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SALFORD PRIORS St Matthew 8, 15-0-14 in F# (GF)

Grid Reference 150/077510 Salford Priors Church - Source: David Kelly
Postcode WR11 8UP
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 1000-1030 (Ex 1st - Check)
Practice Wednesday 1930-2100 (1st only)
Other Information Church Website

History

The last tower in the Guild in this direction, St Matthews is a nice church with a very nice Gillett & Johnston ring of bells. The church is mentioned the Domesday Book. It says that the church and lands of Salford Magna had been given to a nun, Levitha, who later bequeathed it to the Augustinian priory at Kenilworth (hence the village’s original name of Priors Salford). The Norman influence can be seen above the main door - a typical (and magnificently) carved stone arch with different patterns. The main aisle (the nave) was the original structure of the church which the monks decided to enlarge at the end of the 12th century. They extended the church at the side (south) and the square stone pillars supporting the 12th century Romanesque arches are part of the original Norman church wall. The monks also extended the church east. Another feature of interest is the large ‘flamboyant’ window in the centre of the north wall of the nave. ‘Flamboyant’ describes the Gothic architecture popular in in the 15th and 16th centuries and this window is one of only about twelve to be found in England. (Taken from the church website)

A ring of eight has been hung here since 1836 when Thomas Mears of Gloucester added two trebles to the ring of six cast by Richard Sanders of Bromsgrove in 1735. This ring has replaced and earlier one of five bells. The tenor was recast by Mears & Stainbank in 1867. According to The Ringing World of Feb 1st 1946, in its report of the Rededication Service, the bells had become unringable at some time shortly before the start of WWI. However, that of January 6th 1922, if its "Belfry Gossip" section states that J E Groves of Birmingham had rehung the tenor bell. Perhaps this alone was rung?  Can anyone help me with this?

The G&J ring hangs in a two tier cast iron frame, treble and fifth on top in a lowside frame and the others below in an H-frame. Being a relatively new ring, none of the bells have been turned. This was the first complete ring cast after the end of the Second World War. Tenor is F#+19c. The dedication of the bells was reported in The Ringing World of February 1st 1946:

"SALFORD PRIORS.
DEDICATION OF NEW BELLS.
The ring of eight bells at Salford Priors, which has been recast by Messrs. Glllett and Johnston, was dedicated on January 18th by the Bishop of Coventry.
Immediately after the dedication the bells were raised by the local ringers, and at the close of the service touches in various methods were rung by members of the Coventry Diocesan Guild from Allesley, Chilvers Coton, Keresley, Leamington, Nuneaton, Stoke Coventry, Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick.
The original peal was installed in the church in 1755, and when, in 1856, it was proposed to increase the peal to one of eight bells, the churchwarden of that day recorded the fact that a letter had been received from Stratford-on-Avon Church to say that if Salford Priors (then a village of some 400) was going to have eight bells, then Stratford would increase its peal to ten bells.
Regular ringing ceased about fifty years ago, when the bells became unsafe; and though a few years before the 1914-18 war, and at intervals since, it was suggested thev should be recast and made safe for ringing, nothing was done until May of last year. The ringers’ society was re-formed, and agreed to raise the cost of recasting one bell; and a few days later it was decided to have the bells recast at a cost of £1,250, £500 being allocated from the church maintenance fund.
The sixth, one of the original bells of 1735, has been retained on its old cannons and stock and will be kept in the church as an example of bell founding of the eighteenth century. It was made by Richard Sanders. The new bell which takes its place has been named the Peace Bell, and is inscribed with the names of seven men from the parish who lost their lives in the war."

One of the Sanders bells, the sixth of the ring, is preserved in the church, having been incorporated as part of a War Memorial to the fallen of World War II. There were two other small bells in the church, a C16 bell on a bracket that was returned to the church after being the local school's bell for 100 years in 1961, it being formerly the church's sanctus bell, and a Warner bell of 1876 that had been the bell at Dunnington School. Sadly, the older bell was stolen some years ago.

The following edition recorded:

"SALFORD PRIORS, WARWICKSHIRE.
The restoration of the Salford Priors bells referred to in our issue of February 1st was the first complete restoration of a peal since the war. The bells were not only recast, but rehung entirely in a new frame with modern fittings.
A record of part of the service, described by Mr. Eric Sanders, and the ringing of the bells was broadcast in the Midland Regional programme on Wednesday evening, January 30th."

The first peal on the bells was not long in coming:

There is parking leading up to the church and entry is via the North Door.

Being on the edge of the Coventry Guild and very close to the border with the Worcester & Districts Association this tower has links with both. Here is a link to the W & D entry for Salford Priors

Details of the Bells

1 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1945   4-2-11  26.75"  1460.0Hz (F#-24c)
2 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1945   4-3-20  27.50"  1372.0Hz (E#-31c)
3 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1945   5-1-11  28.94"  1220.0Hz (D#-34c)
4 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1945   6-1-01  31.00"  1098.0Hz (C#-17c)
5 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1945   7-1-12  33.50"   976.0Hz (B-21c)
6 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1945   8-0-02  34.875"  915.0Hz (A#-32c)
7 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1945  10-3-09  38.375"  824.0Hz (G#-14c)
8 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1945  15-0-14  42.875"  732.0Hz (F#-19c)

Details of the Unhung Bells

Ex 6 Richard Saunders, Bromsgrove    1735  9-0-06 35.50" (A)
Brk Unknown C16th                                 11.50"
Sch John Warner & Sons, Cripplegate  1876         11.75" (F#)

Photo Gallery

spriors_east_small spriors_west_small  
 The Church - Looking East The Church - Looking West   
spriorsold_small spriorsold_small  
The Richard Saunders bell of
1735. 35.50", Note A.
A closeup of the impressions of
coins on the Saunders bell 
 
spriors2_small spriors3_small  
The old bells are removed
from the tower
The bells ready for
transporting to the foundry.
 
spriors1_small spriors4_small  
The new bells are cast Two of the new bells and the
preserved Bell in the foundry,
with a party from the church.
 
   
The report of the redication
in The Ringing World of Feb 1st 1946
   

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