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OXHILL St Lawrence 5, 8-3-13 in Ab (GF)

Grid Reference 151/317445 Oxhill Church - Source A McRae Thompson
Postcode CV35 0QZ
Recording None Available
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday None
Practice None
Other Information Church Website

History

The church consists of a chancel, nave, north porch, and west tower. Both the nave and the chancel date from about the middle of the 12th century, but the south wall of the chancel has been considerably repaired several times, and the east wall was entirely rebuilt in the 17th or 18th century. The nave retains its original doorways, one north window, and the chancel arch, but the south wall has been largely restored in later periods. The clearstory was added early in the 16th century. The west tower and the north porch were early-15th-century additions. Dated restorations are 1865 (chancel), 1877–8, and 1908.

Originally there where three bells in the tower, all cast in 1701 by William Bagley of Chacombe. In 1878, during the general restoration of the church, the tenor bell (which had been cracked) was recast by John Taylor and Co. of Loughborough. At the same time two new bells were added to make the present ring of five, and the bells were hung in a new frame by Thomas Mallaby of Masham. The ring was dedicated at a special service on Sunday 25th. August 1878. All the bells retain their canons, except the tenor which was cast without them.

They were renovated locally in 1989 to restore the bells to ringing order after they fell silent in the 1960s due to problems with the supporting beams. An RSJ was inserted under the frame to strengthen it. They do, however, remain a little fragile and should be rung with care.

Enter through the North Door and ring from the ground floor. Park carefully by the churchyard gate.

Details of the Bells

1 William Bagley, Chacombe        1701  3-2-00  25.00"  1280.5Hz (Eb+49c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1878  4-1-14  27.50"  1133.0Hz (Db+37c)
3 William Bagley, Chacombe        1701  4-0-14  28.00"  1053.5hz (C+12c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1878  7-0-07  32.25"   940.5Hz (Bb+15c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1878  8-3-13  37.25"   822.5Hz (Ab-17c)

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson The Church - Looking West. Source: Rex Harris
The Church - Looking East The Church - Looking West

OLDBURY* Christ Church 8, 10½cwt in G - Unringable

Grid Reference 140/990895 Oldbury Church - Source: David Kelly
Postcode B69 4DN
Recordings
Short Clip c.15 sec
Longer Clip c. 3mins


Affiliation Worcs & Districts Assoc
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday None
Practice None
Other Information Unringable, electronic chiming only.

History Of The Bells

Oldbury has moved counties more than most towns! Historically it was in a detached part of Shropshire. It was transferred to Worcestershire in 1844 and to the West Midlands 130 years later. The original chapel, having one bell of 1733, was replaced by a new church in 1840/1 at a cost £4507. The old bell was put up in the new tower, along with a new one cast by Thomas Mears of London. It was decided in June of 1887 to raise the height of the tower and to replace the two bells with a ring of 8. This was completed by December of the same year. The total cost of the work amounted to over £800. The bells, cast by Warners, cost £360 and the frame and fittings cost a further £120. The tower was raised by the addition of a top stage (16ft) with pinnacles (9ft), with sound openings all round. This cost £220 and there were incidental expenses amounting to £120.

The bells were cast with "Doncaster Heads" and hung in a two tier wooden frame, with 2, 4, 6 & 7 above the others. Whitechapel rehung the bells on ball bearings in 1937. Though some 64 peals were rung on the bells they became unringable by the mid 1960s. This was partly due to the excessive tower movement that had always be present. Apart from a couple of times in the 1980s these bells have not been rung since. The church itself was declared redundant in 1991 in order that it could be redeveloped for joint secular and religious use. The nave of the church was converted into offices, the chancel being retained as the parish centre for worship under a licence dated 25 February 1992.

During the course of the conversion work the interior of the tower was gutted up to the bellchamber. A new concrete floor was put in below the bells. The lower stages of the tower are now occupied by a staircase giving access to the offices. The clock was removed, but was later replaced by a modern mechanism which struck the hours on one of the bells. In 2009 a new chiming mechanism was added that strikes on all 8 bells. The clock chimes, strikes rounds and various tunes can be played, including "Here comes the bride" (This can be heard at 1' 35" on the longer sound clip)

The bells are intact but they are now disused as there is nowhere to ring them from and there is only limited access through a small hatch in the new floor.

