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STONELEIGH St Mary the Virgin 6, 10-2-14 in G

Grid Reference 140/330726 Stoneleigh Church - Source: Mapio
Postcode CV8 3DN
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 1015-1100 (exc 1st)
Practice Thursday 1930-2100


A very pleasant village near to the National Agricultural Centre that hosts the Royal Show. Formerly having a somewhat paternalistic Leigh family, up at the Abbey means that there is no pub in the village, only a club. Following the signs from the A46, as you enter the village centre you bear to the right and quickly turn left towards the church. Limited parking is available by the churchyard gate. Entry is via the west tower door and thence up a wooden staircase to the ringing room.

The church is situated on the west bank of the River Sowe at the southern end of the village, surrounded by an extensive churchyard. Built of red sandstone ashlar, it consists of chancel, north chapel, vestry, nave, south aisle, and west tower, and dates from the latter part of the 12th century, when it consisted of chancel, nave, and west tower. It was drastically rebuilt and the south aisle added about the middle of the 14th century. The bases of the chancel walls are of 12th-century date. Above, the wall was rebuilt in the 14th century. The vestry was built in 1665 by Lord Leigh as a burial vault for his family and a vestry for the use of parishioners.  The north chapel was built early in the 19th century as a mausoleum for the Leigh family, but is now in general use as a chapel. The north wall of the nave was almost entirely rebuilt in the 14th century. It has two clearstory windows; a third has been blocked with masonry to accommodate the arch of a later window.  Between two of the windows is a blocked 12th-century doorway projecting 8 in. in front of the general wall-face. 

The south aisle wall was entirely rebuilt early in the 19th century in a lighter coloured sandstone than the rest of the church; at the same time a south porch was destroyed and its position was perpetuated by a dummy doorway into which an inscribed tablet from the porch was built. This was a compromise with the parishioners who strongly objected to the removal of the porch. The inscription is to the memory of Humphrey How, porter to Lord Leigh, who died 6 February 1688–9, aged 63:

'Here Lyes A Faithful Friend unto the Poore
Who dealt Large Almes out of his Lord's store
Weep Not Poore People Tho' ye Servant's Dead
The Lord him Self Will Give You Dayly Brede
If Markets Rise Rail Not Against Theire Rates
The Price Is Stil the same at Stone Leigh Gates.'

The third bell, which is listed, has the initials "R K" on the waist of the bell and these are presumed to be those of Richard Kidderminster, last abbot of Winchcombe, who held office from 1488 to 1531. It is also presumed that this bell was initially cast by John Wooley, then a servant to the Selioks in Nottingham and later in business by himself, for Winchcombe Abbey. The Briant bell is similarly thought to be a recasting of a bell from the Abbey.

Tilley and Walters noted that the five bells were "fixed dead, with hammers, and never rung", though this is doubtful. A "machine" was installed that allowed the bells to be chimed mechanically and this may be the reason for this.

An article in the Leamington Courier of October 15th 1965 says that ringing was stopped in the 1890s due to the condition of both the tower and the bellframe. The tower was restored in the 1950s and the then five bells were rehung in a six-bell cast iron lowside frame by Taylors in 1956, due to the generosity of Mr Robert Jones of Gibbett Hill. The treble was added in 1962-3.  The treble was cast with a flat top and the canons have been retained on the other bells, these having canon retaining headstocks. They also have been quarter turned.

The first peal on the bells was rung on the then ring of 5 in 1962:

The first peal on the ring of 6 was rung in memory of Winston Churchill:

The inscriptions on the back 5 are given in Tilley and Walters' book, "The Church Bells of Warwickshire"

The treble is inscribed


Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough   1962   4-0-06 26.50"  1318.0HZ (E-1c)
2 Thomas Eayre I, Kettering        1752   5-3-19 31.00"  1176.0Hz (D+2c)
3 John Wooley Nottingham          c1525   5-1-23 31.50"  1047.0Hz (C+1c)
4 Hugh Watts, Leicester            1632   6-0-15 32.00    988.0Hz (B+0c)
5 John Briant, Hertford            1792   7-3-02 35.50    881.0Hz (A+2c)
6 Hugh Watts, Leicester            1632  10-2-14 39.25"   782.0Hz (G-4c)

Photo Gallery

stoneleigh2_small stoneleigh3_small stoneleigh6_small
The Church -
Looking East
The Alice Leigh Memorial Looking Down on the Bells.
Shows the 6.3 Layout of the Frame 
stoneleigh4_small stoneleigh5_small stoneleigh_plan_small
Looking west, the ringing
room is behind the organ
The carving on the
Norman chancel arch.
 Plan of the Church

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