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WARWICK St Nicholas 8, 15-2-20 in F

Grid Reference 151/286649 Warwick, St Nicholas Church - Source M Chester
Postcode CV34 4JD
Recording
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0930-1000
Practice Wednesday 1930-2100 (2nd & 4th. Check for 5th)
Other Information Church Website

History

The present Church was built in 1785, in the Gothic Revival Style, replacing a decaying mediaeval church, the roots of which lay in a former Saxon nunnery on the site.

Tilley & Walters note that there were 5 bells by 1552. The 3rd and 4th were recast in 1554-59 by Newcombe of Leicester and there were other, unspecified, recasts in 1561, 1562 and 1565. In 1571 another bell was recast. Another bell, the 4th, was recast by Dankes and Baker in 1619. All went quiet until 1695!

A ring of 6 was installed by Richard Keene of Woodstock in 1695. These bells replaced the ring of 5, whose probable details are shown below.  The old bells were weighed out on March 22nd 1694 and the new bells weighed in on March 29th 1695. The treble and tenor were recast by Matthew Bagley in 1770 & 1773. The fifth was recast by Edward Arnold in 1798. The third was recast by C & G Mears in 1849 and the treble again was recast in 1877 by Mears and Stainbank. The ring was made into an octave a decade later. Tilley and Walters give the incriptions of these bells in their book, "The Church Bells of Warwickshire":

The first peal on the bells was rung in 1888, the ringers being less than complimentary about the go of the 6th & 7th!

 

One other peal was rung on this peal of bells - 2nd Dec 1922 - Grandsire Triples. This time, the band did not complain about the go of the bells in print!

The bells here were unringable for about 30 years until being recast and rehung in a new cast iron lowside frame by Taylors in 1957.

The rededication of the new ring in 1957 was reported, at length, in The Ringing World of December 20th 1957:

"ST. NICHOLAS’, WARWICK, HAS NEW RING OF EIGHT
ST . NICHOLAS',  Warwick, church bells were heard again on Thursday, December 5th, after a silence of nearly 30 years, when the recast ring was dedicated by the Bishop of Coventry (Dr. Cuthbert Bardsley). The church was packed' to capacity, the service being conducted by Canon H. A. Hayden, vicar and rural dean. The service was attended by clergy from the surrounding district and representatives o f many Warwick organisations.
After the dedication of a new chapel and the bells, the Bishop in his address gave a warning about the influence of television and newspapers. He said if people were stirred up too frequently without outgoing action, they could lose the capacity to be stirred. 
The newspapers we are fed by a vast number of indigestible facts. We merely look at them and do not read them. They could not possibly move us. We look at our television sets and there pours out a positive Niagara of emotion which makes us feel and yet not feel, see and yet not see. Week after week people are stirred if only mildly, and this' can be an inoculation against the real thing. It is a great danger today.’
The Bishop said the dedication of the chapel and the bells reflected the care, hard work and generosity of many people. Ever since he had arrived in the diocese, one of the things he had longed for had been a ring of bells ringing in every church. We should not rest until Sunday by Stinday they all echoed forth a call to worship. While there were not enough bells and not enough ringers, it was sad that in some churches the bells were never used. St. Nicholas’ bells were the first he had dedicated since he became Bishop, and he hoped that he would be called to many more similar functions.
For the act of dedication, rounds were rung by an all St. Mary's, Warwick, band, two of the band being learners who will form part of the St. Nicholas’ band. The band selected for the ringing immediately after the conclusion of the service was representative of the Coventry Diocesan Guild, and were from the following towers: Allesley, Stoke St. Michael’s, Coventry, Chilvers Coton, Harbury, Leamington and St. Mary’s, Warwick.
The bells were available on Friday evening December 6th (St. Nicholas' Day), to all ringers, and good use was made of them.
On Saturday, December 7th, a peal of Plain Bob Major was rung in 2 hours 59 minutes by members of the Guild. Ringing for the morning service on Sunday was carried out by the ringers of Stoke St. Michael's, Coventry, who rang touches of Stedman, Grandsire and Plain Bob Major. For Evensong a mixed band, representing several towers rang a quarter peal of Yorkshire Surprise Major, followed by a course of Bristol Surprise and an excellent fall, which concluded the ‘ St. Nicholas ’ week, and really put the new bells on the local map once again. The Vicar and churchwardens must surely be proud to have acquired by their own efforts such a delightful ring of bells. Now it only remains to build up a band of ringers, which should not be too difficult in Warwick.
The bells, a grand eight with a tenor of 15 cwt. 2 qr. 20 lb. in F, are a credit to the founders, Messrs. John Taylor and Co., who broke up the old bells and added some metal to make a ring with a total weight of 61 cwt. and rehung them in a new steel frame with all new fittings. The bells have been lowered in the tower, which has in the past given some trouble. The verdict of the band who rang in the peal and all the others who were able to try them out was that they were a grand lot which handled perfectly, despite new ropes.
Canon and Mrs. Hayden entertained the peal band to tea afterwards, when they all had the pleasure of hearing a recording of a part of the peal. Canon Hayden said how delighted he was that the first peal on the new bells had been accomplished, and said it would be recorded on a peal board to be hung in the ringing chamber. He expressed appreciation for the help he had received from officers of the Coventry Diocesan Guild, and said they would always be welcome at St. Nicholas’."

