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HENLEY IN ARDEN St John the Baptist 6, 11-3-4 in G

Grid Reference 151/152661 Henley in Arden Church - Source: David Kelly
Postcode B95 5SS
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0930-1000
Practice Wednesday 1900-2015 (Occasionally at Beaudesert)

History

Set right in the middle of this nice South Warwickshire village, you cannot miss this C15th church. With plenty of nice shops and pubs this is a ideal place to linger a while.

Henley's inhabitants had to worship in Wootton Wawen until 1367 when a church was built in Henley "at the sole charge of the inhabitants, in regard of the large distance, and foul ways in winter time, betwixt this Village and the Parish Church of Wootton Wawen". However, the Vicar of Wootton Wawen retained his right of burial, so that Henley's church had no burial ground. The present church of St. John the Baptist  was built in 1448. This Church housed the Chapel of the Guild of St. John, one of the mediaeval guilds of a social and religious order, its purpose being to "render mutual assistance of all kinds between its brethren and engage in works of charity". The Guild was founded in 1448 by the then Lord of the Manor, Lord Boteler of Sudeley, who was a great benefactor.

The first peal on the bells was rung shortly after the Barwell rehang:

By the 1970s, or earlier, the bells were an obvious challenge to ring well - as shown in this article from "The Ringing World" of November 7th 1975:

"HENLEY-IN-ARDEN
Chris Pickford, of Malvern, Worcs., writes: A peal was recently rung on the notorious ring of six at Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire. Four of the band had previously attempted four peals at the tower, twice ringing over 2¼ hours, and we were very glad to have achieved a peal there at last. My father used to sing in the choir at Henley, and my parents were married at the sister church of St. Nicholas, Beaudesert. I was baptised there so Henley has special family associations for me. Anyone who knows Henley bells will appreciate that to ring a peal there—and a good one too—is something of a feat!"

The plan to rehang the bells was published in The Ringing World of September 22nd 1989

The bells were removed from the tower in November 1990 and then re-hung in the new frame in March of 1991 and now go more easily than they formerly did. Eayre & Smith reused the cast iron headstocks fitted by Barwells of Birmingham when they rehung the bells in 1910. The third was found to be cracked and was welded by Soundweld. (This is incorrectly said to be the fourth bell in the Foundry Focus article mentioned below).

A diagram of the old frame, drawn by Chris Pickford, appeared in The Ringing World of March 22nd 1991:

 

They now hang in a steel and cast iron frame for six. All bells have had their canons removed and have been turned. This was reported in The Ringing World of December 13th 1991:

A picture of the frame in Eayre & Smith's works was published in the edition of July 3rd 1992:

The inscriptions on the bells is given in Tilley and Waters' book "Church Bells of Warwickshire"

A piece of timber dated 1674 in the ringing room came from the old frame - but the frame itself was of slightly later date, the dated timber (having been reused "inverted" in the later frame). The clock pendulum swings between the treble and fourth in the ringing room!

The entrance is inside the church via the main door. There is plenty of on-street parking around the market place.

Details of the Bells

1 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston   1727   5-0-12  29.25"   1292.0Hz (E-35c)
2 Clark & Bushell, Evesham  1707   4-3-20  30.125"  1190.5Hz (D+23c)
3 Clark & Bushell, Evesham  1707   5-3-00  31.75"   1028.5Hz (C-30c)
4 Clark & Bushell, Evesham  1707   6-3-07  34.375"   967.0Hz (B-37c)
5 Clark & Bushell, Evesham  1707   8-0-25  37.125"   860.5Hz (A-39c)
6 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston   1727  11-3-04  41.00"    774.0Hz (G-22c)

Photo Gallery

Henley - Looking East - Source: Aidan MacRae Thompson Henley - Looking West - Source: Aidan MacRae Thompson
The Church -Looking East The Church - Looking West

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