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SHIPSTON ON STOUR St Edmund 6, 9-2-1 in G

Grid Reference 151/260406 Shipston Church - Source: Mike Chester
Postcode CV36 4AP
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday Not Known
Practice Saturday 1000-1100 (Alt with Honington)


The church is set on the main road through this small market town. It retains only the tower of its medieval structure, the rest of the church having been entirely rebuilt in the style of the 14th century by George Edmund Street in his 1855 restoration.

The church, which stands on the east side of the Stratford road, between it and the River Stour, hemmed in  by buildings. It consists of a chancel 27½ ft. by 19 ft., a north chapel 15½ ft. square, a vestry to the north of this 12 ft. by 9½ ft., south chapel 15½ ft. by 12½ ft., nave 71 ft. long and of similar width to the chancel, north aisle 15½ ft. wide, south aisle 17 ft. wide, south porch and a western tower 9½ ft. by 8¾ ft.

Beyond the tower there are now no old remains. From notes made by Prattinton in 1812 the former church appears to have been of early date, consisting of a chancel and chapel and a nave separated from a north aisle by a round-arched arcade. The font, however, was of 1707. Habington mentions two raised tombs in the churchyard to John White, who died in 1632, and Thomas White his son, who died in 1631. The present chancel has an east window of five lights with a traceried head and a single light on the south. The sedile in the same wall has a segmental head, while on the north side is a flat pointed arch. On either side of the chancel are arches opening to the chapels, and that opening to the nave is of one order. The nave has arcades on both sides of five bays, and each of the chapels has a western cross arch and is lighted by a four-light traceried east window

Richard Keene of Woodstock recast the five existing bells into a ring of 6 in October 1695, tenor 9-2-5. The tenor needed recasting soon afterwards. In 1700 on May 1st the churchwardens presented the ringers and their accomplices to the Consistery Court at Worcester for ringing without permission and "..for breaking the sixth a very unreasonable time in the night". Another bell was recast in 1736 by Abraham Rudhall II of Gloucester. The whole ring was recast by Matthew Bagley III in 1754. He also recast the third bell in 1774. The inscriptions of the old ring are given in H. B. Walters's book, "The Church Bells of Worcestershire":

He gives images of the inscriptions of two of the bells:

(Click to enlarge)

The bells were rehung in a new cast iron "lowside" frame in 1979; Truss 8.3.A.h, layout 6.1. When at the foundry it was found necessary to recast more bells than originally thought and all but the tenor were eventually melted down. The initial intention was that the poor toned third and the cracked fourth should alone be recast, but it was found that the fifth was cracked in the crown and that the two trebles' crowns were too thin to stand the drilling that would be necessary for the new headstocks. Previously they hung in a Bond girder frame of 1901, working in conjunction with a firm called Parker Ltd, who installed the frame at a cost of £25. Bond charged £69/10/- for quarter turning the bells and providing them with new fittings. The tenor is G+13c and was eighth turned by Taylors in 1979.  

On february 16th 1979 The Ringing World published an article saying. "The news from St. Edmund’s, Shipston-on-Stour, is that the bells will not be rung again in the near future. The tower has been inspected and it was thought that any repairs would not be satisfactory if the bells were rung again. There is some movement of the frame when the bells are rung. A visit from John Taylor & Co. (Bellfounders) took place at the end of August. They will make a full report in the near future. They did indicate, however, that work would probably include a new frame and fittings, with the possibility of one bell being recast. The band is practising at Honington at present." Things moved apace and a picture of the removal of the tenor bell from the church was published in edition of September 21st 1979:

The following edition noted,"The six bells of St. Edmund, Sbipston-on-Stour, Warwicks, were removed from the tower on 18th July by local workmen and have been taken to John Taylor & Co., Loughborough, where three of the bells will be recast, being cracked. A major fund-raising scheme is in progress to cover repairs to the tower amounting to £13,000 and £11,000 for the rehanging of the bells. They will be ready by November and should be ringing for Christmas, subject to the completion of the repairs to the tower."

Not surprisingly, only 9 peals have been rung here, the last being in two being in May 2017 and May 2018. The previous peal was rung in November 2007 to celebrate the Coventry Guild's centenary. Prior to that peal, the previous peal had been in 1976 and therefore the 2007 peal was the first peal on the new ring. Up to  to this point 5 peals had been rung between 1907 and 1931. The details of the first peal on the bells are:

There is a car park up the road virtually opposite the tower and also a free car park not far past the church on Mill Street, by the river. Entry to the tower is through the church and behind the organ.

This large village was transferred to Warwickshire from Worcestershire in 1931.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co,(Bellfounders) Loughborough  1979  4-1-06  26.875"  1319.0Hz (E+1c)
2 John Taylor & Co,(Bellfounders) Loughborough  1979  4-1-18  28.125"  1185.0Hz (D+15c)
3 John Taylor & Co,(Bellfounders) Loughborough  1979  4-2-11  28.875"  1053.0Hz (C+11c)
4 John Taylor & Co,(Bellfounders) Loughborough  1979  5-3-00  31.00"    990.0Hz (B+13c)
5 John Taylor & Co,(Bellfounders) Loughborough  1979  7-2-18  34.375"   891.0Hz (A+22c)
6 Matthew Bagley III, Chacombe                  1754  9-2-01  38.50"    790.0Hz (G+13c)

Photo Gallery

shipston2_small The Sanctuary. Source: Mike Chester
The Nave The Sanctuary
The Church - Looking West. Source: Mike Chester The Ringing Chamber. Source: Mike Chester
The Church - Looking West The Ringing Chamber

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