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LONG COMPTON SS Peter & Paul 6, 12-0-22 in F

Grid Reference 151/287330 Long Compton Church - Source: Mike Chester
Postcode CV36 5JJ
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday Not Known
Practice Tuesday 1930 - 2100 (2 & 4)
(1, 3 & 5 at Whichford)


One of many very pleasant villages in South Warwickshire, Long Compton has a very well cared for church.

The church consists of a long chancel, with a small south chantry-chapel now the vestry, nave, north aisle, south porch, and west tower. The building dates from the 13th century, the nave being probably early and the west tower later in the same century. Very early in the 14th century the north aisle was added and new windows like those of the aisle were inserted in the south nave-wall. It is quite likely that the chancel was rebuilt and enlarged about the same time, but most of its history in stone has been lost in modern restorations. The south porch is probably of the late 14th century. The clearstory was raised in the first half of the 15th century and a new roof provided. The carved corbels are interesting. Later in the 15th century the tower was heightened by another stage and the tiny chantry or sacristy south of the chancel was built. ¶There have been several modern restorations, the greatest being in 1862–3, when the chancel was very drastically restored, the western gallery removed, and the roofs repaired or reconstructed. Another reparation was done in 1900 and the tower was repaired in 1930. The west end of the church has been redeveloped in recent times to give more facilities to the church

The bells were originally a complete ring of five or six by James (father) and Richard (son) Keene, only the two trebles remaining. The treble is the earliest bell with Richard Keene's initials, (the second having his father's) on it. No other bell has come to light that can be attributed to him before 1656. It can be speculated that the father was merely allowing the son put his name on the one or more of the bells; as did the Rudhalls at Tredington.

The inscriptions, as at c.1910 are given in Tilley and Walters' book, "The Church Bells of Warwickshire"

The reopening of the bells after a gap in ringing of 20 years is reported in The Ringing World of August 8th 1924:

On Saturday afternoon, August 1st, the pretty little village of Long Compton was enlivened by the bells, which had been unringable for over 20 years, but have now been rehung in steel headstocks and quarter-turned, and the 3rd and 5th bells, which were badly cracked, have been recast. The work of rehanging and recasting was carried out by Mr. Thos. Bond, of the Burford foundry, to whom much credit is due for the capable way in which he has done the work.

At the invitation of the Rector (the Rev. W. Manton), the honour of opening the bells was given to Ilmington band of the Four Shires Guild; ’ midst a belfry full of interested onlookers, many who had never seen a bell rung, or heard these bells ring, these veterans raised the bells faultlessly, and without setting, went into changes, ringing several six-scores of Grandsire Doubles. Various touches were rung during the afternoon. Afterwards the ringers were entertained by the Rector, who expressed his great pleasure of hearing his bells ringing in peal for the first time. After tea further ringing was indulged in.

The bells are a nice ring of six, with a 13 cwt. tenor, and bears the following inscriptions :—
Treble.—James Walker, Anthony Rowlins, 1652, R.K.
2nd.—THomas Sheppard, Richard Buller, C.W., T.K., 1652.
3rd.—Henry Bagley made me, 1731. James Tapin, Benefactor. Recast by Bond and Son, Burford.
4th.—-John Fowler and William Taylor, C.W., William and J. Taylor, Founders, Oxford, 1823.
5th.—Anthony Newman. John Walker, Churchwardens. James Tapin, Benefactor, 1731, H.B. Recast by Bond and Son, Burford.
Tenor.—.Tamos Compton. Earl of Northampton, Elizabeth Compton, Countess Northampton. Edward Sheldon. Esq., John Brown Vickor, Benefactors. Henry Bagley made me 1731."

The first peal on the bells was rung in 1925:

They were last retuned and rehung in a new cast iron frame by Taylors in 1956-7, truss 8.3.A.h  and layout 6.1, but reusing the fittings provided by Bond in 1924. The first peal on the rehung ring was not rung until 1970:


The third and fifth were previously Henry Bagley III bells of 1731 at which time the two Keene bells were retained and four bells were cast/recast, one of which, now the fourth, subsequently required recasting in 1823. The tenor is nearer to F (F+31c) than the normally quoted F#. The bells go well and are well worth a visit.

It is also worth noting the pretty Sanctus bell turret over the chancel arch, containing an ancient bell. It is of 16th century manufacture, 13.625" in diameter, by an unknown founder. Revd H Tilley noted on his visit in 1879, revisited by H B Walters in 1907, that the belfry is "dirty and neglected" and that the "third is cracked".

Park on the main road by the church, if you can, or in one of the side streets nearby. There are yellow lines around the church and for a little way either side of it/  You will then walk through the thatched Lych Gate that is unusual in that is has an upstairs room as part of it. The tower entrance is on the south side of the church, or via the new rooms that have been built at the west end of trhe church in recent years.

Note that Little Compton, almost next door, is in the county of Warwickshire but NOT in the Diocese of Coventry.

Details of the Bells

1 James & Richard Keene, Woodstock  1652   5-0-22  29.00"   1195.0Hz (D+30c)
2 James & Richard Keene, Woodstock  1652   5-3-25  31.75"   1066.0Hz (C+32c)
3 Thomas Bond, Burford              1924   5-2-24  32.125"   947.0Hz (Bb+27c)
4 W & J Taylor, Oxford              1823   6-3-22  34.75"    895.0Hz (A+29c)
5 Thomas Bond, Burford              1924   7-2-18  36.875"   796.0Hz (G+26c)
6 Henry Bagley III, Chacombe        1731  12-0-22  41.375"   711.0Hz (F+31c)

Tilley & Walters speculate that the trebles were cast by Richard and James Keene in partnership.

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source: Mike Chester The Church - Looking West. Source: Mike Chester compton_gateway_small
The Church - Looking East The Church - Looking West  The Gateway
The Chancel. Source: Mike Chester Plan of the Church. Source: British History Online The Ringing Chamber. Source: Mike Chester
The Chancel Plan of the Church The Ringing Chamber
The Treble. Source: Mike Chester The Second. Source: Mike Chester The Third. Source: Mike Chester
The Treble The Second The Third
The Fourth. Source: Mike Chester The Fifth. Source: Mike Chester The Tenor. Source: Mike Chester
The Fourth The Fifth  The Tenor 

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