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WOLSTON St Margaret 8, 11-0-2 in G# (Rung from the chancel)

Grid Reference 140/409757 Wolston Church - Source M Chester
Postcode CV8 3HP
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday  1030-1100 (by arrangement)
Practice  Monday 1945-2100 (by arrangement)
Other Information Rung from the Chancel

History

Near to, but definitely apart from, Coventry to the west of the city, this is a very pretty village. Look carefully for the sign over a small bridge to the church off the main road through the village. You will find a church with a Norman central tower.

The church is situated on the south bank of the River Avon, north of the village, and stands in a small churchyard. It consists of a chancel, north and south transepts, north and south aisles, central tower, and a vestry. It dates from the 12th century, when it probably consisted of a chancel, nave and south transept, and a low central tower, the north transept being added early in the 13th century. In the 14th century the church was rebuilt with the addition of aisles; in the 15th century a clearstory was inserted, and in the 17th century the low tower was raised to form a belfry. Of the 12th-century church the tower crossing remains, with the 13th-century arch to the north transept, and the north doorway re-used in the 14th-century south aisle. The roof of the chancel was extensively repaired in 1680 and decorated in colour in 1760

There might have been six bells here before the partial collapse of the tower in 1759, but the source, the Browne Willis Survey, has been shown to be often unreliable. The fact that the church accounts for the period 1720-90 show only an expenditure on three ropes tends to suggest he was indeed incorrect.  Certainly there were only three bells here in 1894 when the bells were rehung and eighth turned and a treble was added to make four. The front three of this ring remain as bells five, six and seven. The inscriptions of the ring of four are given in Tilley and Walters' book, "The Church Bells of Warwickshire":

Taylors reported on the condition of the bells in 1935, but the work recommended was not done:

The bells were eventually overhauled by Taylors in 1966, at a cost of £300. The work included hanging the bells on ball bearings. It was said at this time that the bells had not been rung since some time before WWII. They remained a ringable four until 1982 when they were rehung and augmented to 8. There was enough bellmetal remaining from the former ring of three at Winderton after it being used to cast two trebles at both Harbury and Wellesbourne to cast the new treble here. The start of the work to augment the bells was noted in a quarter peal rung in 1981:  "Wolston, Warks. 5 Apr, 1272 Stanton Minimus: J Hughes 1, Lesley A Tomlinson 2, K F Chambers 3, G P Tucker (Cl 4 Engagement compliment to the Vicar, Rev Colin Henderson, and Professor Ellin Ringler Before removal of bells for retuning and augmentation."

The completion of the project was reported in The Ringing World of February 26th 1982:

This article includes the inscriptions of all 8 bells in the tower at that time - click to enlarge.

The frame incorporates a composite frame installed by Taylors in 1894 with second-hand Gillett & Johnston frame castings of 1919 (as at Harbury) from St. Stephen's, Clapham Park. The old four were rehung by Taylors in 1966.

The first peal on the bells was rung on 2nd May 1982:

The tonally poor tenor (8cwt) was subsequently replaced by a heavier one, in 1993. This was reported in The Ringing World of August 6th that year:
"Wolston’s new tenor cast
On Friday, 14th May a party of ringers and congregation from St. Margaret’s, Wolston, Warwickshire, together with some of their ringing friends gathered at the Loughborough Bell Foundry to witness the casting of the tenor bell. While some of the group had a guided tour, eight of the ringers rang a quarter peal of Cambridge Surprise Major on the foundry bells.
The bell was hung on 27th May and rung for the first time that evening. Thanks are due to Andrew Higson for turning out a highly decorated and fine toned bell and also to Colin Banton for his advice on the project."

The new bell is inscribed:

Inscription Band TO PROCLAIM YOUR CONSTANT LOVE Ps. 92
Side A PETER WATKINS - VICAR
KEITH CHAMBERS - TOWER CAPTAIN
Side B 19 (Taylors Mark) 93

Relatively minor work to improve the go and striking characteristics of the bells was carried out by Nicholson of Bridport in December 2001. The headstock of the 7th was found to be cracked in early 2013 and the bell was removed to Taylors for the fitting of a new headstock and the checking of the bell for cracks in the crown. Fortunately, the bell was found not to be cracked and no welding was therefore required.

You can park by the church gate and follow the path to the left of the church to gain entry. Please be careful not to block an entrance to a property in the car park. Though ground floor the draft is not excessive, at about 20 feet, and the bells go well. Worth a visit.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd, Loughborough   1981   3-1-24  23.63"   1646.0Hz (G#-16c)
2 John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd, Loughborough   1981   3-1-05  24.25    1542.0Hz (Fx-29c)
3 John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd, Loughborough   1981   3-1-26  25.375"  1370.0Hz (E#-34c)
4 John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd, Loughborough   1981   3-3-23  27.00"   1234.0Hz (D#-15c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough               1894   5-0-13  29.50"   1098.0Hz (C#-17c)
6 John de Stafford, Leicester                 c1360   5-2-14  31.50"   1028.0Hz (B#-31c)
7 William Clibury, Wellington                  1620   7-0-12  34.50"    924.0Hz (A#-16c)
8 John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd, Loughborough   1993  11-0-02  38.25"    819.0Hz (G#-24c)

Photo Gallery

wolston2_small.jog wolston3_small.jpg wolston4_small.jpg
Looking East, Towards
The Ringing Area
The Ringing Area
in the Chancel 
Ringing the Bells
wolston8_small.jpg wolston7_small.jpg wolston5_small.jpg
The Area Beyond
the Chancel 
The Fine Norman
Entrance to the Church

The Rather Risque Carving on the Capital
in the Chancel, Found Front Right when
looking east down the church

wolston6_small.jpg  
The Way up to the Bells From the
Chapel to the right of the Chancel
when looking east.
The Foundry Record for the 1894 scheme The Bells in 1981
 
The Bells Casting the New Tenor The New Tenor 
wolston_7th_small wolston_7th2_small wolston7th_small.jpg 
Lowering the
7th Bell in 2013 
Removing the Seventh
From the Church 
The Re-installed 7th. 

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