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RUGBY St Andrew
North-East Tower 8, 24-3-8 in Eb
West Tower 5, 9-2-3 in A

Grid Reference 140/504752 Rugby 8-Bell Tower - Source: M Chester
8-Bell Tower
Rugby 5-Bell Tower - Source: M Chester
5-Bell Tower
Postcode CV21 3PT
Recordings
8 Bell Ring
5 Bell Ring


Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database - 8 Bells
Felstead Database - 5 Bells
Sunday 1000-1030
Practice Monday 1930-2100  1st West Tower. Others North-East Tower
Other Information Church Website

History

Set in the centre of this railway town, this church is unique in that it has two rings of 5 or more bells in different towers. ​St. Andrew's is the original parish church of Rugby. Whilst few of the architectural features assist in dating, it is believed the church is of the 14th Century. The only remnant of the medieval church is the 22m tall West Tower, built in the 14th Century by Henry de Rokeby the second. The tower probably had a defensive as well as a religious role and is Rugby's oldest building. The medieval font, worn and badly damaged, along with a 13th Century parish chest with scrolled ironwork, also survive.

The first mention of a parish church, was in 1140 named St. Andrew 'Castle', but believed to have been built near Regent Place by Sir Henry de Rokeby. However, in 1157 this castle was demolished upon the order of Henry II. 1221 was the first record of a priest, Simon the Decon, and in 1298 the church was re-dedicated to Pope Nicholas IV, possibly when the town became an independent parish.

By 1652, St. Andrew's had become badly neglected and so following complaints about its dangerous condition it was renovated and enlarged. However, following the rapid growth of Rugby's population during the 19th Century, it again became necessary to enlarge and improve the church and so the decision was made to entirely rebuild it. In 1877 Dr. Temple, Bishop of Exeter and a former headmaster of Rugby School laid the foundation stone for the new building. Over the next three years the architect William Butterfield and builders Parnell & Son were commissioned to complete the work costing over £20,000. The only part of the medieval church left was the West Tower. In 1894 the 55 metres (182 feet) tall East Tower and the spire were also added.

The ring of 5, put up in October of 1711 in the West tower is the original ring. This replaced a ring of four which had a heavier tenor; it being cracked at the time of the recasting. The five hang in an early C17th oak frame (c.1620). The frame is arranged to have the four heaviest bells around the walls of the tower and the treble in the middle. They were rehung with new fittings by Taylors in 1930. The frame was strengthened and the bells were retuned and quarter turned. The canons were not removed from the bells at this time.

Note that the weights, taken at the time of tuning are actually heavier than those given by Tilley and Walters. The bearings being replaced locally in 2002/3 following a major tower restoration. Recent research has shown that the 5 are in the key of A (-22c) and not G as has been previously stated.

The heavy, old fashioned 8, was purchased some 10 years after the tower was built. They were dedicated on 18th June 1896. The bells cost £513 13s 2d and the frame, fittings and chiming apparatus brought the total bill up to £812 3s 2d. The eight were rehung by Mears & Stainbank in 1955 when the original frame was lowered in the tower and the bells rehung on ball bearings. A more recent rehanging, by Whitechapel, in the existing frame was completed in 1992 - the bells not removed from the church or weighed. The "Doncaster Heads" were removed at this time.

The 8 are in the "modern" key E flat: standard pitch "flattened" sometime around 1900 so many peals are now closer to a semitone sharper than old charts say.

Car parking close to the church is not easy and you should use pay and display facilities nearby.

Entrance to the 8 is usually from outside the tower round the left as you look at the photograph, though there is an internal entrance via the vestry.  The entrance to the 5 it is often through the main north door, but sometimes the tower door!

Details of the 8 Bells

1 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896   6-3-02  31.50"
2 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896   7-0-25  32.67"
3 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896   8-0-27  35.125"
4 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896   9-1-19  37.25"
5 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896  11-2-22  41.00"
6 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896  12-2-08  42.00"
7 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896  17-0-11  47.125"
8 Mears & Stainbank, London  1896  24-3-08  53.00"
NB The cannons were removed during the 1992 rehanging and therefore the weights must be considered approximate.

Details of the 5 Bells

                                           T&W Weights
1 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   4-2-05   4-2-02     30.00" 1304.0Hz (E-19c)
2 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   4-3-17   4-1-20     30.50" 1159.0Hz (D-23c)
3 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   5-2-17   5-2-03     32.50" 1096.0Hz (C#-20c)
4 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   6-3-21   6-2-22     35.50" 976.5Hz (B-20c)
5 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   9-2-03   9-0-19     39.50" 869.0Hz (A-22c)

Photo Gallery

Both Towers. Source: Mike Chester The Church - Looking East. Source: Mike Chester The Church - Looking West. Source: Mike Chester
Photo to show the relationship
between the two towers 
The Church - Looking East The Church - Looking West
The Chancel. Source: Mike Chester Thge 5-Bell Ringing Chamber. Source: Mike Chester The 8-Bell Ringing Chamber. Source: Mike Chester
The Chancel Ringing on the 5 Bells The 8-Bell Ringing Chamber
rugby1929_small    
The 5 Bells During
the 1929 Restoration
   

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