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NORTHFIELD* St Lawrence 10, 14-1-3 in F# (GF)

Grid Reference 139/025793 Northfield Church - Source: Mike Chester
Postcode B31 2JA
Affiliation St Martin's Guild
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0910-0945
Practice Friday 2000-2100


This church is historically in Worcesterhire, but was "absorbed" into Birmingham in 1911. It became part of the West Midlands in 1974, as did many other towers in Warwickshire. The building was started in 1086 and there are many parts of the building that are several hundreds of years old for the interested to find. The church consists of a chancel 35½ ft. by 20½ ft., nave 51½ ft. by 23 ft., north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower 15½ ft. by 15ft. These measurements are all internal. The earliest part of the existing building is the north doorway, of about 1170, which with two carved heads, inserted in the south face of the tower, formed part of a 12th-century church.

Of the building which succeeded this there are ample remains in the complete 13th-century chancel, the south aisle added at the end of that century and the lower stage of the tower. In the 15th century the upper portion of the tower was rebuilt and at some later date the south arcade of the nave, perhaps owing to the failure of the walls. The north aisle with its arcade is a relatively modern addition.

This ring of 10 was completed in 1999 when two trebles were provided, the fittings of the 8 overhauled and a new frame provided. The new frame was positioned in the old ringing room and the ring converted to a ground floor one in order to leave the previous, listed, frame in situ.

There had been 3 bells here in 1552 and work was carried out several times on the bells in the 17th century, including recasting and rehanging in 1637. Who did this latter work and how many bells were involved is not known. It can be speculated that the work was entrusted to Thomas Hancox II of Walsall as the accounts of the time state that the bells were taken to Walsall. Chris Pickford suggests that there might well have been a ring of 5 cast as the 1637 frame, which is still in the tower, was built for this number. Certainly there were 5 bells in the tower in 1703.

Josepth Smith of Edgbaston recast these bells into 6 in 1730, the scrapping weight of the tenor being 11-3-4 and in the key of F#. These remained in the tower for nearly 200 years. Work was carried out on the bells in 1829. The bells were rehung in the old frame with new fittings by William Blews & Sons in 1875 at a cost of £50. At that time, the bells were rearranged in the frame to give a clockwise rope circle – having been anti-clockwise prior to this date.

In 1881 a quotation was obtained from Taylors for the addition of a treble and tenor (of about 17cwt) and the recasting of the fourth in order to augment to 8. This was never taken up by the church. Warners rehung the bells again in 1901/2.  The first peal on the bells was rung in 1906, the report giving the then inscriptons:


 In 1923 a completely new ring was provided by Taylors and the frame adapted by William Sapcote & Son. The previous inscriptions were reproduced in fascimile. The need for a faculty to recast the bells was overlooked and a retrospective one had to be obtained after the bells had been re-dedicated!n  The first peal on this ring was rung in 1925:


The project to create the ring of 10 was reported in The Ringing World of november 19th 1999:

Click to enlarge)

The first peal on the 10, Plain bob Royal, was rung on 26th February 2000.

Sound control was installed in the tower in 2007.

(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  1999   3-1-18  22.875"  1851.0Hz (A#-13c)
 2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1999   3-1-22  24.00"   1653.0Hz (G#-9c)
 3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   3-2-14  25.125"  1473.0Hz (F#-8c)
 4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   3-2-16  25.375"  1387.0Hz (Ex-12c)
 5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   4-0-18  27.50"   1237.0Hz (D#-10c)
 6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   5-0-02  29.375"  1103.0Hz (C#-9c)
 7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   6-0-06  31.75"    984.0Hz (B-7c)
 8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   7-1-00  33.875"   926.0Hz (A#-12c)
 9 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923   9-1-17  37.375"   826.0Hz (G#-10c)
10 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1923  14-1-13  42.50"    734.5Hz (F#-13c)

Details of the Bells in 1923

1 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston          1730   4-3-02  28.50"   1316.0Hz (D#+97c)
2 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston          1730   4-3-22  29.75"   1155.0Hz (C#+71c)
3 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston          1730   5-0-27  31.00"   1022.0Hz (B+59c)
4 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston          1730   6-0-26  32.00"    952.0Hz (A#+36c)
5 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston          1730   8-1-26  35.50"    857.0Hz (G#+54c)
6 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston          1730  11-3-04  40.75"    759.0Hz (F#+44c)
(N.B. These are scrapping weights)

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source: Mike Chester The Sanctuary. Source: Mike Chester
The Church - Looking East   The Sanctuary
The Church - Looking West. Source: Mike Chester noerthfield2.jpg
The Church - Looking West The 1923 ring at Taylors 

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