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Meriden* St Lawrence 5, 7cwt in B Anticlockwise

Grid Reference 140/252817 Meriden Church - Source M Chester
Postcode CV7 7HX
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday None
Practice None
Other Information Anticlockwise

History

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. The present church consists of a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, west tower, and modern south porch and vestry. The chancel and nave are of 12th-century origin; the chancel was lengthened a few feet in the 13th century and the chancel arch widened. Aisles were added to the nave subsequently, the southern first, in the 14th century, and the northern during the 15th century. Later in the 15th century the west tower was built, apparently, judging from the difference of material, in three periods. The clearstory to the nave was raised at about the same time. Minor alterations took place later, such as the insertion of 15th- or early16th-century windows, &c. The west window of the tower was remade in the 17th century. The tower appears to have had a stone spire originally which must have been a conspicuous landmark like those of Solihull and Coleshill. Various restorations have been carried out in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was  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)

Photo Gallery

meriden_nave_small meriden_ringing_room_small meriden_tomb_small
The Nave The Ringing Room One of two Mediaeval
tombs that can be found
either side of the Chancel arch
meriden_treble_small meriden_2nd_small meriden_crack_small
The Treble The Second The Cracked Third.
(The crack can be seen coming
from the top of the clapper
at the one o'clock position)
meriden_3rd_small meriden_4th_small meriden_tenor_small
The Third
(and Graham Nabb!)
The Fourth The Tenor
meriden_old_clappers_small meriden_bearings_small  
The Old Clappers -
Note That There Are
Only Four
Cut outs for
previous bearings
(highlighted in red)
 

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