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EXHALL St Giles 6, 6-2-6 in B

Grid Reference 140/340850 Exhall Church - Source M Chester
Postcode CV7 9AB
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0900-0930
Practice Thursday 1930-2100 (Ex 3rd)
Other Information Church Website

History

An old church that is visible from Junction 3 of the M6 - not that it is too easy to get to it from there! Take the A444 towards Coventry. At the first roundabout, near The Ricoh Arena, turn right and take the last exit, signposted to Prologis Park. There are traffic lights almost immediately - straight on. At the next set of lights turn right and then go straight on, past The Hungry Horse Pub, for 6/700yds or so and then turn right towards the church, down Vicarage Lane - look for the signpost to direct you!

It consists of a square-ended chancel with vestry attached on the north side, nave, north and south aisles, and western tower; there is a small south porch. The nave contains three bays, and two timber roof trusses divide the chancel into three bays. The nave and chancel appear to originate from the 13th century, although the nave has been rebuilt in modern times, when extensive restorations were carried out to the chancel also. The tower appears to have been added in the 14th century, and subsequent additions have been recorded on a tablet under the window of the west wall of the north aisle which states that the north aisle was added in 1609 'as the burial place of the Hales family', the south aisle in 1842, and the vestry, with an extension of the north aisle, in 1885.

The church is thriving and is one of the few around the area with a top class choir. It even has a deputy organist! The bells are an easy going six. The three Smith of Edgbaston bells, cast in 1706 were recast and rehung, still as a three but in a 6-bell frame, at the beginning of the 20th century by James Barwell, and dedicated by the Bishop of Coventry on 21 December 1900. The Smith inscriptions were repeated on the new bells. The following appeared in "Bell News" on December 29th 1900:

"EXHALL, WARWICKSHIRE.
On St. Thomas’s Day the bells and belfry of this parish church were dedicated by the Bishop of Coventry. These have been restored at a cost of £171, which has been met in answer to an appeal issued in March last by the Vicar (Rev. Charles Simmonds) and wardens. An inscribed brass tablet has been erected in the baptistery recording the event. In addition the lych-gate has been entirely renovated and painted by the kindness of Mrs. Price, daughter of the late Rev. H . Bellairs, Rector of Bedworth. The lych-gate was erected in 1872 by the family in memory of their father. A stained-glass window was unveiled on Sunday by the Rector of Bedworth, to the memory of Mary Ann Scott, given by the Rev. W . Scott, formerly Vicar of the parish, on the second anniversary of his wife’s death."

The bells' inscriptions are given by Tilley and Walters in their book, "The Church Bells of Warwickshire"

On installation, these bells were intended to be the front three of a heavier ring of six (tenor c.10 cwt in G). Some 20 years later they were indeed augmented to six as a memorial to those that fell in WWI. The 1900 scheme was modified in 1920 and two trebles and a tenor were added instead of three tenors, the 1900 treble being retuned down a semitone, (according to some sources now weighing 4-0-14; 4-1-14 was said to be the original weight.). The treble and second hang in pits of the 1900 frame intended for much larger bells and their headstocks are very long. The tenor bell was cast without canons, and the five smallest bells have 'Doncaster heads'.

The Whitechapel bells are inscribed:

Treble A.D. 1920
2 A.D. 1920
Tenor TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN MEMORY OF THE MEN OF EXHALL
WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918
SUBSCRIBED BY PARISHIONERS AND FRIENDS
A.D. 1920

The augmented ring of 6 was dedication on Amistice Day 1920 and was reported in The Ringing World of December 3rd:

The first peal on the bells was rung on the day of their dedication:

The composite frame remains that installed by Barwell 1900. The fittings are of 1900 and 1920, with ball bearings fitted when the bells were rehung, the 4th bell's headstock being replaced, by Mears & Stainbank in 1957. The latter work was reported in The Ringing World ofJanuary 28th 1958:

"RESTORATION
Exhall, Coventry
There are two parishes in Warwickshire named Exhall. Both have a church dedicated to St. Giles. Exhall, near Alcester, has only one bell hung in an open turret, but the history of the bells of the scattered parish adjoining Coventry might be worth recording.
The tower originally contained three bells, cast by Joseph Smith, of Edgbaston, in 1706. These were recast by Messrs. Barwells in 1900 and hung in a frame for six with wood beams top and bottom, joined together by cast steel cross-sections.
In 1920 two trebles and a tenor were added as a memorial to the men of the parish who fell in the first world war. Owing to the awkward conditions of handling—21 feet of rope without guides—very little regular ringing was done on them until 1951, when a set of rope guides was installed and a band of service ringers recruited from members of the choir and congregation. The bearings of the three old bells have since given trouble and it was only the regular attention by the captain and tower keeper, David Harrison, that kept them going over the years.
In October, 1957, the six bells were removed from the frame and the fittings taken to Whitechapel Foundry for restoration and adaptation for roller bearings. While the bells were out the local ringers painted the frame and also bricked up the louvres to the turn of the window arches, to reduce the noise in the immediate vicinity and throw the sound further into the distance. On Thursday, December 19th, the bells were tried out after rehanging by the local ringers, together with a few invited friends from the neighbouring tower of Keresley, who expressed their admiration for both the excellent ‘ go ’ of the bells and the effect outside achieved by bricking-up the louvre windows.
The bells were rededicated at Evensong on December 22nd by the Vicar (Rev. Leonard Bruce) in time for Christmas ringing. Messrs. Mears and Stainbank are to be congratulated on a first-class rehanging job. W. A. S."

