ATHERSTONE St Mary 8, 8-1-6 in A
(Irregular - check)
|Other Information||Church Website|
History Of The Bells
The church is set in the Market Place and is therefore fairly easy to find. There is some parking in Market Place and there is a large free car park to the south of the church - the church photograph being taken from its entrance.
It is a pleasant church worth a short look before ringing. It is early 12th century in foundation. The chancel of the church was completed in 1385 as the church of an Augustinian Friary. At the Dissolution of the Monastries in 1538 this chancel ceased to be used for worship although the old nave was kept as a church. Following the granting of a school charter in 1573 the disused chancel became the home of the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School and continued in this use until 1864. The distinctive octagonal tower was built in 1782 to replace the more conventional square section one. The building of the present nave commenced in 1848 and it was dedicated on 14th March, 1850; it cost £3,000 and seated 1400 people. In 1884 the chancel was restored, joined to the nave and dedicated in 1888.
These bells replaced a single bell in 1960 at a cost of £2,500, and are very nice indeed. The metal frame is of mainly lowside construction, with the the outside bearings of the 3rd and 4th mounted on cast iron pedestals due to the size and shape of the tower.
The listed old bell - by John de Stafford c.1360, diamater of 45.75" and weighing about 16cwt in E (648.0Hz)- is preserved in the church. Its canons were removed and it was drilled through the crown in 1901 when Taylors provided new ringing fittings.
The way up to the bells is quite well hidden. It is half way down the church through an archway on the far left level with the chancel, sort of round the corner - see photograph below. Be careful to remove The clock hammer. The pull off is at the bottom of the blue clock casing in the window with only a small painted notice telling you to to pull it off to show where it is.
Unfortunately, due to the proximity of houses, etc. the bells are unavailable for peals. Requests for visits should be made allowing for some flexibility in timing.
Lowering the bells at the end of at District Practice
Details of the Bells
1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1960 2-3-15 22.50" 1766.0Hz (A+6c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1960 3-1-00 23.50" 1677.0Hz (G#-16c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1960 3-1-13 24.50" 1479.0Hz (F#-1c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1960 3-1-26 25.50" 1315.5Hz (E-4c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1960 4-1-00 27.625" 1169.0Hz (D-8c)
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1960 4-3-25 29.125" 1102.0Hz (C#-11c)
7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1960 6-0-10 31.625" 978.5Hz (B-16c)
8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1960 8-1-06 35.50" 871.0Hz (A-18c)
|The Church, looking west||The Chancel|
|The church, looking east||The old bell.|