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BIRMINGHAM* Metropolitan Cathedral Church of S Chad (R.C.) 8, 15-3-6 in F

Grid Reference 139/070876 chad - Source St Martins' Guild
Postcode B4 6EU
Affiliation St Martin's Guild
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday c.1200-1220 - after service
Practice None
Other Information Cathedral Website


St Chad’s was built between 1839 and 1841 to serve the rapidly expanding Catholic population in Birmingham. It replaced a Georgian classical chapel built in 1808 by William Hollins. The present Cathedral was designed in North German 13th century style by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852), the world famous pioneer of Gothic revival architecture. It was consecrated on 21 June 1841 by Bishop Walsh. The Cathedral is built of brick with Bath stone dressings. The south-west spire was added by Pugin’s eldest son, Edward Welby, in 1856 in memory of Canon John Moore (Administrator 1841-1848). St Chad’s was the first Catholic cathedral erected in England since the Reformation. It became the Cathedral formally in 1850. In 1941 St Chad’s was made a minor basilica by Pope Pius XII on the occasion of its centenary. St Edward’s Chapel was added in 1933 by Sebastian Pugin Powell, Pugin’s grandson, as a memorial to Archbishop Edward Ilsley, 2nd Bishop and 1st Archbishop of Birmingham. In November 1940 a bomb came through the Cathedral roof, bounced on the floor and exploded when it hit the central heating pipes. The pipes burst and the water extinguished the bomb, thus saving the Cathedral from destruction.

The bells are in the left, or North-West tower. They hang in a two tier frame, with 3, 4 and 5 on top. By the consecration Taylors had suppled a 17cwt bell. It was hung in the North-West tower, not as is sometimes said, the other tower. This bell was used for its metal when a new ring of 5, tenor 13-3-11 was supplied from the Whitechapel foundry in 1849. Blews augmented these bells to 8 in 1877. Though there was a quote from Carrs in 1939 for rehanging these bells the authorities were persuaded to replace them with a completely new ring. These were duly cast in 1939 and blessed in 1940. They are a fine example of their founder's art and are popular for peals, especially of Stedman.

There is an angelus bell of c.2cwt, possibly by Carr c.1895, with a diameter of 20.125" and sounding the note Bb in the South-West tower. This bell was hung there in 1993-4 after being obtained from a Victorian school or church in the diocese. It is sounded by a solenoid clapper operated from an angelus tolling unit supplied and installed by John Taylor & Co in May 1994.

(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    1939   4-1-18  26.625"  1384.0Hz (F-16c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1939   4-2-24  27.625"  1305.5Hz (E-17c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1939   5-0-26  29.00"   1163.0Hz (D-17c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1939   5-3-26  31.00"   1037.0Hz (C-16c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1939   6-3-10  33.625"   923.0Hz (Bb-16c)
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1939   8-0-26  35.50"    872.0Hz (A-16c)
7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1939  10-2-25  39.125"   776.5Hz (G-17c)
8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1939  15-3-06  44.06"    692.0Hz (F-16c)

Details of the Previous Ring

1 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1877   4-3-14  27.875"
2 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1877   4-3-17  28.50"
3 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1877   5-0-07  29.50"
4 C & G Mears, London               1849   6-0-15  32.00"
5 C & G Mears, London               1849   6-1-03  34.00"
6 C & G Mears, London               1849   7-3-03  36.00"
7 C & G Mears, London               1849   9-2-27  39.50"
8 C & G Mears, London               1849  13-2-25  43.00"    692.0Hz (F-16c)

 Photo Gallery

 Looking East The Organ
The Cathedral -
Looking East
The organ at the West End

BULTERS MARSTON SS Peter & Paul 6, 14-0-20 in G (GF)

Grid Reference 151/321500 Butlers Marston Church - Source M Chester
Postcode CV35 0NB
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday None
Practice None


Another lovely rural church in South Warwickshire. Ringing is from the ground floor. The church consists of a chancel with a south vestry and organ-chamber, nave, south aisle with a small south porch, and west tower. The history of the development as shown in the fabric itself has been much confused by modern restorations and repairs, but the nave probably marks the original 12th-century or earlier nave and doubtless had a chancel. The earliest apparent addition was a narrow south aisle of mid-late-12th-century date and of this the arcade of three bays survives. The chancel seems to have been rebuilt or enlarged in the 13th or 14th century, perhaps both, but there is very little evidence left in the architectural details. The aisle was widened in the 14th century, and the west tower added in the 15th. The nave has a 17th-century roof; the others are modern. The side walls of the chancel were refaced externally, if not mostly rebuilt, in the 18th century. The various repairs culminated in a restoration in 1872 which was drastic, perhaps of necessity because of earlier alterations; it included the entire rebuilding of the north wall of the nave, the renewal of the chancel arch, &c., and the provision of new roofs.

