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ERDINGTON ABBEY (R.C.)* SS Thomas & Edmund 8, 15-3-16 in F

Grid Reference 139/112923 Erdington Abbey - Source David Kelly
Postcode B23 6QN
Affiliation St Martin's Guild
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 1010-1030
Practice Friday 1930-2100


The intention was that this building would form just part of a much bigger Abbey. However this was never completed due to lack of funds. The church therefore is situated North-South, rather than the more normal East-West. Built by Charles Hansom, the steeple of the church is 117 ft high, which is also the length of the building. In 1876 Father Haigh handed over his church, parish and estate of four acres to the Benedictine monks from Beuron in Germany, exiled for their faith from their own country.

A single bell was placed in the tower in 1848. It was cast by Taylors of Loughborough and weighed 12-3-14 in E. Though a quotation for five more bells was soon asked of Taylors by the church it was not until 1877 that a ring was installed. They were a ring of eight (tenor 14-2-8 in F) cast by William Blews of Birmingham in 1877 and blessed on January 20th 1878. They were hung in a two-tier wooden frame, with bells 1, 2, 4 and 6 in the top tier and bells 3, 5, 7 and 8 below. The fittings were overhauled by Blews in 1883 and reopened on 15 January with a peal, it being the first on the bells.  The details of this peal are:

The bells were rehung by Barwells in 1900, the only details I currently have being a footnote to a peal rung that year, the first on the bells for nearly 10 years:


The following was published as part of a series of articles in Bell News on September 23rd 1905:

"SS. Thomas and Edmund, Birmingham. Eight bells; all 15 cwt., diameter 3 ft. 8 in. St. Martin’s Guild, Birby Blews 1877, Tenor Timber frame. Bells go well. Rehung by Barwell, 1900. Ropes new 1899, fair. Methods; Grandsire, Stedman and Duffield. Sunday ringing; 10 to 10.30, and 5.30 to 6. Practice ; Saturday, 16.30."

The original bells were recast on the occasion of the centenary of the church. The new bells were first rung on 10 June and the first peal was rung the following Saturday. They now hang in a cast iron frame and new fittings by Taylors, 1950. Bells 3, 4 and 7 hang above the other 5. They are a really good ring of bells; the sound they make is wonderful. There was a report of the new bells published in The Ringing World of June 30th 1950:

The gift of the original ring of bells installed in the Roman Catholic Church at Erdington in 1878 has a beautiful history. A young man, poorly endowed with worldly goods, but who loved the beauty of God’s house, made a vow to work hard and, if God prospered him, to furnish bells for the church.
After an absence of 16 years, spent in New Zealand, with the work of his hand and the sweat of his brow, and with self-denial, he laid by sufficient to return to Erdington and fulfil his vow. The bells were a ring of eight, cast by Blews, the Birmingham founders. After 70 years’ use, the wooden bell frame became dilapidated and the bells compared unfavourably with modern tuning, so that of recent years they had been seldom rung.
This year the church, which is dedicated to SS. Thomas and Edmund, celebrates its centenary, and a determined effort was made to put the bells in order. A thorough scheme was decided upon, resulting in a beautiful octave with a tenor of 15 cwt. in F from the Loughborough foundry.
They were rung for the first time, as a prelude to the centenary celebrations, on June 10th, and a peal was rung upon them on June 17th. The louvres have been completely filled in with sound-proof material, sending the sound into the spire, resulting in a perfectly balanced reception outside the tower and a ring of bells that it is a pleasure to listen to.
A band of ringers from the congregation has been formed, and is receiving tuition in bell management from the hon. secretary of the St. Martin’s Guild.
G. E. F."

A peal on the new bells was quickly rung:


There is a small bell (3-3-10 in F), cast by Taylors in 1849, that is hung for chiming in the turret by the south door. It was originally hung for ringing.

There is a church car park, the entrance being just uphill from the Abbey.

(Most of the above information is quoted directly (with permission) from the research notes of Chris Pickford)

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1950   4-1-00  26.375"  1383.0Hz (F-17c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1950   4-2-21  27.375   1306.0Hz (E-17c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1950   5-0-26  29.00"   1164.0Hz (D-16c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1950   6-0-07  31.00"   1037.0Hz (C-16c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1950   7-0-26  33.625"   924.0Hz (Bb-16c)
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1950   8-0-27  35.50"    871.0Hz (A-18c)
7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1950  11-0-06  39.125"   777.0Hz (G-16c)
8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1950  15-3-16  44.125"   692.0Hz (F-16c)

Details of the Previous Bells

1 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1877   5-0-15  27.75"   1460.0Hz (F+76c)
2 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1877   5-0-06  28.50"   1367.0Hz (E+63c)
3 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1877   5-0-22  29.625"  1193.0Hz (D+27c)
4 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1877   6-2-20  32.375"  1077.0Hz (C+50c)
5 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1877   7-2-11  34.625"   964.0Hz (Bb+58c)
6 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1877   8-2-07  36.25"    895.0Hz (A+29c)
7 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1877  11-2-04  40.00"    792.0Hz (G+18c)
8 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1877  14-2-08  44.00"    704.0Hz (F+14c)

Photo Gallery

The Abbey - Looking East - source Aiden MacRae Thompson
The Abbey - Looking "East"
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