Meriden* St Lawrence 5, 7cwt in B Anticlockwise
History Of The Bells
In a pretty location on the edge of the village, near to the A45, this church is part of a village with the unique attraction of a war memorial to bicyclists. It also claims to be in the dead centre of England. The church is worth a view. There might have been a church here pre-conquest, though nothing remains. There is some Norman work in the chancel and at the west end of the nave. A lot of the church was built in C14 and C15. It was twice restored, in C19 and again in 1924. Recent work has included the re-roofing of the nave and aisles in 2008 and a thorough restoration of the tower in 2009-11.
An old mid to late C16 wooden frame, originally for four bells, with fittings by Day of Eye, 1897. The three trebles are among the 14 known bells by this founder. He was a brassfounder by trade, but cast some bells between 1736 and his death in 1744. It is thought likely that he took over some of the foundry plant of Richard Sanders of Bromsbrove, who died in 1737. The fourth bell was cast to replace a bell that had been missing for about a century. The tenor is an old bell, decorated with around 22 impressions of coins that are somewhat indistinct. It is tentatively dated at about 1500AD. It is slightly flat in relation to the other bells in the ring and is actually nearer to Bb than B, but the ring is effectively in B.
All bar the Warner bell are listed and all have canons; in the case of the Warner bell they are "Doncaster". The third and the tenor have been quarter turned. All five bells are "maiden" castings.
The state of the tower was one reason why the bells were not allowed to be rung, so there is some hope that at least limited ringing might be allowed in the near future. The bells were formerly a ground floor ring, but are now rung from a new gallery that was very sympathetically added in 1989.
The church is near the Coventry end of the village and can be found from the A45 westbound by following the sign to Millison's Wood. This junction was formerly signposted as Meriden, but a new junction further along has been added as the main entry point to the village. (This new junction is the exit that will have to be used by Coventry bound traffic, then through the village) Look for Church Lane, opposite The Queen's Head public house. Entry is via the south door of the church. Limited parking is available on the road by the south side of the church.
An inspection in late April 2013 showed that, with some minor work, the bells could be put into a condition where ringing for festivals, weddings, etc. would be possible. This work was done shortly afterwards and the bells are now available for occasional ringing.
Details of the Bells
1 William Brooke, Bromsgrove 1740 3cwt 25.188" 1497.5Hz (F#+20c)
2 William Brooke, Bromsgrove 1740 4½cwt 27.625" 1318.5Hz (E+0c)
3 William Brooke, Bromsgrove 1740 4¾cwt 28.50" 1236.5Hz (D#-11c)
4 John Warner, London 1897 5¾cwt 31.00" 1079.5Hz (C#-46c)
5 Unknown C15th 7cwt 33.00" 954.0Hz (B-61c)