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KINGS NORTON* St Nicolas 10, 17-1-6 in E

Grid Reference 139/049789 Kings Norton Church - Source: Genuki
Postcode B38 8TW
Affiliation St Martin's Guild &  Worcs & Districts Assoc
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0945-1030
Practice Tuesday 1945-2100
Other Information Church Website


This is one of a number of Birmingham churches that were not within the county of Warwickshire when their areas were absorbed into the city. Historically Kiongs Norton was part of Worcestershire and the church ringers retain links with the associations for both of Birmingham and Worcester. Once a relatively small village, the town grew, in terms of its population, when it was linked to elsewhere. In 1796 it was linked to the canal system. Kings Norton Junction is where the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal terminates and meets the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. In 1849 the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway opened its station in the town. From 1898 Kings Norton was part of the "King's Norton and Northfield Urban District", until this was added to Birmingham in 1911 by the Greater Birmingham Act. Hence, it was geographically in Warwickshire, but never administered from Warwick; Birmingham being a Country Borough.

The church itself was originally built by the Normans. It was extensively rebuilt in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and the magnificent tower and spire was added in the fifteenth century. There were further major works to the church in the 1860s and 1870s.

Today the tower contains a good ring of 10 cast in the mid-1920s, but hung in an earlier composite frame. The frame was installed by Taylors in 1892 and afterwards reconstructed for 10 bells by the same firm.

In the 1552 survey there were four bells in the tower. Subsequently, a ring of 6 was cast, probably by William Bagley in around 1690. In 1783 the Bagley bells were replaced by a new ring of eight, cast by Chapman and Mears of Whitechapel, the tenor being approx. 15 cwt. The new bells were cast by Chapman and Mears of Whitechapel.

The fifth was broken in an accident and was recast by Thomas Mears of Whitechapel in 1826. The seventh and treble bells were recast in 1867 by Blews and Sons of Birmingham. The sixth was replaced by a stock bell by Taylors in 1892, at which time the ring was rehung. Taylors recast the fourth in 1905 and this is the only bell that remains in the ring today, as the sixth. The ring, apart from the fourth, was recast in 1924 and augmented to 10 within two years.

The dedication of the 8 in 1924 was reported in The Ringing World of 14th November:

About three years ago the ringers of King's Norton Parish Church approached the churchwardens, recommending that the bells be rehung on new fittings. The matter was taken up and expert opinions sought, the result being that a committee was formed to deal with the work.

Mr F. B. Yates, a gentleman highly respected in the parish, and enthusiastic lover of ringing, was appointed chairman. Mr. W. E. Moore, peoples warden, schoolmaster and lay reader, of Kings Norton undertook the work of hon. secretary. Other members of the committee were Messrs. Boffey, Vicars warden, Izall and Nicholls, member of the Church Council, Laflin, Williams and Webb, members of the local ringing band ; and the vicar of the parish. The committee got to work, and decided to recast tbe peal except the 4th bell, which had been recast in 1905, and to rehang the bells on new ball bearings fitting them with new wheels and iron head stocks. was really a bold move to recast the peal, since it was acknowledged to be already a good one, as far as Birmingham peals go. Also, there was known to be some local prejudice against the proposal. The bells, however, were a mixed lot, and not musically, true in the major diatonic scale. The committee decided to improve them, and not having at any time any official objection from anybody in the parish lo overcome, applied, through the Church Council, for a faculty to restore the peal. They were determined to secure the best peal possible with Ihe money at their disposal for, and in keeping with, their ancient church.

On Saturday. November 1st (All Saints’ Day) the recast bells were dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Birmingham in the presence of a large congregation. After the prayer of dedication the following local ringers ascended the tower, and had the honour of ringing the bells for the first time : P. O. Laflin 1, F. B. Yates 2, W . L. Moore 3. H. Williams 4. W . Ball 5. C. Webb 6, J. Betterton 7. J. Withers 8.

After the service, a meat tea was provided for local and visiting ringers.—The Vicar presided, and expressed his pleasure in seeing so many ringers present.

