but two windows reset in the north wall may have belonged to it. The west wall of the aisle was built west of the central tower, probably to allow direct access to the aisle from the north aisle of the nave, the north walls of the tower-transept and ante-chapel perhaps not being removed until later. Besides the abolition of the north walls mentioned, the archway which opened into the former chapel has been widened and fitted with a beamlintel in place of the head. The south porch is of 1906 and various restorations were carried out during the 20th century.

This ring used to be well know for its very much too low/long ropes. Happily, the newly established band have seen to this and they are now perfectly acceptable.

Until 1887 they were a complete Leicester ring of 5, when Carrs of Smethwick recast the treble. The following appeared in The Ringing World of July 28th 1944, in a sectino about churches with central towers:

"At St. Lawrence’s Church, Rowington, Warwickshire, is a ring of five in a minor key, where the ropes come down in the pews from its central tower. They are also ‘ anti-clockwise.’ The treble hangs over the others slantwise in position, and is a recast by Carr, of Smethwick, 1887, of the former bell of 1633, by Hugh Watts, of Leicester, who cast the 2nd, 4th and tenor. The 3rd is by Newcombe, 1609, and tenor weighs 6 cwt. 1 qr. 6 lb. Granted to the Abbey of Reading in the reign of Henry I., this church remained the property of that house until the Dissolution. It is, perhaps, unique in its arrangement, possibly from its original design as a cruciform building being interrupted. The tower rises out of the nave at its eastern end, and beyond which the nave seems to reappear at a lesser width, and a shallow transept is on the South side of the tower. The character of many portions of the church has so little definition as to render their assignment to any particular style or age a matter of difficulty."

They were hung in a new cast iron (lowside) frame and fittings by Taylors in 1958 at which time the second was recast and a new treble added. This replaced the old wooden frame which had the treble hung above the other four in the middle of the frame and set diagonally to it. Only the fourth has canons today. The Taylor bells were cast with flat tops, the Newcombe bell retains its canons and the others have had them removed. This was reported in The Ringing World of February 27th 1959: "Rowington’s bells have just been rehung and made into six. At the dedication service on Sunday, February 8th last, they were rung by a local band for the first time. These bells have been silent for some years, so we can look forward to some renewed interest here.."

The first peal on the bells was rung in 1964

You can park in a church car park on the opposite side of the road near the lych gate. Follow the path to a door on the north side of the church.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1958   4-3-16  28.375"  1185.0Hz (D+15c)
2 Charles Carr, Smethwick         1887   6-1-08  31.125"  1069.0Hz (C+37c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1958   6-3-24  32.875"   949.0Hz (Bb+31c)
4 Newcombe, Leicester             1609   7-2-26  35.25"    887.0Hz (A+14c)
5 Hugh Watts II, Leicester        1620   9-1-22  38.125"   803.0Hz (G+41c)
6 Hugh Watts II, Leicester        1633  13-3-00  42.75"    711.0Hz (F+31c)

Photo Gallery

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The Church Looking East The Sanctuary  The Ringing Area
in the Chancel
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The Door to the stairs up the
tower, in one of the piers
The Bells  
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Plan of the Church

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