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BIRMINGHAM, Bishop Ryder's Church 8, 12-3-24 in F#

Grid Reference 139/287404 Bishop Ryder's Churchh - Source: BobHoughton
Postcode B4 7ED
Peals Felstead Database
Date Lost 1959


This church was built in 1837/8 in Gem Street as a memorial to the Bishop of Lichfield, who had died in 1834 and who had been supportive of the need to build a church in this area. It was a red brick and stone church designed by Thomas Rickman and Richard Charles Hussey in the Goth style. Its parish came from that of St Martin in the Bullring. The Chancel was rebuilt in 1894 by J. A. Chatwin, fuunded by J. C Holder in memory of his father, Henry Holder.

In 1925 the parish of St Mary, Whittall Street which closed that year, was united with Bishop Ryder's, as in 1939 was part of the parish of St Bartholomew which closed in 1937. The "slum housing" in the area was demolished after WWII and, after being empty for some, time the church itself was demolised in 1960 and part of Aston University was built on the site.

A single bell by William Taylor of Oxford, cast around 1838 and weighing 4-0-8 was all that was in the tower until, "The first eight ever cast in Birmingham" was installed by Blews and Son, cast in late 1868 and dedicated in 11th January 1869. The cost involved was £600 (according to Wikipedia!) The bells were rehung by Carrs as early as 1895 in the same frame, (which remained in use until the removal of the bells in 1960).

An article about the bells appeared in The Ringing World of March 31st 1916

The bells fell silent in 1922 and, always considered to be of poor tone; (note the frequencies), were recast by Taylors the following year. The scrapping weights are given below. The frame was also lowered by 20 feet in the tower at this time. Their reopening is recorded in The Ringing World of January 18th 1924:

For some time past the peal of eight bells at Bishop Ryder’s Church have been silent owing to their unsafe condition. The parish is a poor one, and it seemed almost a hopeless task to collect sufficient money to get the bells rehung, but through tlie munificence of an old parishioner, Councillor R. R. Gelling, the peal which were not a very musical octave have not only been rehung, but have also been recast. This highly gratifying result has really been brought about at the instigation of Mr. James George, the Ringing Master, who must be very proud of the outcome of his efforts to get a good peal of bells at this church.

Tbe new peal was dedicated at the evening service on Sunday, Dec. 30th, by the Ven. Archdeacon Hopton, of Birmingham. The bells were rung round a few times during the service by James George 1, Albert T. Scrivens 2, Albert E. Norman 3, Thomas Russam 4, Percy O. Latlin 5, Oliver G. Norman 6, Albert Walker 7, Samuel Coley 8 ; and after the service, a well-struck 504 Stedman Triples was rung on them by the following band ; Albert E. Norman 1, Thomas Russam 2, Albert T. Scrivens 3, James George (conductor) 4, John Neal 5, Oliver G. Norman 6, Albert Walker 7, Samuel Coley 8.

On Saturday, January 5th, the tower was open to visitors, and a goodly number of ringers attended from neighbouring places within a radius of 20 miles. The bells were kept going from 2.30 till 4.30, their tone and * go ’ being greatly admired. Tea was kindly provided by the church authorities in the Schoolroom, when a party of 60 sat down. Afterwards, the Vicar (the Rev. Canon G. E. Badgor) remarked how happy he was that the bells were now put in order, and that they had such a fine peal. He could hardly find words in which to thank Councillor Gelling for his magnificent gift to the church, and he felt sure they would be a great blessing to the parish.

Councillor Gelling, who was received with applause, oil rising to reply, said that for some time past he had had it in mind to put up a memorial in memory of his uncle and aunt. The bells certainly had not entered his mind, but when Mr. George approached him and suggested that this would be an excellent memorial, and at tbe same time supply a great need in tbe parish, he decided to do it. He first agreed to have the bells rehung, but after they had been taken to the foundry at Loughborough and their defects in tone pointed out to him, he decided to do the job thoroughly, and have them melted up and recast (applause). In conclusion, he remarked how happy he was to be of service in this way, and hoped that his gift would prove a blessing to the church and parish (applause).

Alderman J. S. Pritchett, Presiding Ringing Master of the St. Martin’ s Guild, in a few well-chosen remarks, said how happy he was to be with them that afternoon. It took his mind back a long time, for by a strange coincidence it was just 50 years since he rang his first peal at Bishop Ryder’ s Church, and he wondered if he would have an opportunity of ringing another this year to celebrate it.

Mr. Thomas Russam also said that he bad very happy recollections of Bishop Ryder’s, he having attended the schools over fifty years ago, and rung his first peal on the bells 48 years ago.

Mr. James George, who has been Ringing Master at Bishop Ryder’s Church for some years, said he had long wished for a good peal of bells at this church, and now that this wish was fulfilled. He was very happy about it, and felt sure that in time a good band of ringers would be attached there (applause). He knew he could rely on the St. Martin's Guild giving him all the assistance possible (hear, bear).

A vote of thanks to the Vicar and Councillor Gelling, and to all those responsible for the arrangements, was proposed by Alderman J . S. Pritchett, and was carried with applause. This concluded the proceedings. After a course of Stedman Cinques and some tunes had been rung on the handbells, a return was made to the tower for fu rther ringing.

Great praise is due to Messrs. Tavlor and Co., of Loughborough, for the splendid ' go ' and ‘ tone ’ of the bells. The tenor, which is 12 cwt. 3 qr. 24 lb. in F sharp, bears the following inscription :—
' To the Glory of God and in memory of George and Mary Stephens. These bells were recast and reliung by their nephew, Robert Raislieck Gellins.'. 1923. Canon G. E. Badger. Vicar; James George, Ringing Master.’"

The first peal on the new bells was rung in January 1924:

Until the time of the closure of this church the bells were popular with peal bands, 197 in total being rung, the last being in August 1959. 

The bells were transferred to Harbourne to replace the 8 bells there. (q.v.)

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

Details of the First Ring of Bells

1 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1868   5-0-21  26.50"   1642.0Hz (G+80c)
2 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1868   5-1-13  26.25"   1540.0Hz (F#+69c)
3 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1868   5-2-07  28.75"   1359.0Hz (E+52c)
4 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1868   5-3-21  30.00"   1206.0Hz (D+46c)
5 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1868   6-3-18  32.50"   1070.0Hz (C+38c)
6 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1868   7-1-27  34.00"   1007.0Hz (B+33c)
7 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1868   9-3-25  37.00"    912.0Hz (A+62c)
8 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1868  11-1-21  40.25"    800.0Hz (G+35c)

Details of the Recast Ring of Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1923   3-1-11  24.375"  1484.0Hz (F#+5c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1923   3-2-10  25.375"  1399.0Hz (Ex+3c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1923   4-0-07  27.125"  1246.0Hz (D#+2c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1923   4-1-04  28.375"  1112.0Hz (C#+5c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1923   5-2-17  31.125"   990.0Hz (B+4c)
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1923   6-2-18  32.875"   930.0Hz (A#-4c)
7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1923   8-3-22  36.50"    832.5Hz (G#+4c)
8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1923  12-3-24  40.875"   742.0Hz (F#+5c)


All are inscribed "WILLIAM BLEWS AND SONS, BIRMINGHAM, 1868" and have the Taylor's mark and "RECAST 1923" on their waists, the tenor on the opposite side to the main inscription, plus

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The Monument to
Bishop Ryder
in Lichfield Cathedral



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