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WOLVEY St John the Baptist 6, 12-0-24 in G

Grid Reference 140/430880 Wolvey Church - Source: A MacRae Thomson
Postcode LE10 3LU
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0900-0930
Practice Tuesday 1930-2100

History

The church stands on the east side of the main road between Coventry and Hinckley, in a small churchyard. It consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, west tower, and south porch. Apart from the south door, nothing remains of the 12th-century church. It was rebuilt early in the 13th century and again in the 14th century, the tower being either rebuilt or added in the 15th century. It has been considerably restored at various times; the north wall of the nave was rebuilt in 1630, slightly north of its original line, re-using a considerable amount of the old material; the east gable was rebuilt in 1624; in the 19th century the clearstory was rebuilt and the nave reroofed. In 1909 a timber-framed south porch was replaced by a stone one, and about the same time the south wall of the chancel was rebuilt with a new doorway and window, and a corresponding window put into the north wall.

According to the Edwardian Inventories of 1552 (sometimes referred to as TRE or tempori Edwardus Rex) there were 3 bells plus a saunce bell and 2 sacring bells here in 1552. These three bells, Hugh, Toby & John (of York) are now bells 3, 4 & 5 of the 6. The fifth is said to have come from Nuneaton Abbey. The inscriptions of these three bells are given in Tilley and Walters' book, "The Church Bells of Warwickshire":

The bells were augmented by a tenor and two trebles in a new frame and fittings by Taylors in 1911, at a cost of £300. The fourth bell is the only one in the county by Norris.  Their dedication is reporting in Bell New of June 24th 1911:

"WOLVEY, WARWICKSHIRE.
The parish church of St. John the Baptist, Wolvey, one of the most picturesque and pleasantly-situated of local edifices, now possesses a ring of six bells. Three of these were dedicated and rung for the first time on Sunday, June 18th. It is believed that the three original bells belonging to Wolvey church were placed in the tower at the Restoration of Charles II. in 1660, by the Astleys, of Wolvey Hall. The larger of the three is probably about 500 years old, and is the only known example of the Johannesde Yorke (probably Leicestershire) make in the country. It is said to have been brought from Nuneaton Abbey at the time of the dissolution.

Some time ago it was found that the bells mentioned were in such a condition that it was deemed dangerous to ring them. Mr. Taylor, of the well-known Loughborough firm, was consulted, and be advised that the bells should be rehung with entirely new fittings and framework. The parishioners put the matter in hand at once. Messrs. Taylor were instructed to thoroughly overhaul and rehang the bells, and given an order for three new ones, Mr. E. Hawley, of Leicester Grange, Mr, T. Carver, of Wolvey Abbey, and the Vicar (Rev. T. D. Williams) and Miss Williams, his sister, having generously offered to make up the peal to six. The work has been expeditiously carried out by Messrs. Taylor, and Wolvey now possesses as fine a peal as any church in the immediate neighbourhood. The total cost of the work is over £300.

The new bells were dedicated by the Ven. the Archdeacon of Coventry on Sunday evening Ust, in the presence of a large congregation. The dedication took place after the collects and prayers of ordinary evenson. The , Archdeacon, accompanied by the Vicar (Rev. T. D, Williams), the Rev. W. Bleiben (a former incumbent of Wolvey), and the churchwardens proceeded to the west end of the church, and taking up a position in the belfry the Archdeacon offered up dedicatory prayers, “ setting apart these bells for holy purposes, and for the glory ot G od.” In subsequent prayers he charged the Vicar “ tfs the appointed minister of Christ in this parish, to receive the bells is sacred trust for the use in God’s service and glory.” Addressing the churchwardens of Wolvey he said the bells had been placed in the custody of the Vicar of the parish to be used by his consent only, subject to the control of the Bishop of the Diocese.

The completion of the dedication was announced by a 6-score of Grandsire Doubles by the ringers of Barwell parish church. The Archdeacon afterwards preached from the words “ Glory to God in the highest.” The Rev. W . Bleiben and Mr. F. H. Seaton read the lessons; while the choir rendered the anthem “ Sing a song of praise.” The special hymns included “ Now thank we all our God,” “ Give sentence with me O God,” and “ O praise God in His holiness. "The offertory was for the bell fund. At the conclusion of the service 720 Bob Minor was rung in 27 mins. by A. Aldham conductor, W . A. Needham, J. J. Garratt, C. H. Belton, H. Briggs, W. H. Inglesant."

The first peal on the bells was rung in October of 1912. It is recorded on a large pealboard in the ringing chamber:

The Ringing World of December 1st 1933 notes that the vicar wanted the bells to be augmented to 8 and hoped that this would happen shortly. This, of course, has never happened. The then vicar, Rev. Stanley Morris, departed for Bilton in 1935 and this may, perhaps, be a reason for this. 

The canons of the old bells have been removed, the fourth being quarter turned and the third and fifth each being eighth turned, the new bells were cast with flat tops. They all were rehung on ball bearings in 1953 and they go well. The next peal on the bells was rung in 1958, with an inaccurate footnote about the bells being recast!

 

A pleasant village with a choice of nice pubs. The church is by the main road through Wolvey. There is a small church car park at the east of the church; turn off to the east at the double mini roundabout near the church. Then turn left into School Lane and the parking is by the churchyard wall. Entry is via the south door and then by a short vertical metal ladder to the ringing room.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1911   3-2-24  26.00"   1300.0Hz (E-24c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1911   4-1-27  28.50"   1161.0Hz (D-20c)
3 Hugh Watts II, Leicester         1625   4-2-10  30.25"   1032.0Hz (C-24c)
4 Toby Norris II, Stamford         1680   5-2-04  33.00"    973.0Hz (B-26c)
5 John de York, Leicester         c1400   8-3-11  37.00"    864.0Hz (A-32c)
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1911  12-0-24  40.375"   774.0Hz (G-22c)

Photo Gallery

wolvey2_small wolvey3_small wolvey4_small
The Chancel The Ringing Room The Organ
Plan of the Church. Source: British History Online
A Plan of the Church

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