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WARWICK St Mary 10, 24-3-20 in D

Grid Reference 151/282650 Warwick, St Mary Church - Source J Gwynne
Postcode CV34 4AB
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0945 - 1030 (ex 1st)
1030 - 1100 (1st)
1745 - 1830
Practice Wednesday 1930-2100 (1 & 3)
(Check for 5th)

History Of The Bells

An historic church that is one anyone should stop a while and visit before ringing there. The Beauchamp Chapel is beautiful.

The tower stands stands out for miles around and is unusual in that you can drive underneath it (if the post in the road has been removed!) The story is that on re-building the church after the "Fire of Warwick" of 1694 it was found that the design for the tower to rise flush with the west wall was not strong enough and therefore is was built on four massive piers, the tower door being in the north-east pier.

In 1552 there were "v belles" and by 1656 a treble had been added. Tilley & Walters state that the treble had no inscription, the second was probably by Newcombe, the third was cast in Worcester, the 5th in Nottingham. The fourth and tenor was Isabella Despenser, Countess of Warwick who died in 1439 foundress of the Beauchamp Chapel.

There became a ring of eight here in 1656 when the old tenor was recast into three trebles at Coventry by Bryan Eldridge. All were destroyed in the Great Fire of Warwick.

Abraham Rudhall was contracted to provide a new ring of eight which were delivered in 1702, but in the following year two more bells were added to make ten. The tenor was first recast in 1725 and recast again by Mears in 1814, its frequency now equating to D-34c. There was a major restoration in 1901 that involved the recasting of 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 & 8. Before this restoration they were an anticlockwise 10. The old bells were retuned. Prior to this the 5th was 8-0-21, the 6th 9-3-21, the 9th 18-3-18 and the tenor 27-0-14.

Cast iron frame and fittings are by Taylors, 1901. The back four were hung on ball bearings by Arthur Fidler in 1979 and numbers 4, 5 & 6 in 1981 by the same person. The rest were rehung on ball bearings by Taylors during 2008. The Taylor bells were all cast with flat tops and the canons have been removed from the others.

Tonally they are a grand ring, but, despite being anything but "too difficult to handle", do take some ringing to get the best out of them due to tower sway. Put the necessary effort into your ringing and you will be rewarded, is the best thing to say.

ThA bell that survived the great fire of Warwick was rehung. It was cast in 1671 by a Mr Henry Bagley at a cost of 25 shillings. It is believed that the bell originally was hung in the chapel and so separately from the tower bells which crashed to the ground in the fire. The bell loitered in the crypt for 75 years or so before it was cleaned and rehung above the main bells in 1976. It has a distinctive shape and its sound was described as harsh and rather unmusical and for a few years it was chimed as a service bell. When mobile phone aerials were installed in the bell chamber this old bell was removed and can now be seen once more in the crypt.

There is one band for the two towers in Warwick.  Normally practice is here on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month and at St Nicholas on 1st and 3rd.  The band decide which tower to ring at when there is a 5th Wednesday. Sometimes church activities change the schedule, so you might wish to check before turning up - though the two towers are hardly distant from each other!

Details of the Bells

 1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1901   4-2-19  27.00"   1451.5Hz (F#-34c)
 2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1901   5-0-07  28.125"  1296.5Hz (E-29c)
 3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1901   5-3-04  29.875"  1154.0Hz (D-31c)
 4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1901   6-1-14  31.25"   1086.0Hz (C#-36c)
 5 Abraham Rudhall I, Gloucester   1702   7-1-20  33.75"    966.0Hz (B-39c)
 6 Abraham Rudhall I, Gloucester   1702   9-2-02  37.625"   864.0Hz (A-32c)
 7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1901  11-1-11  40.125"   769.0Hz (G-33c)
 8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1901  13-1-11  42.50"    723.0Hz (F#-40c)
 9 Abraham Rudhall I, Gloucester   1702  18-0-21  48.00"    647.5Hz (E-31c)
10 Thomas Mears II, London         1814  24-3-20  54.375"   576.0Hz (D-34c)

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson The Church - Looking west. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson
The Church - Looking East The Church - Looking West
The Beauchamp Chapel. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson The Crypt. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson
The magnificent Beauchamp Chapel The massive piers in the Crypt 
The Fire Bell   



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