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BIRMINGHAM* St Martin (The Bull-Ring) 16, 39-1-19 in C

Grid Reference 139/073866 Birmingham_St Martin - Source G-Man
Postcode B5 4BW
Recording
Affiliation St Martin's Guild
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 1010-1100
Practice Tuesday 
1930-2100
(1, 3 & 5)

History Of The Bells

This is the church in the famous Bull Ring - recently developed with the Debenhams Building almost dominating to the left of the photograph.

A church here was documented in 1263, but it has undergone much restoration over the centuries. The tower reached its current appearance in 1853-55 and the church in 1873-5 when, apart from the tower, it was largely rebuilt. There is an unusal external pulpit at the base of the tower.

Entrance for ringers is from the west door. The ringers in the centre of Birmingham have a justified reputation for the superb quality of their ringing. The won the National 12-Bell Competition on 12 of the 15 occasions it was held between 2000 and 2014, including 5 years in a row.

The tower now contains the first ever ring of 16 bells, cast between 1988 and 1991, but has a much longer history. In 1552 there were "iij bells". By 1682 there was a ring of 6, probably cast by Henry Bagley, with a tenor of 17-3-9, augmented to 8 in 1702. These were in turn replaced by a ring of 10, tenor 35-0-8, by Lester and Pack of Whitechapel. The fourth and ninth required recasting in 1769, also carried out by the Whitechapel foundry. They then added two trebles in 1771/2 to make St Martin's only the 7th ring of 12 in existence. The 9th was recast in 1790, again the work was done by the Whitechapel foundry. It is known that in 1745 when John Wesley preached in the Bull Ring the bells were rung in an attempt to drown his voice.

The bells were rehung in 1825 by Charles Oliver (Snr) of Whitechapel, but not entirely successfully. Further work was necessary in 1844 and again in 1858. In 1870 Blews recast the 4th and 5th and rehung the bells in a new wooden frame, four above eight. This was more longer lasting and, with strengthening, survived until the 1991 replacement ring was installed. Further work on the fittings was carried out in 1886 and 1902 and the second bell was recast by Barwells in 1913.

In 1928 the whole ring was recast by Whitechapel. The tenors were replaced the following year, though still dated 1928. A flat 6th was added in 1954, cast in 1953 by Whitechapel and weighing 7-3-12, though not rung until 1955. The 9th was recast by Taylors in 1975, at 16-3-5 and 45" as there were plans to remodel the ring into a lighter 12 and this bell would become the 10th of the new ring. This scheme was never enacted. These bells were removed in 1991, to be replaced by the ring of 16, and subsequently installed at Escrick, North Yorkshire in 1996. The bells were stored for a number of years, at Taylors before being tuned at Whitechapel. These weights are given below. 

Bells 3, 4, 8, 12 & 14 are hung above the rest of the bells in a two tier frame.

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

Details of the Bells

 1 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1991   5-3-22  24.875" 2363.0Hz (D+10c)
 2 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1991   5-3-09  25.44"  2104.0Hz (C+9c)
 3 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1991   5-3-05  26.00"  1989.0Hz (B+12c)
 4 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1991   6-1-11  27.50"  1768.0Hz (A+8c)
 5 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1990   6-1-21  28.50"  1573.5Hz (G+6c)
 6 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1990   7-1-09  30.25"  1401.0Hz (F+5c)
 7 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1990   7-1-11  30.75"  1322.0Hz (E+5c)
 8 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1991   8-1-01  32.44"  1175.5Hz (D+1c)
 9 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1990   8-2-23  33.81"  1048.0Hz (C+2c)
10 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1989   8-3-20  34.94"   990.0Hz (B+4c)
11 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1991  10-1-01  37.06"   882.0Hz (A+4c)
12 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1990  12-3-07  40.54"   787.5Hz (G+8c)
13 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1991  17-2-01  45.06"   701.5Hz (F+8c)
14 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1990  20-0-26  47.625"  659.5Hz (E+1c)
15 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1990  28-3-03  53.56"   589.5Hz (D+6c)
16 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London  1990  39-1-19  59.94"   523.0Hz (C-1c)

Details of the Whitechapel Ring                                         

                                         "Whitechapel          "Escrick
                                            weight"             weight"      

 1 Mears & Stainbank, London         1928   7-0-17  29.625"      6-3-07
 2 Mears & Stainbank, London         1928   7-0-00  30.00"       6-0-05
 3 Mears & Stainbank, London         1928   7-0-18  30.875"      6-1-26 
 4 Mears & Stainbank, London         1928   6-3-15  31.875"      6-2-07
 5 Mears & Stainbank, London         1928   7-2-16  32.875"      6-3-19
 6 Mears & Stainbank, London         1928   7-2-17  33.75"       7-0-20
 7 Mears & Stainbank, London         1928   8-1-06  35.875"      7-3-26
 8 Mears & Stainbank, London         1928  11-1-11  39.50"      11-0-11
 9 Mears & Stainbank, London         1928  13-0-19  42.625"     16-1-23(Recast by Taylors in 1975)
10 Mears & Stainbank, London         1928  18-2-09  46.25"      17-0-14
11 Mears & Stainbank, London         1928  26-1-07  52.25"      23-3-24
12 Mears & Stainbank, London         1928  36-3-26  59.00"      34-0-10
6b Mears & Stainbank, London         1953   7-3-12  35.375"      7-3-17
 

Photo Gallery

Looking East The External Pulpit
The Interior - Looking East  The External Pulpit

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