Responding on behalf of the visitors, Mr. A. E. Parsons, of Old Hill, Staffs, stated that prior to that afternoon he bad misgivings as to the wisdom of interfering with tho old peal. Now after having heard and rung the new bells he was delighted to state that they were a distinct, improvement on the old ones in every way. The committee had, he thought, every reason to he proud of them, and of the results of their very successful undertaking.

During the evening, several touches were rung, the ringers all expressing their delight with the sound and the ‘ go ' of the bells. The people of King’s Norton are delighted with the new peal and congratulations are pouring in from all quarters. Naturally, the chairman of the committee and the secretary are very proud of the achievements.

The work of restoration was carried out by Messrs. Taylor and Co.. of Loughborough, who are to be congratulated on the ’excellence of their work.

The arrangements for tea were admirably carried out by Mesdames Moore, Yates, Izon, Williams Laflin, Webb and Ball."

The first peal on the new ring of 8 was rung in 1925:

The augmentation to 10 followed quickly and the dedication of the two new trebles was reported in The Ringing World of Decemberf 31st 1926:

For some time King’s Norton ringers have been looking forward to a ring of ten in their tower, and now their highest hopes have been realised.

Mr. F. B. Yates, their popular ringing Master, a gentleman well known and highly respected in the locality and the city of Birmingham, a former churchwarden and a generous benefactor of the church, has crowned his generosity by the magnificent gift of two treble bells.

On Sunday, December 19th, at the morning service, the new bells were dedicated by the Very Rev. Dr. Moore-Ede, Dean of Worcester, who at the same time unveiled two tablets, the one commemorating the recasting of the peal of eight ill 1924, and the other the gift of the two new trebles.

Immediately after tho dedication, the King’s Norton band ascended the tower and pulled the bells in rounds for a short time. The Dean delivered an interesting sermon on the use of church bells, and directed the thoughts of the congregation to the worship of God, who is Love, and whom they worship in church at the call of the bells.

After the service, there were touches of Stedman Caters as the people left the church, the local ringers being assisted by Messrs. A. Walker and Paddon Smith (St. Martin’s, Birmingham), A. E. Parsons (Old Hill. Worcestershire), and Price Taylor (Loughborough).

Many distinguished people, friends of the donor, were present at the service, including Messrs. P. Hannon, M.P., W. Evans, J.P.. A. W. Heath, .I.P., W. Malins, B.A., and E. Yates.

The Bells were cast by Messrs. Taylor, of Loughborough, who have given the utmost satisfaction and produced a peal which is in keeping with the ancient church— the pride of the King's Norton residents.

The first peal on the 10 was rung in 1928:. The time taken would thought to be very slow theses days!

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

Details of the Bells

 1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1926   4-2-11  25.00"   1658.0Hz (G#-3c)
 2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1926   4-3-22  26.00"   1480.0Hz (F#+0c)
 3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1924   4-1-11  27.125"  1315.0Hz (E-5c)
 4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1924   4-2-11  28.00"   1240.0Hz (D#6c)
 5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1924   5-2-21  30.375"  1104.5Hz (C#-7c)
 6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1905   6-3-13  33.125"   983.5Hz (B-7c)
 7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1924   7-1-19  34.875"   877.0Hz (A-6c)
 8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1924   9-1-11  37.125"   828.0Hz (G#-5c)
 9 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1924  13-0-06  41.125"   737.0Hz (F#-7c)
10 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1924  17-1-06  45.875"   656.0Hz (E-9c)

Details of the Bells in 1924

1 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham 1867   5-1-07  29.00"   1420.0Hz (F+28c)
2 Chapman & Mears, London          1783   5-1-20  29.875"  1288.0Hz (E-41c)
3 Chapman & Mears, London          1783   5-3-11  31.50"   1211.0Hz (D+53c)
4 Chapman & Mears, London          1783   6-3-18  33.875"   983.5Hz (C-107c)
5 Thomas Mears, London             1826   8-2-13  37.25"    918.0Hz (Bb-27c)
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1891  10-1-07  37.375"   854.0Hz (A-52c)
7 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham 1867  11-2-11  40.875"   788.0Hz (G+9c)
8 Chapman & Mears, London          1783  14-1-18  45.125"   706.0Hz (F+19c)

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source: Jacquemart
The Church - Looking East
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