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BIRMINGHAM, Bishop Latimer's Church 8, 13-3-22 in F

Grid Reference 139/041887 Bishop Latimer's Church - Source: Church Website
Postcode B33 8PB
Peals Felstead Database
Date Lost 1971/2


The foundation stone of this large church, inscribed “To the Glory of God and in memory of Hugh Latimer Bishop of Worcester 1535-1539, Martyr 1555” was laid on 4 April 1903, and the building was dedicated the following July. Taylors supplied one ringing bell, 6-3-23 in Db, that was intended to be the 4th of a 25cwt ring of 10.

Some half a century later this became the 5th of a ring of 8 cast in 1958 from the metal of the ring at St John's Deritend (q.v.). The following appeared in The Ringing World of October 27th 1950:

In 1940, St. John’s Church, Deritend, Birmingham, was demolished in a street-widening scheme and the old ring of eight was given to Bishop Latimer Memorial Church.
A public meeting in May unanimously decided to make every effort to have the bells recast and rehung as a war memorial. The cost will be about £1.500, and towards this just under £500 is in hand.
These bells were originally cast in 1776 by Robert Wells, of the Aldbourne, Wilts, youndry. Only one other octave was cast by this foundry at Newbury, Berks. The contract the new bells has been placed with John Taylor and Co.. Loughborough.
The vicar (the Rev. Cecil H. Smith. The Vicarage, Handsworth New Road, Birmingham 18) appeals for the generous support of ringers. His parish is not a rich one and he adds, ‘ If we are ever to hear bells ringing out .from our church, we have to ask, and receive, financial help outside the parish.’"

Things took some time to come to fruition. This appeared in the Belfry Gossip section of The Ringing World of Febuary 8th 1957, "There is encouraging news for Birmingham ringers. The old bells from Deritend are to be recast and hung in Bishop Latimer’s tower shortly."

The following appeared in The Ringing World of May 16th 1958:

The brothers Fcarn, who learnt to ring on the eight bells at St. John's Church, Deritend, Birmingham, which was demolished about ten years ago, witnessed the breaking up of two of these bells at the Loughborough Bell Foundry on April 30th and saw the metal run to make the new seventh and tenor of the new ring of eight for the Bishop Latimer Memorial Church. Birmingham. With them was Mr. Ralph Edwards.
Deritend bells were a complete ring of eight, cast in 1776 by Robert Wells, of Aldbourne, Wiltshire. Their inscriptions are unusual; for instance, the fourth has: ‘ May the town of Birm" be ever held in esteem for its manufact.’ ; the sixth: ‘ Wisdom to the council of the state and success to the British fleet ’ ; the seventh: ‘ May Great Britain ever stand unrivalled in her commerce.' Complete rings of eight from this foundry must be very rare - even the complimentary inscription on the fourth failed to bring Robert Wells any further business in Birmingham!"

Sbsequently, this appeared in the edition of March 20th 1959:

"The recast bells of Bishop Latimer Church, Birmingham, will ring out on Easter Day. Originally an eight from Robert Wells, of Albourne, they have been recast into seven bells, and another bell in the tower has been retuned and retained as the fifth of the new ring. The new tenor is 14 cwt. 8 lb". We are later advised  in The Ringing World that the bells were to be dedicated by The Bishop of Aston on April 20th that year.  The dedication itself was reported in the editon of May 1st 1959:

Bishop Latimer,
Birmingham The eight bells from the demolished Church of St. John, Deritend, have been recast by Messrs. John Taylor and Co., of Loughborough, into seven new ones, and the existing bell in the tower of Bishop Latimer's Church has been retuned to form a very pleasant octave. with a tenor of a little over 14 cwt. in F sharp. ,
The bells hang in a massive square tower rising to a height of 100 feet, and the ringing room is light and spacious. The installation of the bells was a memorial to those of the parish who died during the last war, and the dedication took place on April 20th by the Bishop of Aston before a crowded congregation.
From a ringer’s view the Bishop’s address was not very helpful, displaying a lack of understanding of present day ringing practice, and of the difficulties of maintaining a band of ringers, his opinion being that bells should not be rung at all during Advent or Lent. Let us hope that no such restraining notions are allowed to hold sway at Bishop Latimer’s! The bells are good, and if rung well and regularly will give pleasure to many of the parishioners. If they are too noisy for those living near, the annoyance should be minimised by blocking the louvres, not by the curtailment of ringing: in fact, a little less noise outside the tower and a little more clarity inside would be an improvement in quite a number of towers.
Immediately after the prayer of dedication, the bells were rung in rounds by the following members of the St. Martin’s Guild : H. H. Fearn 1, E. C. Shepherd 2, ,T. Pinfold 3, B. D. A. Woolley 4, A. Ager 5, J. A. Anderson 6, N. J. Goodman 7, G. E. Fearn 8.
Owing to the lateness of the hour, and to give the opportunity of ringing to all visiting ringers, the ‘ opening touch ’ after the service was restricted to a course of London Surprise Major by the same ringers, after which several touches in various methods were rung by other bands.
The bellfounders were represented by Messrs. P. L. Taylor, J. Oldham and J. P. Fidler."

The first peal on the bells was rung in Feburary 1960:

Though six peals were rung here the architect advised that the bells were not to be rung by 1965. In 1971/2 they were transferred to Perry Bar. Prior to 2011 the church was still in use, but the services were held mostly in the church hall, jointly with the URC.  The cost of maintaining the listed church building proved too much for the congregation of around 50 and in 2011 the building was leased to The Seventh Day Adventist Church at a peppercorn rent, reflecting the cost to them of upgrading the building. The services in the church hall have continued, the hall becoming the designated parish centre of worship.

There now only bell installed after the other bells were removed. It is said to have come from the church of St. Chrysostom which was consecrated in 1889 – probably the date of the bell – and closed in 1972. This is a small bell (16” diameter in E) with a peg argent, hung for swing chiming in a simple framework erected among the foundation girders of the former bellframe. In addition there is a further bell which is stored at the base of the tower. It has a clapper, but no other fittings remain. It is said to have come from All Saints, Hockley on the closure of that church in 1973. It was housed in one of the turrets there. It is by James Barwell, 1875, 24” in diameter and 3cwt in weight.

(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  1958   4-0-16  25.625"  1441.5Hz (F+54c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1958   4-0-26  26.375"  1358.0Hz (E+51c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1958   4-2-07  28.25"   1208.0Hz (D+48c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1958   5-0-03  29.625"  1071.0Hz (C+40c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1904   6-0-14  31.375"   953.0Hz (Bb+38c)
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1958   7-1-16  34.00"    898.5Hz (A+36c)
7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1958  10-0-12  38.00"    799.0Hz (G+33c)
8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1958  13-3-22  42.375"   710.0Hz (F+28c)

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