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

Details of the Bells

1 John Warner & Sons, London  1887   3¾cwt  25.25"
2 John Warner & Sons, London  1887   4cwt   26.375"
3 John Warner & Sons, London  1887   4½cwt  28.125"
4 John Warner & Sons, London  1887   5½cwt  30.00"
5 John Warner & Sons, London  1887   6½cwt  32.25"
6 John Warner & Sons, London  1887   7cwt   33.875"
7 John Warner & Sons, London  1887   8¼cwt  35.75"
8 John Warner & Sons, London  1887  10½cwt  38.75"

Treble – ‘Given by the employees of the Alkali Works. H D France, Manager. 1887’'
2: ‘Given by George and Alfred Thompson of this town. 1887’
3: ‘Given by Samuel Wright and Agnes Lydia, his wife. “Our hope is in the Lord”. 1887’
4: ‘Given by John Smart Wakeman of this town. 1887’
5: ‘Given by Mary Phoebe Palmer, South Abbotsfield, Malvern. “We praise Thee O God” 1887’
6: ‘Given by Benjamin Hingley, the first MP for this Division. 1887'
7: ‘Given by Alexander Macomb Chance of Oldbury, Birmingham. Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. 1887’
Tenor – ‘Given by Joseph Moore, the first organist of this Church. 1887’

Several of the donors were local businessmen: George and Alfred Thompson were maltsters in the town, John Smart Wakeman an iron merchant, and Samuel Wright a preserve manufacturer.  Alexander Macomb Chance was the Managing Director of the Alkali Works.  Mary Phoebe Palmer was the daughter of William Freeth, former occupier of ‘The Big House’ in Church Street, and the wife of Rev Palmer, who were large landowners in the town.

Photo Gallery

Group of Photos. Source: History of Oldbury, Langley and Warley The Church in 1910
Group of photos aboutthe bells
from a local history website
(Click to enlarge)
The church in 1910

NUNEATON St Nicolas 8, 14-1-5 in E

Grid Reference 140/366916 Nuneaton Church - Source M Chester
Postcode CV11 4AT
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday None
Practice None
Other Information Church Website

History

The known origins of St. Nicolas Church go back to the 12th Century. By 1118 Nuneaton, or Etone as it was then called, had fallen to one of Henry I’s warrior-knights, Robert Beaumont. The earliest visual evidence of the medieval church is to be found in the chapel on the south-east side where there is a stone seat or sedile (pictured left) and a priests’ wash basin or piscina  On the north-east side of the 15th century church was another chapel, that of St Katherine. Its space is now filled by the organ. cBy this time the main body of the church had recently undergone considerable renovation. The old steeply pitched roof had been replaced by one of a late 15th Century style with magnificent beams,  finely carved roof bosses and the popular medieval emblem of the Five Wounds of Christ, all of which have survived to the present day. Use of the Tudor Rose would mean this construction was after 1485. At the same time sixteen clerestory windows have given the Church a light and airy appearance.  In the fifteenth century King Henry V had appropriated the St. Nicolas living to the Crown, where it still remains.  The Elizabethan Protestant settlement meant the obliteration of two large medieval wall paintings (re-discovered but then lost again in the 19th Century) and the replacement of the stone altar by a beautifully carved communion table which still survives.

As Nuneaton’s population grew in the 18th Century and it became a centre for ribbon weaving, galleries were constructed on the north and south sides in 1768 and 1790 respectively to accommodate additional worshippers. Canon Savage, Vicar 1845-71 a oversaw the transformation of the church building – the east wall of the church was taken down and the chancel lengthened. The three-decker pulpit was removed. In the 1920s the Leeke Chapel, neglected for many years was thoroughly restored.  (From the church website)

The entrance up to a pleasant ring of bells is on the South side of the tower. These were a 6 by Rudhall, 1703 with the tenor recast in 1725 and the (then) second in 1809 In 1873 the tenor was again recast, as were the (now) 3rd and 5th, as well as the addition of the two trebles. The cost of the 5 new bells was £301 10s. Tilley and Walters note that the two tenors were again rehung by Warners in c.1892. It is noted also that the previous tenor was cracked on 3rd November 1872 when being rung for Sunday service. The cause is said to be that the clapper had been repaired previously by the local blacksmith, but made too heavy for the bell.

A curious installation - part of the frame is by John Over of Rugby 1809, but the central section (four parallel pits) was removed when Taylors installed four "H" frame pits in 1908. Fittings are mainly by Warner 1873, but ball bearings were fitted by Taylors in 1955.

It is worth mentioning the gravestone in the churchyard - quite easy to find- to David Wheway, a ringer who died in 1828. It has an interesting verse containing ringing analogies.

