RADFORD SEMELE St Nicholas 6, 9-3-19 in F#
History Of The Bells
In a nice setting just outside Leamington Spa, but detatched from it, this church, which is Grade II Listed, was probably built in the early 12th century and enlarged in the 14th century, at which point the tower was built. Apart from the tower and the south wall of the nave, it was largely rebuilt in 1889.
Sadly it was gutted by fire on the morning of 1th March 2008. Only the stone walls were left standing. It seems very likely that the fire was arson, a cremation stone being found inside the building when the clear up was being carried out. Work on the rebuild started at Easter 2012 and the church re-opened in May 2013. Most agree that the restoration has been a great success. A modern church has been created inside the old walls; one that is filled with natural light. It has been turned through 90 degrees liturgically.
The bells were an awkward ring of 4 until 1998 when they were rehung and augmented. The bells were tuned, the tenor previously being noticeably flat in relation to the other three bells. The second bell, T Mears 1818, was recast at the same time. The second of the former ring of three at Atherstone on Stour was incorporated into the ring. The Taylor bells were cast with flat tops, the others retain their canons. Bells 1, 2, 5 and 6 have been one-eighth turned, bells 3 and 4 have not been turned.
A modern 8-bell frame was purchased from a church in Cheylesmore, Coventry, where it had been installed but never filled with bells. The framesides required to produce a 6-bell frame were installed here and the surplus sold to Studley for their augmentation project. However, they were subsequently sold on to Beoley in Worcsestershire as it was decided that installing new framesides made Studley's project easier.
The old frame (dated 1615, strengthened by William Beasley when he rehung the four in 1846/7) was retained in situ, but the transverse pit was removed. This frame was destroyed in the fire.
After the fire the bells were removed to Taylors for safety and they put back into the tower in April 2013. The wooden fittings were burnt away and were replaced and the other fittings refurbished as necessary. The frame was able to be re-used, as were the headstocks - with replacement bearings.
There are a few parking places in front of the church and at the tower end. Enter via the south door and up to the ringing room from the base of the tower.
Details of the Bells
1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1998 4-0-16 26.875" 1269.0Hz (D#+34c)
2 John of Gloucester c1350 4-0-12 28.375" 1131.0Hz (C#+34c)
3 Hugh Watts II, Leicester 1636 5-3-26 31.25" 1010.0Hz (B+39c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1998 6-2-14 32.50" 953.0Hz (A#+38c)
5 Henry Bagley I, Chacombe 1641 7-3-21 36.25" 846.0Hz (G#+32c)
6 Hugh Watts II, Leicester 1636 9-3-19 38.75" 757.0Hz (F#+39c)