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Rowley Regis* St Giles 8, 10-1-0 in G#

Grid Reference 139/970874 Rowley Regis Church - Source:
Postcode B65 9EP
Recording None Available
Affiliations St Martin's Guild &
Worcs & Districts Assoc
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0945-1015 (2nd and last) 1800-1830 (Others)
Practice Monday 1945-2100


This church is historically in Staffordshire, but was transferred to Worcestershire in 1844. It has also moved Dioceses, as it was originally in the Worcester Diocese but is now in the Birmingham Diocese.

There has been a church here since late in the 12th century, but no trace of this is found in the present building. The church, apart from the tower was demolished and a new one built in 1840/1. The tower was rebuilt in 1858. In 1552 there were "iiij belles" here. Matthew and Henry Bagley seem to have provided a 12cwt ring of 5 in 1684. The Whitechapel foundry recast the treble in 1804 and the tenor in 1848. The new tenor weighed 12-2-0. The tenor was again recast in 1881 by Blews and three trebles were added and the ring rehung in 1888 by Barwell. The dedication was reported in Bell News:

(Click to enlarge)


The first peal on the bells was rung in 1887:

(The date for the peal as November 4th 1887 - though the Old Hill pealbook stated November 7th.)

The then record peal of Grandsire Major was rung here shortly afterwards.  This is still the record length in the method - details are:

Birmingham and District Amalgamated Society
Rowley Regis, Staffordshire, St Giles
On Monday 25 February 1889, in 6 hours and 5 minutes (13)
10,272 Grandsire Major
Composed by John Carter
1 John Carter (C)
2 James Jones
3 Thomas Horton
4 William Brooks
5 Charles Carmell
6 Frank H James
7 Albert Hackley
8 John T Perry

The church was unsafe by 1894, due to minin subsidence and closed.  It was replaced by a new building in 1904/5, but this was destroyed in an arson attack in June 1913.

However, this was published in Bell News on June 11th 1904:

"Rowley Regis (Staffordshire). St. Giles. Eight bells. The back five by Mears (date not given); the rest by Harwell, 1887. Tenor 12 cwt. Timber frame. Bells go well. Clocking permitted. Rehung by Barwell, 1857. Ropes good. Ringers all learners. Sunday ringing: 10.30 to I I , and 6 to 6.30. Practice: Wednesday, 8, Saturday, 7."

Due to the outbreak of war the church remained in a ruinous state for 10 years and was not replaced until 1923. This new church was a completely new building.  J E Groves of Birmingham hung the bells in a new frame when the church was rebuilt after the fire. 

The reopening is reported in The Ringing World of October 26th 1923:

It, was a great day for Rowley Regis, the ' Black Country ’ parish, near Birmingham, on Saturday, Sept. 29th. the occasion being the completion and opening of the new church, together with the tower, clock and bells.

The church was burnt down in June, 1913, but the tower and bells escaped. The tower, however, was afterwards found to be unsafe, and was taken down. So Rowley was without a church, until the present Vicar. Lieut.-Col. tile Rev. F. J. Chevcrton was appointed to the living about two years ago. He at once set to work with a committee to rebuild the church at the cost of over £14,000 and this great undertaking has now been completed.

The bells, a ring of eight, with the tenor about 13 cwt. have been installed by Mr. J. E. Groves. Modern fittings, cast-iron headstoeks, dust-proof ball bearings, have been provided, and the bells hung in a frame of steel H sections, on rolled steel joists. The steel joists were built in the tower walls during the progress of the building and are fixed some three feet above a 7in. concrete floor. The result is a most excellent and up-to-date job. and no bells could possibly go better. This work has been carried out without taking the bells away from the church.

Not half the people who assembled for the dedication could bp accommodated in the church the ceremony being performed by the Bishop of Birmingham. On the Sunday evening the crowd was even greater. The collections on both days amounted to £320 but in spite of this excellent addition to the funds much more is still needed, and contributions may be sent to the Vicar or to Mr Albert Parsons. Old Hill, Staffs.

The first, church at Rowley-Regis, dedicated to St. Giles, was erected in the reign of King John, between A.D. 1199 and 1216. In 1840 a much larger edifice was erected in its stead, but the tower remained. Tho tower was eventually rebuilt in 1858. The church was rebuilt in 1904, but the new tower remained until the fire, caused by political incendiaries, in 1913."

The 5th was recast by Gillett and Johnson in 1952 after cracking in the previous year. The bells received major attention in 1984, involving the remodelling of the ring, with the old fourth and sixth being incorporated as the sixth and seventh. A second-hand bell (by Taylor, 1948) was acquired from the redundant church of St. Mary Magdalene, Worcester, as a new tenor. The remaining bells were recast.

This appeared in The Ringing World of March 4th to show that work to remodel the ring had started:

The following then appeared in March 30 1984 edition showing that the project had had a hitch.

"Weight loss at Rowley Regis
The bells from St. Giles, Rowley Regis have now been delivered to John Taylor & Co. at Loughborough and have been found much lighter than previously recorded. The tenor reputed to be 13 jcwt was in fact only 11 -0-8 and in total the ring was approximately 9 cwt lighter than previously recorded.
The weight loss is of more than academic interest since the Restoration Fund now has to find an extra £1,000 to make up the anticipated credit for metal....."

The project did succeed and the bells were re-dedicated on September 1st 1984. The first peal on the new ring followed quickly afterwards:


(Most of the above bell information is quoted directly (with permission) from the research notes of Chris Pickford)

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1984   3-0-20  23.50"   1622.0Hz (G#-41c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1984   3-1-10  24.125"  1524.0Hz (Fx-49c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1984   3-1-06  24.875"  1352.5Hz (E#-56c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1984   3-2-06  26.00"   1222.0Hz (D#-32c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1984   4-0-26  28.125"  1084.0Hz (C#-39c)
6 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon       1952   5-1-16  30.50"   1016.0Hz (B#-51c)
7 Henry Bagley II, Chacombe         1684   7-1-08  34.625"   915.0Hz (A#-3c)
8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough    1948  10-1-00  38.00"    814.0Hz (G#-35c)

Details of the Bells in 1984

1 James Barwell, Birmingham         1887   4-0-06  26.00"
2 James Barwell, Birmingham         1887   4-0-20  27.00"
3 James Barwell, Birmingham         1887   
4-3-14  29.00" 
4 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon       1952   5-2-18  32.00"
5 Henry Bagley II, Chacombe         1684   5-1-10  33.00"
6 Henry Bagley II, Chacombe         1684   7-1-04  35.00"
7 Matthew Bagley, Chamcombe         1684   8-1-26  38.00"
8 William Blews & Sons, Birmingham  1881  11-0-08  41.00"

Photo Gallery

The Church After the Fire: Source:
The Church Following
the Fire in 1913
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