This church used to have many peals rung on its bells but house building nearby means that permission to ring peals has not normally been given for some years

A very obvious church on the main road through the town by a roundabout. Coming from the Coventry side on the A444 you will turn right at a roundabout (ignore the Through Routes to the left sign) and see it. From the A5 side on the A444 you will be directed past the church. There is a Pay and Display car park on the North side of the church.  There is also a church carpark to the east of the church on church street - ensure that you do not get locked in, however!

Details of the Bells

1 John Warner, London            1873   5cwt    28.50"  1314.0Hz (E-6c)
2 John Warner, London            1873   5½cwt   30.00"  1221.0Hz (D#-33c)
3 Abraham Rudhall I, Gloucester  1703   5¾cwt   31.50"  1100.0Hz (C#-14c)
4 John Briant, Hertford          1809   7cwt    34.00"   983.0Hz (B-8c)
5 John Warner, London            1873   8½cwt   36.00"   868.5Hz (A-23c)
6 Abraham Rudhall, Gloucester    1703   9½cwt   37.50"   816.5Hz (G#-30c)
7 John Warner, London            1873  11cwt    40.00"   723.0Hz (F#-40c)
8 John Warner, London            1873  14-1-15  44.50"   646.5Hz (E-34c)

Details of the Recast Bells

Bells recast by Warners - numbers refer to position in ring of 6.
3 Abraham Rudhall I              1703   9-3-24
4 Abraham Rudhall I              1703  11-3-24
6 Unknown                        1725  15-3-15

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source Aidan MacRae Thomson The Church - Looking West. Source Aidan MacRae Thomson
The Church - Looking East  The Church - Looking West 
nuneaton_tenor_small nuneaton_2nd_small
The Tenor The Second
nuneaton_peal_small nuneaton_peal2_small
The First Peal of
Lincolnshire in the
Tower Pealbook
The First Peal of
Stratford in the
Tower Pealbook

OFFCHURCH St Gregory 6, 13-3-26 in E

Grid Reference 151/258657 Offchurch Church - Source M Chester
Postcode CV33 9AS
Affiliation Coventry DG
Recording
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday Not Known
Practice Wednesday 1930-2100

History

This small, but very nice, church contains a good ring of six that was augmented and rehung from an awkward ring of 4 in 1992, (The Dedication Service was on 21 Nov 1992). The church  stands on the crest of the hill above the village. It consists of chancel with north vestry, nave with south porch, and west tower, and is built of the local red sandstone. The nave dates from the early part of the 12th century; owing to the failure of the foundations the chancel arch, of which the piers are badly out of the perpendicular, collapsed and had to be reconstructed, apparently in the 14th century, with the addition of buttresses on the south and, probably, north. The chancel seems to have been partly rebuilt at the same time and perhaps lengthened, and a south porch erected. In the 15th century the tower was erected. Late in the 16th century the roof of the nave was reconstructed at a lower pitch, and it may have been at this time that the clumsy and very massive buttress on the north side, overlapping the north door, was built.  In the 18th century, square-headed two-light windows were cut in the side walls of the nave, immediately under the eaves, probably to light galleries. In 1866 the chancel was almost entirely rebuilt, in the course of which operation there were found in the wall parts of a stone coffin (now outside the north wall of the nave) and the heads of two small round-headed windows, which were set in the north and south walls when rebuilt. A combined vestry and organ-chamber was built on the north of the chancel in 1898.

The four bells hung in a massive oak bell frame that was installed in the 18th century, with the traditional four pattern around a central "well hole". The bells were rehung with new fittings in a strengthened frame by Webb & Bennett of Kidlington in 1910, Mears & Stainbank further strengthened the frame in 1939, installing tie rods and angle places. The old seventeenth century frame was supposed to be re-erected at "The Bury", but Chris Pickford does not know if this was done.  The existing bells were hung in a new metal frame by Taylors in 1992, at which time two trebles were added.

Park near to the church and enter through the south door to an inside entrance at the base of the tower to the ringing gallery.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1992   5-2-02  29.625"  1137.0Hz (C#+44c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1992   6-0-26  31.625"  1008.0Hz (B+35c)
3 Robert Hendley, Gloucester      c1500   6-2-11  33.875"   899.0Hz (A+37c)
4 Newcombe, Leicester              1605   9-0-14  37.00"    850.0Hz (G#+40c)
5 Robert Hendley, Gloucester      c1500  12-1-12  40.125"   757.0Hz (F#+39c)
6 Matthew Bagley I, Chacombe       1681  13-3-26  43.875"   673.5Hz (E+37c)