The bells are a nice ring that are easy to handle. The original five were rehung by Taylors in 1891 in a composite frame, with wooden base timbers and heads and iron "H" Sections. The frame was extended and all the existing bells were rehung on ball bearings in 1948 by Taylors when the treble was added. At this time the poor sounding fifth, a Henry Bagley I bell of 1652 like the fourth, was recast.

The Taylor bells were cast without canons and those of the other bells have been removed. The old bells have all been quarter turned.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough       1948   4-2-22  27.625"  1297.0Hz (E-28c)
2 Henry Bagley I, Chacombe             1662   5-0-02  30.00"   1156.0Hz (D-28c)
3 Robert Hendley, Gloucester          c1500   6-0-06  32.25"   1030.0Hz (C-28c)
4 Henry Bagley I, Chacombe             1652   7-0-26  34.00"    971.0hz (B-30c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough       1948  10-1-01  37.50"    866.0Hz (A-28c)
6 Edward Newcombe & Watts, Leicester  c1590  14-0-20  43.125"   770.0Hz (G-31c)

Photo Gallery  

marston1 marston2_small marston3_small
The church from
the south
The church from
the west
The ringing chamber

BURTON DASSETT All Saints 6, 13cwt in F

Grid Reference 151/399515 Burton Dassett Church - Source: Mike Chester
Postcode CV47 2AB 
Recording None Available
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday None
Practice None


Set prominently on a hill near to the M40 this is a beautiful church that is very much worth a visit. Being on a hill the church has had to adapt and therefore is built on several different levels. There are a number of very interesting wall paintings. In the early-to mid-12th century it had only a chancel and short aisle-less nave. In the early 13 century the chancel was probably remodelled and north and south transepts added to the nave. Later in the century the chancel was lengthened, new north and south windows were placed right at the east ends of the walls. Late in the 13th century the north and south aisles were added. On the south side the early-13th-century archway to the south transept was left undisturbed and the later arcade of three bays was erected west of it in the normal medieval manner, but on the north side, although the transept was retained, its archway was altered to serve as the easternmost bay of the arcade, and its western leg served also to support the cross-arch of the aisle, a method which seems to. The south windows of the south aisle were altered in the 15th century. The west tower was added in the first half of the 14th century and the nave clearstory early in the 15th century. The north porch was built about the same time as the tower or soon afterwards.

The bells are an old fashioned ring of 6 that go reasonably well. They were rehung in a single-level girder frame in 1907 by Thomas Bond of Burford. The fittings of the front 4 are of the same date.  All the bells have been quarter turned. The entrance is from inside the church and cars may park by the churchyard entrance. Organisers are advised to give several weeks notice of an intended visit as the church is isolated and someone will need to let you in.

The frame had been causing problems in that it was twisting and the tenor in particular was likely to come into contact with the frame. Eayre and Smith attended to the frame in early 2005, removing the rust and replacing bolts as necessary and, at the same time, they hung the two tenors on ball bearings with new headstocks and wheels. There is some hope that the front 4 will be hung on ball bearings in the future.

The base beams of the previous frame remain in the tower - the indicate that the back 4 were in a 4 bell frame of traditional design with the two trebles above.

Until recently the bells were some of the loudest you would be likely ever to encounter in any ringing room and it was a condition of ringing here that ear defenders were worn.  Thankfully, there has been some recent work to reduce the sound level and they are now merely "quite  loud"!

Details of the Bells

1 Henry & Matthew Bagley, Chacombe  1686   4½cwt  29.75"   1215.0Hz (D+58c)
2 Henry & Matthew Bagley, Chacombe  1686   5cwt   31.00"   1070.0Hz (C+38c)
3 Henry & Matthew Bagley, Chacombe  1686   6cwt   32.875"   959.0Hz (Bb+49c)
4 Henry & Matthew Bagley, Chacombe  1686   7½cwt  35.125"   899.0Hz (A+37c)
5 Henry & Matthew Bagley, Chacombe  1686   9cwt   36.625"   814.0Hz (G+44c)
6 Henry & Matthew Bagley, Chacombe  1686   13cwt  41.75"    715.5Hz (F+42c)

Photo Gallery

dassett2_small dassett6_small dassett1
Wall Painting Looking East Looking West
dassett5_small dassett3_small dassett4_small
The Bells The Treble The Tenor
(Note the new fittings)

BURTON HASTINGS St Botolph 5, 6-3-9 in B

Grid Reference 140/410899 Burton Hastings Church - Source Michael Chester
Postcode CV11 6XT
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 1600-1630 2nd & 4th - Check
Practice None


One of the most northerly towers in the Diocese, this is a pretty country church just off the B4109 near to J1 of the M69. It is in the centre of the village, straight on in the middle of a series of sweeping bends. This church has been relatively untouched over the centuries and any more than a congregation of around 75 would really fill it! Some parts of the church date back to the 14th century, but the present nave was built at the beginning of the 16th century. followed by the rebuilding of the tower.