This appeared in The Ringing World of July 3rd1970 , "Mrs. Beamish, president of the Coventry Guild, informs us that a £10,000 legacy has been left to St. Giles’ Parish Church, Exhall, Warwick, for the bells, and an augmentation from six to eight is one of the jobs anticipated." The scheme to reast the bells and augment to 8 was again mentioned, The Ringing World reported on an article that appeared in The Birmingham Post on 2nd January 1971.  It was followed up in an article in the edition of Febuary 19th 1971:

AN EIGHT FOR EXHALL?
The parish magazine for Exhall (Coventry) Parish Church has in two of its recent issues carried articles about the possible restoration and inauguration to eight of its present ring. The latter would cost up to £3,000, and the vicar (Rev. A. Rowland-Smith) states that he is delighted to meet the challenge, for the bells are an important part of church life. . . they inform the parish that the clergy are busy with intercessary prayer on their behalf.
Originally Exhall had three bells cast by Joseph Smith of Edebaston in 1706. Recast in 1900 by Barwells, two trebles and a tenor were added in 1920 as a war memorial. In 1957 Whitechapel overhauled and rehung the bells on roller bearings, and nowTaylors have inspected, advised and estimated on necessary and essential work.
“We have a fine team of ringers under David Harrison (captain) and they would be overjoyed if we could aspire to a fine ring of eight bells,” writes the vicar, and he appeals to all who can to help, for, being a small parish, it will be no easy task to raise the money."

This, of course, did not happen.

Other relatively minor work was completed by Taylors in the early 1990s, including the replacement of the tenor bell's headstock.

The entrance is by the main South Door. There is a church car park on the opposite side of the road.

Details of the Bells

1 Mears & Stainbank, London       1920  3-0-25  23.50"  1645.5Hz (G#-16c)
2 Mears & Stainbank, London       1920  3-2-23  25.25"  1453.5Hz (F#-31c)
3 James Barwell & Co, Birmingham  1900  4-1-14  27.00"  1308.5Hz (E-14c)
4 James Barwell & Co, Birmingham  1900  4-2-20  28.50"  1228.0Hz (D#-23c)
5 James Barwell & Co, Birmingham  1900  5-2-14  30.50"  1086.5Hz (C#-35c)
6 Mears & Stainbank, London       1920  6-2-06  33.00"   966.0Hz (B-39c)

Inscriptions

1 M & S. LONDON (Whitechapel foundry trade mark with the initials AAH and RAH, and "AD 1570 AD 1920" around the mark)
Waist: A.D. 1920.
2 M & S. LONDON (Mark as treble)
Waist: A.D. 1920.
3 BARWELL FOUNDER BIRMINGHAM RECAST 21 DECR A.D. 1900
Waist: IOSEPH SMITH IN EDGBASTON MADE MEE 1706
Opposite: CHAS SIMMONDS M.A. VICAR / FRANCIS DUCK } / JOSEPH FLETCHER }CHURCHWARDENS
4 BARWELL FOUNDER BIRMINGHAM RECAST 21 DECR A.D. 1900
Waist: 1706 MR RICHARD SMART AND RICHARD RANDEL / CHURCHWARDENS
Opposite: (As third exactly)
5 BARWELL FOUNDER BIRMINGHAM RECAST 21 DECR A.D. 1900
Waist: 1706 I WILL SOUND AND CALL THE CONGREGATION
Opposite: (As third exactly)
6 MEARS & STAINBANK, FOUNDERS, LONDON(Trade mark as treble)
Waist: TO THE GLORY OF GOD / AND IN MEMORY OF THE MEN OF EXHALL, / WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR, 1914-1918 / SUBSCRIBED BY PARISHIONERS AND FRIENDS. / A.D. 1920.

Most of the information on this page has been provided by Chris Pickford

Photo Gallery

 The Church - Looking East - Source Aiden MacRae Thompson
The church - looking east

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