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RYTON ON DUNSMORE St Leonard 8, 9-3-6 in F#

Grid Reference 140/386745 Ryton on  Dunsmore Church - Source: M Chester
Postcode CV8 3EW
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0930-1000 (1 & 3)
Practice Tuesday 1830-1930

History

The church  is situated on the north side of the main Coventry-Northampton road, on a level site in the centre of a large churchyard. It consists of chancel, nave, west tower, vestry, and a south porch. It was built of red sandstone rubble with worked dressings late in the 11th century, probably consisting of a chancel and nave, and it was apparently not until the 15th century that a west tower was added. A vestry with a gallery over was added in the 19th century, and more recently the south porch was rebuilt. The tower is a lofty and imposing structure, out of proportion to so small a church, and the presence of angle buttresses on its east side, which make a very awkward junction with the nave, suggests that it was intended to rebuild the body of the church on a similar scale.

For a long time this tower contained an unringable three, last being rehung in 1818 at a cost of £28. The headstock of the treble was replaced by Mears in 1864/5 when they repaired the ironwork, turned the gudgeons and supplied new brass bearings, all for £4. The headstocks of the other bells were replaced, probably locally, in 1905. The Mears bell, formerly the treble of three, was cast to replace a cracked mediaval bell, by Richard Seliok in about 1530, at a cost of £22/5/6. It is possible that the tenor bell, which alone of the old bells retains its canons, was cast in Coventry as John Martin was working there at this time when he cast a bell for Fillongley. The tenor is F#+23c.

The ring was rehung and augmented in two stages, first to 6 in an 8-bell cast iron and steel frame in 1988 and then to 8 some three years later. All this work was undertaken by Taylors.

This church is on the main A45 road from Coventry towards the M1 and is on its north side, just after the former Peugeot car plant. Turn in just before the church and park by the churchyard wall.New housing directly opposite the church restricts ringing a little. Do be careful when visiting - there are a couple of cunningly hidden speed cameras on the main road leading up to the church; from both directions!

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1991  3-3-18  25.50"   1504.0Hz (F#+28c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1991  4-0-12  25.875"  1413.0Hz (Ex+20c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1988  4-1-12  27.25"   1253.0Hz (D#+12c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1988  5-1-04  29.50"   1123.0Hz (C#+22c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1988  6-1-00  31.75"   1008.0Hz (B+35c)
6 George Mears & Co, London        1864  6-1-12  34.00"    935.0Hz (A#+5c)
7 William Watts, Leicester        c1590  8-2-00  35.875"   844.0Hz (G#+28c)
8 John Martin, Worcester           1653  9-3-06  39.50"    750.0Hz (F#+23c)

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source: Covltwt The Church - Looking West. Source: Covltwt 
 The Church - Looking East The Church - Looking West  
ryton3_small.jpg ryton_sykes_small.jpg ryton7th_small
The three old bells
arrive at Taylors in 1988
The late Rev Trevor Sykes,
who was instrumental in
getting the bells restored
The then 5th, Now 7th,
after retuning
ryton6_small.jpg ryton2_small.jpg  
The six bells in
the church in 1988
Two of the three new
1988 bells in the church
 

RUGBY St Andrew
North-East Tower 8, 24-3-8 in Eb
West Tower 5, 9-2-3 in A

Grid Reference 140/504752 Rugby - Source: M Chester
Postcode CV21 3PT
Recordings
8 Bell Ring
5 Bell Ring


Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database - 8 Bells
Felstead Database - 5 Bells
Sunday 1000-1030
Practice Monday 1930-2100  1st West Tower. Others North-East Tower
Other Information Church Website

History

Set in the centre of this railway town, this church is unique in that it has two rings of 5 or more bells in different towers. ​St. Andrew's is the original parish church of Rugby. Whilst few of the architectural features assist in dating, it is believed the church is of the 14th Century. The only remnant of the medieval church is the 22m tall West Tower, built in the 14th Century by Henry de Rokeby the second. The tower probably had a defensive as well as a religious role and is Rugby's oldest building. The medieval font, worn and badly damaged, along with a 13th Century parish chest with scrolled ironwork, also survive.

The first mention of a parish church, was in 1140 named St. Andrew 'Castle', but believed to have been built near Regent Place by Sir Henry de Rokeby. However, in 1157 this castle was demolished upon the order of Henry II. 1221 was the first record of a priest, Simon the Decon, and in 1298 the church was re-dedicated to Pope Nicholas IV, possibly when the town became an independent parish.

