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LAPWORTH St Mary the Virgin 6, 10-1-2 in G

Grid Reference 139/163711 Lapworth Church - Source: David Kelly
Postcode B94 5NX
Affiliation St Martin's Guild
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 1025-100
Practice Thursday 2000-2100


Be careful with your map reading when looking for the church; it in not in the main part of the village. It is situated a good mile to the north, towards Hockley Heath, past the Cricket Club and a well known wood yard that has wood stacked on the verge of the road. There is a signpost off the B4439 to the church. Coming from Hockley Heath it is off to the right just after the last turn left to Packwood, Knowle being signposted to the left.

The church is a short and broad building consisting of a chancel, north chapel, north and south aisles, south porch, a small western parvise, and a north tower, once detached but now connected up with a vestibule, and with a spire. The nave dates from the early 12th century, when it had no aisles; one window survives over the north arcade. Early in the 13th century a north aisle was added, with an arcade of four bays, inserted in the earlier wall a bay at a time. The south aisle was added about the middle of the century. The chancel was rebuilt and the north chapel added probably at much the same time but their windows were enlarged subsequently. The tower, detached from the church, was built at the end of the 14th century to the north of the east end of the north aisle. Probably the boundary and roadway west of the churchyard were more or less as now and therefore there was no room for the usual west tower. The spire was probably later. The whole building was remodelled in the 15th century; the clearstory was raised above the nave, and the aisle walls, except for parts of the south, were rebuilt. The 13th-century chancel arch was reconstructed to make it as wide as possible, as well as higher, the 13th-century material being re-used. The north arcade also shows signs of a later rebuilding. The west parvise or muniment room, also added in the 15th century, is a rare feature and may indicate that the church then possessed some highly esteemed sacred relic which could be visited by pilgrims. There was just room for it in this position, but its lower story had to be arched for processional purposes. The chancel was repaired in 1860, when the east window, which had been blocked, was renewed. Other restorations were carried out in 1872–3 and the top of the spire was rebuilt in 1884. The vestibule leading to the tower is modern but it is probable that there was some sort of corridor preceding it.

There is a room on the side of the church under which you can walk to find the tower door and short almost vertical ladder to get to the ringing room. 

The frame and fittings are by Taylors 1963, at which time the treble and tenor (previously 11-0-11) were recast and a new treble added to make the ring up to six. The recast bells had been originally cast by William Mears of Whitechapel in 1784. The third was cast by an interant founder, Bryan Eldridge who hailed from Chertsey. He cast a number of bells for churches in the county between 1656 and 1658. The fourth is likely to have been cast by Robert le Belyetere. the following appeared in The Ringing World of April 19th 1963, "The five bells at Lapworth, Warwickshire, have been rehung and a treble added. The bells are to be dedicated on Sunday, April 28th, at 6 p.m. Evensong. There will be ringing after the service." The first peal on the bells was rung shortly afterwards:

Prior to the 1963 restoration the then five bells were hung in an old wooden frame of "hollow square" design with four pits around the walls, with the treble hung in the middle of the frame, swinging diagonally north-west to south east, with fittings dating from an c.1897 restoration by Charles Carr of Smethwick. The new bells were cast without canons, but the old ones retain their canons. The three old bells are "listed" and have been quarter turned.

The inscriptions of the then 5 bells were given in Tilley and Walters' book "Church Bells of Warwickshire" in 1910:

The new treble is inscribed on the waist

NOEL BAMFORD         1963

Both recast bells have their old incscriptions and the date and Taylors mark and also:

* * *
(rest same as treble)


There is some parking on the road by the church.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1963   3-3-20  26.00"   1305.0Hz (E-18c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1963   4-0-10  27.50"   1163.0Hz (D-17c)
3 Bryan Eldridge II, Coventry      1656   5-0-02  30.00"   1036.0Hz (C-17c)
4 Worcester foundry,              c1440   6-1-15  32.25"    978.0Hz (B-17c)
5 Hugh Watts I, Leicester          1600   7-2-06  35.00"    871.0Hz (A-18c)
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1963  10-1-02  38.625"   777.0Hz (G-17c)

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson The Church - Looking West. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson lapworth2.jpg
The Church - Looking East The Church - Looking West The Priest's Room
One staircase  to go up
and another to come down!

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