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson The Church - Looking West. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson 
The Church - Looking East The Church - Looking West 
offchurch2_small offchurch3_small offchurch2_small
The Ringing Chamber The modern window
that casts a blue light
inside the church.
The Old Clappers
offchurch_plan_small
Plan of the Church

NORTHFIELD* St Lawrence 10, 14-1-3 in F# (GF)

Grid Reference 139/025793 Northfield Church - Source: Mike Chester
Postcode B31 2JA
Recording
Affiliation St Martin's Guild
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0910-0945
Practice Friday 2000-2100

History

This church is historically in Worcesterhire, but was "absorbed" into Birmingham in 1911. It became part of the West Midlands in 1974, as did many other towers in Warwickshire. The building was started in 1086 and there are many parts of the building that are several hundreds of years old for the interested to find. The church consists of a chancel 35½ ft. by 20½ ft., nave 51½ ft. by 23 ft., north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower 15½ ft. by 15ft. These measurements are all internal. The earliest part of the existing building is the north doorway, of about 1170, which with two carved heads, inserted in the south face of the tower, formed part of a 12th-century church.

Of the building which succeeded this there are ample remains in the complete 13th-century chancel, the south aisle added at the end of that century and the lower stage of the tower. In the 15th century the upper portion of the tower was rebuilt and at some later date the south arcade of the nave, perhaps owing to the failure of the walls. The north aisle with its arcade is a relatively modern addition.

This ring of 10 was completed in 1999 when two trebles were provided, the fittings of the 8 overhauled and a new frame provided. The new frame was positioned in the old ringing room and the ring converted to a ground floor one in order to leave the previous, listed, frame in situ.

There had been 3 bells here in 1552 and work was carried out several times on the bells in the 17th century, including recasting and rehanging in 1637. Who did this latter work and how many bells were involved is not known. It can be speculated that the work was entrusted to Thomas Hancox II of Walsall as the accounts of the time state that the bells were taken to Walsall. Chris Pickford suggests that there might well have been a ring of 5 cast as the 1637 frame, which is still in the tower, was built for this number. Certainly there were 5 bells in the tower in 1703.

Josepth Smith of Edgbaston recast these bells into 6 in 1730, the scrapping weight of the tenor being 11-3-4 and in the key of F#. These remained in the tower for nearly 200 years. Work was carried out on the bells in 1829. The bells were rehung in the old frame with new fittings by William Blews & Sons in 1875 at a cost of £50. At that time, the bells were rearranged in the frame to give a clockwise rope circle – having been anti-clockwise prior to this date.

In 1881 a quotation was obtained from Taylors for the addition of a treble and tenor (of about 17cwt) and the recasting of the fourth in order to augment to 8. This was never taken up by the church. Warners rehung the bells again in 1901/2. However, in 1923 a completely new ring was provided by Taylors and the frame adapted by William Sapcote & Son. The previous inscriptions were reproduced in fascimile. The need for a faculty to recast the bells was overlooked and a retrospective one had to be obtained after the bells had been re-dedicated!

(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  1999   3-1-18  22.875"  1851.0Hz (A#-13c)
 2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1999   3-1-22  24.00"   1653.0Hz (G#-9c)
 3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   3-2-14  25.125"  1473.0Hz (F#-8c)
 4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   3-2-16  25.375"  1387.0Hz (Ex-12c)
 5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   4-0-18  27.50"   1237.0Hz (D#-10c)
 6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   5-0-02  29.375"  1103.0Hz (C#-9c)
 7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   6-0-06  31.75"    984.0Hz (B-7c)
 8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   7-1-00  33.875"   926.0Hz (A#-12c)
 9 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   9-1-17  37.375"   826.0Hz (G#-10c)
10 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923  14-1-13  42.50"    734.5Hz (F#-13c)

Details of the Bells in 1923

1 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston          1730   4-3-02  28.50"   1316.0Hz (D#+97c)
2 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston          1730   4-3-22  29.75"   1155.0Hz (C#+71c)
3 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston          1730   5-0-27  31.00"   1022.0Hz (B+59c)
4 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston          1730   6-0-26  32.00"    952.0Hz (A#+36c)
5 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston          1730   8-1-26  35.50"    857.0Hz (G#+54c)
6 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston          1730  11-3-04  40.75"    759.0Hz (F#+44c)
(N.B. These are scrapping weights)
  

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source: Mike Chester The Sanctuary. Source: Mike Chester
The Church - Looking East   The Sanctuary
The Church - Looking West. Source: Mike Chester noerthfield2.jpg
The Church - Looking West The 1923 ring at Taylors 

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