By 1652, St. Andrew's had become badly neglected and so following complaints about its dangerous condition it was renovated and enlarged. However, following the rapid growth of Rugby's population during the 19th Century, it again became necessary to enlarge and improve the church and so the decision was made to entirely rebuild it. In 1877 Dr. Temple, Bishop of Exeter and a former headmaster of Rugby School laid the foundation stone for the new building. Over the next three years the architect William Butterfield and builders Parnell & Son were commissioned to complete the work costing over £20,000. The only part of the medieval church left was the West Tower. In 1894 the 55 metres (182 feet) tall East Tower and the spire were also added.

The ring of 5, put up in October of 1711 in the West tower is the original ring. This replaced a ring of four which had a heavier tenor; it being cracked at the time of the recasting. The five hang in an early C17th oak frame (c.1620). The frame is arranged to have the four heaviest bells around the walls of the tower and the treble in the middle. They were rehung with new fittings by Taylors in 1930. The frame was strengthened and the bells were retuned and quarter turned. The canons were not removed from the bells at this time.

Note that the weights, taken at the time of tuning are actually heavier than those given by Tilley and Walters. The bearings being replaced locally in 2002/3 following a major tower restoration. Recent research has shown that the 5 are in the key of A (-22c) and not G as has been previously stated.

The heavy, old fashioned 8, was purchased some 10 years after the tower was built. They were dedicated on 18th June 1896. The bells cost £513 13s 2d and the frame, fittings and chiming apparatus brought the total bill up to £812 3s 2d. The eight were rehung by Mears & Stainbank in 1955 when the original frame was lowered in the tower and the bells rehung on ball bearings. A more recent rehanging, by Whitechapel, in the existing frame was completed in 1992 - the bells not removed from the church or weighed. The "Doncaster Heads" were removed at this time.

The 8 are in the "modern" key E flat: standard pitch "flattened" sometime around 1900 so many peals are now closer to a semitone sharper than old charts say.

Car parking close to the church is not easy and you should use pay and display facilities nearby.

Entrance to the 8 is usually from outside the tower round the left as you look at the photograph, though there is an internal entrance via the vestry.  The entrance to the 5 it is often through the main north door, but sometimes the tower door!

Details of the 8 Bells

1 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896   6-3-02  31.50"
2 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896   7-0-25  32.67"
3 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896   8-0-27  35.125"
4 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896   9-1-19  37.25"
5 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896  11-2-22  41.00"
6 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896  12-2-08  42.00"
7 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896  17-0-11  47.125"
8 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896  24-3-08  53.00"
NB The cannons were removed during the 1992 rehanging and therefore the weights must be considered approximate.

Details of the 5 Bells

                                           T&W Weights
1 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   4-2-05   4-2-02     30.00" 1304.0Hz (E-19c)
2 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   4-3-17   4-1-20     30.50" 1159.0Hz (D-23c)
3 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   5-2-17   5-2-03     32.50" 1096.0Hz (C#-20c)
4 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   6-3-21   6-2-22     35.50" 976.5Hz (B-20c)
5 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   9-2-03   9-0-19     39.50" 869.0Hz (A-22c)

Photo Gallery

Both Towers. Source: Mike Chester The Church - Looking East. Source: Mike Chester The Church - Looking West. Source: Mike Chester
Photo to show the relationship
between the two towers 
The Church - Looking East The Church - Looking West
The Chancel. Source: Mike Chester Thge 5-Bell Ringing Chamber. Source: Mike Chester The 8-Bell Ringing Chamber. Source: Mike Chester
The Chancel Ringing on the 5 Bells The 8-Bell Ringing Chamber
rugby1929_small    
The 5 Bells During
the 1929 Restoration
   

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. 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.

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

rowington1_small rowington2_small cantlow3_small
The Church Looking East The Door to the stairs up the
tower, in one of the piers
The Ringing Area
in the Chancel
rowington_plan_small
Plan of the Church

Rowley Regis* St Giles 8, 10-1-0 in G#

Grid Reference 139/970874 Rowley Regis Church - Source: ww.wdcra.org.uk
Postcode B65 9EP
Recording None Available
Affiliations St Martin's Guild &
Worcs & Districts Assoc
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0945-1015 (2nd and last) 1800-1830 (Others)
Practice Monday 1945-2100

History

This church is historically in Staffordshire, but was transferred to Worcestershire in 1844. It has also moved Dioceses, as it was originally in the Worcester Diocese but is now in the Birmingham Diocese.

There has been a church here since late in the 12th century, but no trace of this is found in the present building. The church, apart from the tower was demolished and a new one built in 1840/1. The tower was rebuilt in 1858. The church was unsafe by 1894 and closed. It was replaced by a new building in 1904/5, but this was destroyed in an arson attack in June 1913. Due to the outbreak of war the church remained in a ruinous state for 10 years and was not replaced until 1923. This new church was a completely new building.

