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RADFORD SEMELE St Nicholas 6, 9-3-19 in F#

Grid Reference 151/343648 Radford Semele Church - Source M Chester
Postcode CV31 1FH
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 1000-1030
Practice Monday 1945-2100


In a nice setting just outside Leamington Spa, but detatched from it, this church, which is Grade II Listed, was probably built in the early 12th century and enlarged in the 14th century, at which point the tower was built. Apart from the tower and the south wall of the nave, it was largely rebuilt in 1889.

Sadly it was gutted by fire on the morning of Palm Sunday, 16th March, 2008. Only the stone walls were left standing. It seems that the fire was arson, a cremation stone being found inside the building when the clear up was being carried out. Work on the rebuild started at Easter 2012 and the church re-opened in May 2013. Most agree that the restoration has been a great success. A modern church has been created inside the old walls; one that is filled with natural light. It has been turned through 90 degrees liturgically.

The bells were an awkward ring of 4 until 1998 when they were rehung and augmented. The bells were tuned, the tenor previously being noticeably flat in relation to the other three bells. The second bell, T Mears 1818, was recast at the same time. The second of the former ring of three at Atherstone on Stour was incorporated into the ring,becoming the second of the ring of 6. The Taylor bells were cast with flat tops, the others retain their canons. Bells 1, 2, 5 and 6 have been one-eighth turned, bells 3 and 4 have not been turned.

The inscriptions of the ring of four are recorded in Tilley and Walter's book, "The Church Bells of Warwickshire", as it the Atherstone on Stour bell

A modern 8-bell frame was purchased from a church in Cheylesmore, Coventry, where it had been installed but never filled with bells. The framesides required to produce a 6-bell frame were installed here and the surplus sold to Studley for their augmentation project. However, they were subsequently sold on to Beoley in Worcsestershire as it was decided that installing new framesides made Studley's project easier. The project was reported in The Ringing world of January 15th 1999:

The first peal on the bells was rung later that same year:


The old frame (dated 1615, strengthened by William Beasley when he rehung the four in 1846/7) was retained in situ, but the transverse pit was removed. This frame was destroyed in the fire.

After the fire the bells were removed to Taylors for safety and they put back into the tower in April 2013. The wooden fittings were burnt away and were replaced and the other fittings refurbished as necessary. The frame was able to be re-used, as were the headstocks - with replacement bearings.

There are a few parking places in front of the church and at the tower end. Enter via the south door and up to the ringing room from the base of the tower.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1998  4-0-16  26.875"  1269.0Hz (D#+34c)
2 John of Gloucester              c1350  4-0-12  28.375"  1131.0Hz (C#+34c)
3 Hugh Watts II, Leicester         1636  5-3-26  31.25"   1010.0Hz (B+39c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1998  6-2-14  32.50"    953.0Hz (A#+38c)
5 Henry Bagley I, Chacombe         1641  7-3-21  36.25"    846.0Hz (G#+32c)
6 Hugh Watts II, Leicester         1636  9-3-19  38.75"    757.0Hz (F#+39c)

Photo Gallery

The Fire

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The Church on Fire Looking Down
the Church
The Report of the Fire in The
Ringing World of 28/03/08  
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A firefighter examines
the damage in the nave.
The Remains of the Font  
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The Bells in the Tower The Damaged East End The View From the South
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The Bells in the Tower  Bell Stored at Taylors  Two of the Bells at Taylors 

The Restoration of the Bells

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The Refurbished Headstocks  A Wheel Under Contruction The Taylor Bells
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Resin Pads in Place on the Bells With Canons  

The Restored Church

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The North Side of the Church
showing much new stonework
The New Window on theNorth Side
of the Church, Bringing in Much
Needed Light Into the Building
The New
Ringing chamber
radford_east_small radford_west_small Church Window 
The East and North
Sides of the Church
Looking West One of the new windows
in the church. 

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