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RUGBY North-East Tower 8, 24-3-8 in Eb and 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

History Of The Bells

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.

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.

With the major expansion of Rugby, due to the coming of the railway, the church was not big enough to cope with the increased population. Instead of demolishing the existing church it was incorporated into the new building to become part of the North Aisle. A new tower was added by Messrs. Parnell and Sons, to the designs of William Butterfield as part of the restoration scheme that took place between 1877 & 1885.

The heavy, old fashioned 8, was purchased some 10 years later and 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

1 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   4-2-05  30.00" 1304.0Hz (E-19c)
2 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   4-3-17  30.50" 1159.0Hz (D-23c)
3 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   5-2-17  32.50" 1096.0Hz (C#-20c)
4 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   6-3-21  35.50" 976.5Hz (B-20c)
5 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston    1711   9-2-03  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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