The first peal on the new 8 was rung just 2 days later:

"St Nic's" was the front page tower in the April 24th 1970 edition of The Ringing World. There was a short article about the bells and the band on the following page:

They are an excellent ring of 8 that is popular with peal ringers. Adjustable sound control has been added and this should maintain this church's position as the leading pealed tower in the Coventry Diocese.

This church is easily spotted when coming from the Coventry side of town. It has a spire and is set on the opposite side of a roundabout to the corner of the castle walls. Limited parking is available for cars in the churchyard, enter along St Nicholas Church Street. There is a pay and display car park round to the left at the roundabout at the end of the street. Entry is by the tower stairs on the north side.

There is one band for the two towers in Warwick.  Normally practice is here on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month and at St Mary on 2nd and 4th.  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  1957   4-1-13  26.00"   1401.0Hz (F+5c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1957   5-0-04  27.125"  1321.0Hz (E+3c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1957   5-0-12  28.00"   1173.0Hz (D-2c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1957   5-1-27  30.375"  1044.0Hz (C-4c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1957   6-1-11  32.50"    928.0Hz (Bb-8c)
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1957   7-3-15  34.875"   875.0Hz (A-10c)
7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1957  11-0-12  39.00"    775.5Hz (G-19c)
8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1957  15-2-20  43.875"   691.0Hz (F-19c)

Details of the Previous Ring

1 Mears and Stainbank, London     1887   4-1-20
2 Mears and Stainbank, London     1887   4-3-22
3 Mears and Stainbank, London     1877   5-2-00
4 Richard Keene, Woodstock        1695   6-0-00
5 C and G Mears, London           1849   8cwt
6 Richard Keene, Woodstock        1649   9cwt
7 Edward Arnold                   1798  12cwt
8 Matthew Bagley III, Chacombe    1773  16cwt

Details of the 1695 Ring of 6

1 Richard Keene, Woodstock        1695   5-1-05
2 Richard Keene, Woodstock        1695   6-0-05
3 Richard Keene, Woodstock        1695   7-1-12
4 Richard Keene, Woodstock        1695   8-2-11.5
5 Richard Keene, Woodstock        1695  10-0-21.5
6 Richard Keene, Woodstock        1695  15-0-21.5

Details of the Pre-1695 Ring

1 Newcombe, Leicester             1561   6-2-11
2 Newcombe, Leicester             1565   8-1-19
3 Newcombe, Leicester             1554  10-1-00
4 Richard Dawkes, Worcester       1619  14-0-27
5 Newcombe, Leicester             1571  18-1-09

Photo Gallery

The Nave. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson wawrwick1957_small
The Nave Casting the Bells in 1957

 

 

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