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HILLMORTON St John the Baptist 6, 12-0-20 in F

Grid Reference 140/536744 Hillmorton Church - Source: David Kelly
Postcode CV21 4PP
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 1000-1030
Practice Wednesday 1930-2100 (2 & 4)


The earliest architectural remains are of the early or mid-13th century, and indicate the existence of a chancel and aisleless nave. Early in the 14th century north and south aisles were added and alterations made to the chancel. The windows in the aisles were mostly rebuilt at later dates, and the wall of the north aisle had buttresses added or rebuilt in 1609. The west tower was built in the 15th century. The date 1655 in its south wall indicates considerable alteration or repair, possibly amounting to a complete rebuilding of the tower. The clearstory is of uncertain date but is certainly a late addition, probably of the second half of the 16th century. The whole church, but especially the chancel, underwent extensive restoration in the late 18th century, when the present pews were put in. In the early 19th century a south porch and west gallery were added.

Once reputed to be a much heavier ring of 5, and at times said to be unringable, these are now an easy going ring of 6. The old five were rehung in a new frame in 1981-2, the canons being removed, and then augmented to six, in 1983. the note of the tenor equates to F-46c.

The five were cast by Thomas Russell in the same year that he cast five bells for Napton on the Hill. This is remarkable has he only cast five complete rings out of an output of 72 bells between 1712 and 1743. Only Hillmorton remain intact as a ring. The old frame, basically seventeenth century, (possibly made in 1655) with a partial rebuild to the south side of the treble pit in the early nineteenth century, had been supported by the insertion of metal girders in about 1930. According to a letter written by William Stote (a noted "tower grabber") and published in The Ringing World of May 17th 1963, the bells were in bad going order by 1934. The new fabricated steel frame was made in July 1982 by first year apprentices at G.E.C. in Rugby to designs prepared by Taylors. The first peal on the bells was after this rehang:

The first peal on the augmented bells was rung in 2992:


The inscriptions of the back 5 bells are given in Tilley and Waters' "Church Bells of Warwickshire" book:

The new treble is inscribed waist:


with the '"normal" founder and date at the shoulder.

The church is a little difficult to find. From Rugby it is couple of miles or so along "Hillmorton Road" (NOT Lower Hillmorton Road!), the A428 to Northampton. Keep on the main road as it turns left, meeting Ashlawn Road and becoming High Street. Look for Watts Lane on your left, between bungalows, signposted Hillmorton Primary School, and follow it to the end, there will be shops on your right. Turn left, and go straight(ish) on at the roundabout you soon meet, now in School Street. Fairly soon you turn right into Brindley Road, look for the signpost to the church, and go through a large brick lined tunnel under the main railway line. Almost immediately you emerge from it you can turn left into the church car park, just south of the church.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1983   5-2-20  29.50"  1142.0Hz (D-49c)
2 Thomas Russell, Wootton         1731   5-2-15  31.00"  1020.0Hz (C-44c)
3 Thomas Russell, Wootton         1731   5-3-19  32.25"   909.0Hz (Bb-44c)
4 Thomas Russell, Wootton         1731   6-3-26  34.50"   858.0Hz (A-44c)
5 Thomas Russell, Wootton         1731   9-1-07  38.00"   764.0Hz (G-45c)
6 Thomas Russell, Wootton         1731  12-0-20  41.625"  680.0Hz (F-46c)

Photo Gallery

hillmorton_bells_small.jpg hillmorton_chancel_small.jpg hillmorton_stairs_small.jpg
The Bells The Church -
Looking West
Mark Sayers trying out the
slightly tricky staircase!

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