The bells form a nice ring of 5, rung from a small gallery, the stairs being at the left of the photograph. The metal "H" frame and fittings are by Taylors, 1937, at which time the existing tenor, a Newcombe bell of the late sixteenth century, was recast. The frame is layout 5.1, but is set out so that a treble could be added - the current treble's wheel-side H-Frame has a spare bearing plate ready for future augmentation, if this ever happens.

The old bells retain their canons, whilst the new ones were cast with flat heads. The old bells have been quarter turned.

Entrance is from inside the church via the south door and a few cars can park in the road beside the churchyard wall.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1937  3-1-18  24.50"   1515.0Hz (F#+40c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1937  3-3-01  26.00"   1351.0Hz (E+42c)
3 Bryan Eldridge, Coventry        1657  4-1-06  27.625"  1275.0Hz (D#+42c)
4 Henry Bagley II, Chacombe       1687  5-0-01  29.625"  1135.0Hz (C#+41c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1937  6-3-09  32.50"   1011.0Hz (B+40c)

Photo Gallery

The Treble The Second The Third The Fourth The Tenor
The Treble Bell The Second Bell The Third Bell The Fourth Bell The Tenor Bell
The Front Three  hastings3_small  
The Front Three Bells   Looking Towards The Ringing Chamber   
hastings6_small hastings hastings4_small hastings2_small hastings5_small
The Small Ringing Chamber The Church - Looking East Evidence of
a Rood Loft
The Sanctuary The Modern Window
in the North Wall

BULKINGTON St James 8, 12-1-23 in G

Grid Reference 140/391867 Bulkingtyn Church - Source: David Kelly
Postcode CV12 9PZ
Affiliation  Coventry DG
Peals  Felstead Database
Sunday  0930-1000 & 1800-1830
Practice  Tuesday  1930-2100


On the main street of this large village, St James church is another that is worth spending a while examining before you ring. It consists of a chancel with a vestry on the north; a nave, with a clearstory to the south only; north and south aisles; south porch; and a western tower. The chancel is three bays in length and the nave five. Of the church as it existed early in the 13th century only the nave arcades remain, the north aisle having been rebuilt late in the same century. The south aisle was rebuilt and the present chancel added in the latter half of the 14th century. In the mid 15th century the west tower was built. The present south clearstory appears to have been either added or rebuilt in the late 15th or early 16th century, when the eastern window of the long wall of the south aisle was rebuilt in conjunction with an arched recess beneath the sill. An extensive restoration took place in the 19th Century, when the chancel vestry was added, the chancel arch rebuilt, and all the roofing reconstructed. The existing porch was built in 1907, when the tower was also restored, as was the south wall in 1928.

The bells were rehung in an eight-bell frame in 1924 - the empty pits being filled in 1948. The old bells have had their canons removed and the Taylor bells were cast with flat tops. One of the late ringers at St James built the platform on which the organ now stands.

The tower rocks noticeably when the bells are rung and to counteract this there has been in the past a plan to remove the old tenor, to be left as a clock bell, and the ring re-modelled using the 7th as the tenor and hung lower in the tower. Currently little, if anything, is occurring in this direction.

The small brassfounders bell from the late 19th centuary which was rescued when the nearby school was demolished and kept in the ringing room for a number of years has recently been hung on a bracket at the base of the tower.

Entrance is from inside at the base of the tower and there is a church car park just to the west of the tower.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1948   4-0-11  25.625"  1532.0Hz (G-40c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1948   4-0-13  26.00"   1444.0Hz (F#-43c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1924   4-2-08  27.125"  1286.0Hz (E-43c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1924   5-1-08  29.00"   1146.0Hz (D-43c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1924   5-3-26  31.50"   1020.0Hz (C-44c)
6 Newcombe, Leicester             1605   5-3-27  33.00"    964.0Hz (B-42c)
7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1924   9-3-24  37.25"    859.0Hz (A-42c)
8 Newcombe, Leicester            C16th  12-1-23  42.00"    764.0Hz (G-45c)

Photo Gallery

bulkington2_small bulkington5_small
The then 4 bells removed
from the tower in 1924
The Old School Bell.
Hung on a bracket at
the base of the tower 
bulkington4_small bulkington3_small
The Church -
Looking East
The Church -
Looking West

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