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KNOWLE* SS John the Baptist, St Lawrence & St Anne 8, 9-3-7 in G

Grid Reference 139/182767 Knowle Church - Source: M Chester
Postcode B93 0JB
Affiliation St Martin's Guild
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0845-0930 & 1745-1830 (often a QP)
Practice Monday 1930-2100


Knowle Parish Church first opened in 1403. The hamlet of Cnolle was within the manor and parish of Hampton-in-Arden. The church at Hampton was a three-mile walk away, not too easy for the parishioners in Knowle to reach when the un-bridged River Blythe was in flood. Knowle got its own church through the initiative and funding of a wealthy benefactor – but remained a daughter church of Hampton for over 400 years, until 1858, when it finally became a parish in its own right. The church was saved from the destruction common to many at the time of the Reformation because the villagers of Knowle pleaded that crossing the River Blythe to the parish church at Hampton was often impossible and that they needed their church in Knowle.

Until the end of the 19th century, the tower contained three old bells, tenor c.7cwt, by Matthew Bagley of Evesham, dated 1687 and transported up the River Avon to Warwick or Stratford before being brought to Knowle by road by John Simons. The bells cost £30.

Despite a quotation being obtained from Taylors in 1877 for augmentation to 6, it was not until Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubillee that these bells were replaced by a ring of six in 1897. The new bells (tenor 10-0-7) were cast by James Barwell of Birmingham. Originally two of the existing bells were to be retained, but they did not fit in with the ring and were recast instead. They were hung in a composite frame.

Taylors then recast the cracked fifth and added two trebles in 1931. The remaining Barwell bells were recast, again by Taylors, in 1979, when the eight bells were rehung with new fittings in a new frame and the three 1931 bells quarter turned. The tenor is in the key equivalent to G+11c. The augmentation was reported in The Ringing World of October 2nd 1931:

A visitor, to the village of Knowle can scarcely believe he is but a stepping-stone from the great commercial city of Birmingham, for this village endeavours to retain all its old-world associations; its Guild Hall, adjacent to the church, dates back a great many years, whilst the wrought iron sign outside the Swan Inn, near to the church, is of the early 15th century. The church was founded in 1402 and is famous for its statuary and wood carvings. It occupies a commanding position abutting the main road.
Whilst retaining its old-fashionedness in many ways, Knowle has seen that, so far as its bells are concerned, it has moved with the times. To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 the three bells were recast and three new bells added, making a ring of six, James Barwell, of Birmingham, carrying out this work. Some few months ago the 5th bell cracked, so Taylors were called in.
It was decided to have the cracked bell recast, also to hang the peal with new gudgeons and ball bearings. Mr. Williams, one of the churchwardens, then offered to give a new bell, and eventually two new trebles to complete the ring of eight were ordered, and the dedication of these took place on Saturday, September 19th, by the Ven. Archdeacon of Aston, who preached a most homely and interesting sermon. Mr. E. Denison Taylor was present as founder of the recast 5th and two new trebles, and besides a quartet of lieutenants from Loughborough, there were visitors from the Birmingham and Coventry districts and neighbouring towers, in addition to Mr. Harry Webb, of Croft, and Mr. R. F. Deal, of London.
Some excellent ringing took place, and it was surprising to note how the recast and new bells, with their wonderful carrying power, seemed to wrap up the deficiencies which previously were so noticeable to those who had formerly known the old peal of six. The three ‘ Taylor ’ bells have certainly made a splendid improvement, and Knowle Parish Church now possesses a very handy and most pleasing ring of eight bells.
Through the generosity of the Vicar, the Rev. Canon Downing, and the churchwardens, the clergy and visitors were invited to tea, and. with the weather on its best behaviour, everyone present had a most enjoyable time."

The first peal on the ring of 8 was rung shorly afterwards:

An article about the bells was published in The Ringing World of June 6th 1952, from which the old inscriptions can be ascertained:

(Click to enlarge)

The then record peal of London Surprise Major, 14,336 changes, was rung here on 1/11/1980 and the current record of Stedman Triples, 20160 changes, was rung here on May 9th 1981.

The church is on the main street and there is a public car park nearby. Technically the church is St John the Baptist. SS Lawrence & Anne are "only" part of the benefice name.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1931   3-2-00  24.25"   1581.0Hz (G+14c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1931   3-3-08  25.00"   1490.0Hz (F#+12c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1979   3-2-00  25.375"  1329.0Hz (E+14c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1979   3-3-02  26.875"  1182.0Hz (D+11c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1979   4-2-09  29.00"   1056.0Hz (C+16c)
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1979   5-3-03  31.00"    995.0Hz (B+13c)
7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1931   7-1-10  33.875"   886.0hz (A+12c)
8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1979   9-3-07  38.00"    789.0Hz (G+11c)

Details of the Barwell Bells

1 James Barwell, Birmingham       1897   4-1-00  27.00"
2 James Barwell, Birmingham       1897   4-2-01  28.50"
3 James Barwell, Birmingham       1897   5-1-14  30.50"
4 James Barwell, Birmingham       1897   5-2-26  32.00"
5 James Barwell, Birmingham       1897   7-2-24  35.00"
6 James Barwell, Birmingham       1897  10-0-07  39.00"

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson The Church - Looking West. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson
The Church - Looking East The Church - Looking West
The Stedman Record. Source: Michael Chester The London Record. Source: Michael Chester
The Stedman Record Peal The London Record Peal

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