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NUNEATON St Nicolas 8, 14-1-5 in E

Grid Reference 140/366916 Nuneaton Church - Source M Chester
Postcode CV11 4AT
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday None
Practice None
Other Information Church Website


The known origins of St. Nicolas Church go back to the 12th Century. By 1118 Nuneaton, or Etone as it was then called, had fallen to one of Henry I’s warrior-knights, Robert Beaumont. The earliest visual evidence of the medieval church is to be found in the chapel on the south-east side where there is a stone seat or sedile (pictured left) and a priests’ wash basin or piscina  On the north-east side of the 15th century church was another chapel, that of St Katherine. Its space is now filled by the organ. cBy this time the main body of the church had recently undergone considerable renovation. The old steeply pitched roof had been replaced by one of a late 15th Century style with magnificent beams,  finely carved roof bosses and the popular medieval emblem of the Five Wounds of Christ, all of which have survived to the present day. Use of the Tudor Rose would mean this construction was after 1485. At the same time sixteen clerestory windows have given the Church a light and airy appearance.  In the fifteenth century King Henry V had appropriated the St. Nicolas living to the Crown, where it still remains.  The Elizabethan Protestant settlement meant the obliteration of two large medieval wall paintings (re-discovered but then lost again in the 19th Century) and the replacement of the stone altar by a beautifully carved communion table which still survives.

As Nuneaton’s population grew in the 18th Century and it became a centre for ribbon weaving, galleries were constructed on the north and south sides in 1768 and 1790 respectively to accommodate additional worshippers. Canon Savage, Vicar 1845-71 a oversaw the transformation of the church building – the east wall of the church was taken down and the chancel lengthened. The three-decker pulpit was removed. In the 1920s the Leeke Chapel, neglected for many years was thoroughly restored.  (From the church website)

The entrance up to a pleasant ring of bells is on the South side of the tower. These were a 6 by Rudhall, 1703 with the tenor recast in 1725 and the (then) second in 1809 In 1873 the tenor was again recast, as were the (now) 3rd and 5th, as well as the addition of the two trebles. The cost of the 5 new bells was £301 10s. Tilley and Walters note that the two tenors were again rehung by Warners in c.1892. It is noted also that the previous tenor was cracked on 3rd November 1872 when being rung for Sunday service. The cause is said to be that the clapper had been repaired previously by the local blacksmith, but made too heavy for the bell.

The first peal on the bells was rung on 19th April 1873 and reported in the magazine "Church Bells" in the edition of May 3rd:


An article about the church and its bells appeared in Bell News on January 30th 1897:

The Bell News reported in their edition of Febuary 6th 1904:

Nuneaton (Warwickshire). St. Nicholas. Midland Counties Association. Eight bells. 3rd by Rudhall 1703 ; 4th by Bryant 1809; 6th, 1703, no founder stated; the rest by Warner 1873. Tenor 14 cwt., diameter 3 ft. 8 in. Timber frame. Bells do not go very well, but are pealable. Repairs by Warner 1894. Front six require rehanging. Ropes good, Methods : Grandsire, Stedman, Plain and Treble Bob. Sunday ringing : 10 to 10.45, 5.30106.30. Practice: Thursday, 7.30"

They indeed did have work done on them. They are a curious installation - part of the frame is by John Over of Rugby 1809, but the central section (four parallel pits) was removed when Taylors installed four "H" frame pits in 1908. Fittings are mainly by Warner 1873, but ball bearings were fitted by Taylors in 1955.

The inscriptions are given in Tilley and Walters' book, "The Church Bells of Warwickshire":

It is worth mentioning the gravestone in the churchyard - quite easy to find- to David Wheway, a ringer who died in 1828. It has an interesting verse containing ringing analogies.

This church used to have many peals rung on its bells but house building nearby means that permission to ring peals has not normally been given for some years

A very obvious church on the main road through the town by a roundabout. Coming from the Coventry side on the A444 you will turn right at a roundabout (ignore the Through Routes to the left sign) and see it. From the A5 side on the A444 you will be directed past the church. There is a Pay and Display car park on the North side of the church.  There is also a church carpark to the east of the church on church street - ensure that you do not get locked in, however!

Details of the Bells

1 John Warner, London            1873   5cwt    28.50"  1314.0Hz (E-6c)
2 John Warner, London            1873   5½cwt   30.00"  1221.0Hz (D#-33c)
3 Abraham Rudhall I, Gloucester  1703   5¾cwt   31.50"  1100.0Hz (C#-14c)
4 John Briant, Hertford          1809   7cwt    34.00"   983.0Hz (B-8c)
5 John Warner, London            1873   8½cwt   36.00"   868.5Hz (A-23c)
6 Abraham Rudhall, Gloucester    1703   9½cwt   37.50"   816.5Hz (G#-30c)
7 John Warner, London            1873  11cwt    40.00"   723.0Hz (F#-40c)
8 John Warner, London            1873  14-1-15  44.50"   646.5Hz (E-34c)

Details of the Recast Bells

Bells recast by Warners - numbers refer to position in ring of 6.
3 Abraham Rudhall I              1703   9-3-24
4 Abraham Rudhall I              1703  11-3-24
6 Unknown                        1725  15-3-15

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source Aidan MacRae Thomson The Church - Looking West. Source Aidan MacRae Thomson
The Church - Looking East  The Church - Looking West 
nuneaton_tenor_small nuneaton_2nd_small
The Tenor The Second
nuneaton_peal_small nuneaton_peal2_small
The First Peal of
Lincolnshire in the
Tower Pealbook
The First Peal of
Stratford in the
Tower Pealbook

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