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WALSGRAVE-ON-SOWE St Mary 6, 6-1-15 in B

Grid Reference 140/379808 Walsgrave Church - Source: David Kelly
Postcode CV2 2AW
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday By Arrangement
Practice Monday 1930-2100 (Check)

History Of The Bells

This church is in a village that has gradually been absorbed into Coventry. This is on a main dual-carriageway road, south from Junction 2 of the M6 and is near to the University Hospital. The "Sowe" in the title is a small river.

The church is fairly small, despite having aisles either side of the nave (that on the north side being far more substantial) and the first thing you notice is the different coloured stone, red sandstone for the 13th/14th century nave and chancel and grey for the 15th century west tower and aisles (a mixture is used on the north side where earlier material was presumably recycled).

The Perpendicular tower itself is fairly short, and of a type consistent with other local examples (e.g. Exhall & Ryton on Dunsmore); here its proportions have not been helped by the Victorian restoration that raised the level and pitch of the nave roof, making at break into the belfry window on the east side and giving it a stunted appearance from all sides except the west. This was done fairly often in the 19th century, where there was more thought given to enhancing the internal proportions than respecting the harmony of the existing external ones. A red sandstone clerestorey was added but lit only by tiny porthole windows, and only visible on the south side owing to the generous north aisle roof. More recently a parish centre was added to the south west corner which wholly embraces the west end of the south aisle and much of the base of the tower, though fortunately its effect is less noticeable than one might think owing to being largely camouflaged by trees.

The bells at this church were an unringable 8cwt 5 for many years until in mid 1980s when they were recast and rehung. A peal of Bob Doubles was rung on the bells in 23/4/1927. It was noted at this time that the ringing conditions were difficult, suggesting that for over 60 years the bells were in need of attention.  You had to descend into a "pit" 10ft by 5ft by 6ft deep and there was no glass in the windows.  The 4th kept trying to jump the wheel, the tenor was hard work and the treble was right in the corner and the ringer had to ring with his back to the rest of the band. The treble's wheel is reported to have disintegrated during ringing for a ringer's wedding in 1937. Details of the peal are:-

(Sadly, within 2 years the ringers of 3, 4 & 5 were all dead)

The inscriptions on the old bells were repeated in facsimile on the new ones. One is "Harke doe ye heare our claperes want beer" and the other "Quantum suffiifit bibiere volo clancula vos a" - not easy to translate from Latin, but clearly a reference to the beer-drinking habits of bellringers!.

The fourth and tenor were William Bagley bells of 1702, the two remaining bells from a ring of 4. The exisiting treble was recast and a new treble was added by Taylor of Oxford in 1843. The third is a recast of the 2nd of the original 4 by Taylor of Loughborough in 1872. A chime barrel was added by George Worton of Coventry, who had previously hung the third and repaired the frame and fitting, in 1877. The old frame was of late Seventeenth Century in date, built originally for four bells, with a square void in the middle. When the bells were augmented to 5 in 1843 the pit of the second bell was turned altered to accommodate the five bells. This frame was originally re-erected in the churchyard when the completely new installation was provided, but has subsequently had to be be demolished due to the activities of local youths in the churchyard.  The new H-frame and fittings are typical Taylors of the period.

There is an old post with 4 bell call changes on it in the tower that shows they were once an anticlockwise 4.  It spells out the changes to ring Double Canterbury Minimus. See Chris Pickford's article which is in Ringing World of 20/27 December 1985 pp.1078-80 for fuller details.

The Warwick University ringers started to practice here at the beginning of 2015. They aim to practice each week, but checking that any practice will take place is advised before travelling.

It is usually best to park in the pub car park, The Red Lion just after the church.  There is a charage, but you can get (some of) it back at the bar!

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1984  2-2-04  22.375"  1682.0Hz (G#+22c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1984  3-1-08  24.00"   1492.0Hz (F#+14c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1984  3-1-09  24.875"  1325.5Hz (E+9c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1984  3-3-00  26.00"   1251.0Hz (D#+9c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1984  4-1-23  28.50"   1111.0Hz (C#+4c)
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1984  6-1-15  32.125"   986.0Hz (B-3c)

Details of the Previous Bells

1 W & J Taylor, Oxford            1843  2-2-08  24.00"
W & J Taylor, Oxford            1843  2-3-02  25.25"
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1882  4-3-23  29.50" 
4 William Bagley Chacombe         1702  6-0-01  31.00"
William Bagley Chacombe         1702  8-0-00  34.25"

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking West. Source: Mike Chester The Church - Looking East. Source: Mike Chester
The Church - Looking West The Church - Looking East
The Bells. Source: Mike Chester The Ringing Chamber. Source: Mike Chester
The Bells The Ringing Chamber 
The Frame - Source: Chris Pickford The Inscriptions. Source: Chris Pickford 
The Old Frame The Inscriptions 
The Post - Source: D Phillipson for Chris Pickford The Post - Source: 
Christopher Dalton
The "Post" What is on each side of the post. 

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