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CORLEY Unknown Dedication 5, 5-1-16 in C (GF)

Grid Reference 140/301851 Corley Church - Source M Chester
Postcode CV7 8BB
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday None
Practice None


The church stands at the highest point in Warwickshire, on a site that was probably the earliest place of worship in the county; from pagan times through the Christian conversion in the 7th Century. Very little of the original sandstone church remains, what is here was built in the early 12th century and has been rebuilt and altered over the centuries. The Chancel was rebuilt and enlarged around 1200. The 12th century south aisle was rebuilt and widened in the mid-14th century.  The nave was extended in 1885. It is said that you could see the top of Coventry Cathedral, then St Michael's Church, if you looked through the keyhole of the main door.

The church is unusual in that is has bells but no tower! They are hung above the Nave in the roof beams and have a wooden structure with louvres and a sort of cupola to protect them from the elements. This means that the ropes fall in the Nave and, as you can see from the photograph, the only way to get to the east end of the church is through the rope circle - interesting when you are ringing! The Church is Norman in foundation and small but pretty to look at.

The bells themselves could not be described as the most tuneful around; they do not conform to any standard musical scale as they were left untuned when restored in 1937, as the architect wished to preserve, "the plaintive tone of Corley bells". They do handle quite well, though watch your head of the pulpit when ringing the second! The fourth is an old bell, cast some time in the late 14th century. The front 4 are relatively to a scale, but the tenor is noticeably sharp. The cast iron H frame and fittings are by Taylors, 1937. At this time the cracked Henry Bagley II of Ecton bell, cast in 1702, was recast. The old bells retain their canons, the new one, (tuned to be half way between the 2nd and 4th, they not being in tune with each other), is flat topped. The four old bells were quarter turned at the time of the restoration.

The inscriptions of the bells before the recasting of the 3rd are given in Tilley and Walters' book, "The Church Bells of Warwickshire":

The restoration is reported in The Ringing World of December 17th 1937:

The village of Corley situated about four miles north-west of Coventry has an ancient church (dedication unknown) in the Normon and early decorated style with a small central tower of wood built in the roof and containing five bells, which were in an unsafe state for many years. Tho bells have now been rehung in a new steel frame and new fittings, and on Sunday, November 28th, at evening service, were rededicated by the Rev. E. G. Bowring, M.A., five members of tho Warwickshire Guild ringing a plain course of Grandsire Doubles as an opening touch.
The Rector (the Rev. T. Goring) expressed his gratitude to all who had helped with the work.
After the service 120 of Grandsire Doubles was rung: C. H. Webb 1, M. C. Melville 2, .T. W. Taylor 3, J . H. White (conductor) 4, W. A. Stote 5. A number of ringers wero present, including the president of the N.U.T.S., who had arrived the previous day and had obtained a ladder to get on to the roof of the church to find his way to measure tho tenor bell. He, however, found this a difficult job, as the bells are rung in the centre of the nave, and it is only by going through a small trap door in the roof of the nave that one can get to the bells. However, through the. kindness of a well-known ringer, late of Croft, he found access on the Sunday afternoon.
The. work has been carried out by Messrs. J . Taylor and Co., of Loughborough, in their usual excellent manner. The firm was represented by Mr. J . P. Fidler.
The bells are a quaint ring not in perfect tune, but the architect requested that the ‘ quaint plaintive melody ’ of Corley bells remain unaltered."

"RECAST 1937" was added to the inscription on the 3rd on one side of the waist and on the other



The first peal on the bells as not rung until 1947:

Click here to view Bill Hibbert's tonal analysis of the bells.

The entrance is on the North side of the nave, though sometimes you may be taken through the vestry at the west end of the church.

Parking should be made with care as the road in front of the church is quite busy - try up the side instead.

Look for the way up to the bells, a hatch in the ceiling beside the organ - not the easiest climb to view bells; I know, I've done it many times!

Details of the Bells

1 Hugh Watts II, Leicester         1641  1-3-24  21.375"  1456.8Hz (F#-27c)
2 John De Colsale                 c1410  2-2-05  24.25"   1346.0Hz (E+36c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1937  3-1-26  25.875"  1257.0Hz (D#+17c)
4 Mediaeval                       c1500  4-1-14  28.75"   1126.0Hz (C#+27c)
5 Thomas Hancox, Walsall           1631  5-1-16  31.00"   1041.0Hz (C-9c)

Photo Gallery

corley_belfry small corley_treble_small corley_tenors_small
The Structure of the Belfry The Treble  The Tenors
corley_second_small corley_second2_small corley_second3_small
The Second The Second Close Up The Second's Canons 
corley_ringing_small corley2_small corley3_small
The Ringing Area Ringing The Bells The "Tower"
corley_carving_small corley_arch_small corley_font_small
The Ancient Carving in the Nave The Unusal Arches in the Nave The Font
corley_east_small corley_west_small corley_hatch_small
The East End of the Church  The West End of the Church The Hatch to the Bells
Ladder is Behind the Organ
The Fine C.12th Main Church Doorway     

Ringing at Corley


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