In 1552 there were "iiij belles" here. Matthew and Henry Bagley seem to have provided a 12cwt ring of 5 in 1684. The Whitechapel foundry recast the treble in 1804 and the tenor in 1848. The new tenor weighed 12-2-0. The tenor was again recast in 1881 by Blews and three trebles were added and the ring rehung in 1888 by Barwell. J E Groves of Birmingham hung the bells in a new frame when the church was rebuilt after the fire. The 5th was recast by Gillett and Johnson in 1952 after cracking in the previous year.

The bells received major attention in 1984, involving the remodelling of the ring, with the old fourth and sixth being incorporated as the sixth and seventh. A second-hand bell (by Taylor, 1948) was acquired from the redundant church of St. Mary Magdalene, Worcester, as a new tenor. The remaining bells were recast.

(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    1984   3-0-20  23.50"   1622.0Hz (G#-41c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1984   3-1-10  24.125"  1524.0Hz (Fx-49c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1984   3-1-06  24.875"  1352.5Hz (E#-56c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1984   3-2-06  26.00"   1222.0Hz (D#-32c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1984   4-0-26  28.125"  1084.0Hz (C#-39c)
6 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon       1952   5-1-16  30.50"   1016.0Hz (B#-51c)
7 Henry Bagley II, Chacombe         1684   7-1-08  34.625"   915.0Hz (A#-3c)
8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1948  10-1-00  38.00"    814.0Hz (G#-35c)

Details of the Bells in 1984

1 James Barwell, Birmingham         1887   4-0-06  26.00"
2 James Barwell, Birmingham         1887   4-0-20  27.00"
3 James Barwell, Birmingham         1887   
4-3-14  29.00" 
4 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon       1952   5-2-18  32.00"
5 Henry Bagley II, Chacombe         1684   5-1-10  33.00"
6 Henry Bagley II, Chacombe         1684   7-1-04  35.00"
7 Matthew Bagley, Chamcombe         1684   8-1-26  38.00"
8 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1881  11-0-08  41.00"

Photo Gallery

The Church After the Fire: Source: www.genealogyforum.co.uk
The Church Following
the Fire in 1913

RADWAY St Peter 5, 5-0-26 in C (GF)

Grid Reference 151/368480 Radway Church - Source Mike Chester
Postcode CV35 0UE
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday None
Practice None

History

A pretty little church with a nice ring of 5. The parish church consists of a chancel (29 ft. by 15 ft.) with a north vestry and organ-chamber, nave (39½ ft. by 16 ft.), north and south aisles (9½ ft. wide), south porch and a west tower (11½ ft. square) with a spire. The walls are of local Edge Hill stone: some of it may be re-used material but the only ancient carved or moulded stones are two gargoyles reset in the west face of the tower. In the chancel against the north wall are the remains of a stone recumbent effigy of a priest in mass vestments, probably of the 15th century. The head is missing. The feet rested on a dog.

The whole installation was installed 1868, given in her will by Mrs Magan of Cheltenham, the cost being £280. This is contemporary with the time then the parish church was rebuilt in a different part of the village to the original church. The old church had a single bell cast by C & G Mears in 1845, weighing 6-3-3.

The bells were rehung with new fittings by Mears & Stainbank in the existing oak frame in 1949 at which time they were quarter turned but the canons were left in situ. A fairly long draft, ringing is around around the font, but the bells are not that difficult to ring.

The frequencies of the bells were taken in June 2013 by Chris Pickford and these show that the bells are, just, in the key of C and not B as has up to now been reported.

Park opposite the churchyard gate and enter via the south door into the church.  There is a toilet round the back of the tower. There is a Civil War Exhibition at the back of the church and opening the church door turns on the lighting for this.  One of the lights is in the ringing chamber, so don't be suprised if you find yourself in the spotlight!

Details of the Bells

1 Robert Stainbank, London  1868  3-0-08  24.00"  1535.0Hz (G-37c)
2 Robert Stainbank, London  1868  3-1-08  24.50"  1362.0Hz (F-44c)
3 Robert Stainbank, London  1868  3-2-22  25.00"  1289.0Hz (E-39c)
4 Robert Stainbank, London  1868  4-1-02  27.00"  1149.0Hz (D-38c)
5 Robert Stainbank, London  1868  5-0-26  29.25"  1019.0Hz (C-46c)

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source: Mike Chester The Ringing Chamber. Source: Mike Chester Civil War Exhibition. Source: Mike Chester
The Church - Looking East The Ground Floor
Ringing Chamber
One of the Civil War Exhibition Cases

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