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SUTTON COLDFIELD* Holy Trinity 8 23-1-18 in Eb

Grid Reference 139/110938 Sutton Coldfield Church - Source: David Kelly
Postcode B72 1TF
Affiliation St Martin's Guild
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0930-1000 & 1700-1730
Practice Wednesday 2000-2100


The church , stands on a rise to the east of the junction of the High Street with the Erdington-Birmingham Road and consists of a chancel, north and south chapels, nave, two north aisles, south aisle, south porch, and west tower. There are modern vestries east and west of the outer north aisle.

The church is of early-13th-century origin, but the only identifiable detail in the masonry is in the lower part of the east wall of the chancel; this has an early plinth and remains of shallow clasping buttresses. The nave was probably shorter than the present nave. There is no material evidence of enlargements before the end of the 15th century, to which date the west tower may be allocated: probably the nave was then also lengthened. The north and south chapels and nave-aisles were added by Bishop Veysey. The date 1533 is recorded for the aisles; the chapels may have preceded them by a few years, showing some difference of detail. Whether the clearstory to the nave was raised at the same time or subsequently is not evident from the masonry. Part of the nave is said to have collapsed in 1759 and to have been rebuilt by the corporation in 1760. How much was involved in the fall is not certain, but apparently the two arcades were rebuilt with the old material. Perhaps the clearstory was then added, but packing or filling-in around the extradoses of the round arches suggests that the superincumbent walling had not given way and the arches were rebuilt below it. The roofs were probably reconstructed at the same time, but they were renewed in 1863.

The outer north aisle and vestries were added 1874–9 and much restoration has been carried out since then, especially in 1929, when the south wall was renovated, the Veysey chapel refurnished and redecorated, and other work done. Galleries of 1760 were built in the aisles and at the west end of the nave and later galleries were set in both chapels. That of the south aisle still remains, the others have been removed, but there are modern galleries at the west end of the inner north aisle and along the outer north aisle. The south porch was added probably in 1533 or soon afterwards.

The aisles and their chapels date from the sixteenth century, these later embellishments being made through the generosity of Bishop Veysey of Exeter (d.1554) who was born at Sutton. There is a monument to Veysey in the chapel on the north side of the chancel. The body of the church was extensively repaired in 1760 after part of the nave collapsed, and the building underwent substantial restoration in the Victorian period. The chancel was restored in 1863-4, the interior was reordered in a general restoration under Yeoville Thomason in 1875-9 and the outer north aisle was added in 1878-9. The western gallery of 1708 was removed and the tower arch opened up during the work of 1878-9

Prior to the last restoration here there was a ring of 6 cast by Thomas Mears in 1795, tenor 22cwt. These were the successors to the four bells and a saunce bell that was in the tower at the time of the 1552 inventory. These became 6 by 1778, at the latest. Rudhalls supplied a ring of 6 in 1786, Tilley and Walters note that the Corporation voted 100 guineas for a new ring in 1784 and that a certain William Hughes was killed by a piece of timber which fell while the workmen were preparing to put up the bells. They therefore speculate that this ring was short lived. This speculation is accurate, as Mears provided a new ring less than 10 years after the Rudhall ring was installed. Two of these bells remain in the present ring. 

In 1884 the bells, which the Erdington ringers found to be in a poor state of repair, were restored and augmented to eight by John Taylor & Co. They recast the back four, added two trebles, and rehung the bells in the old frame with a new top frame for the trebles. The work was reportd in Bell News in the edition of August 16th 1884:

(Click to Enlarge)

The first peal on the bells was rung quickly afterwards:

The following appear in Bell News in the edition of October 29th 1904:

"Sutton Coldfield (Warwickshire). Holy Trinity. Eight bells; 3rd and 4th by Mears 1795; the rest by Taylor 1884. Tenor, 24 cwt., diameter 4 ft. 2 in. Timber frame. Bells go well. Chiming apparatus fitted. Rehung by Taylor 1884. Ropes new 1895, good. Method ; Stedman. Sunday ringing usual half-an-hour before morning and evening service. Practice : Thursday, 7."

The wheels on 3 and 4 were replaced in 1927 and the frame strengthened two years later when Whitechapel rehung the bells on ball bearings, the work being invoiced on May 3rd 1929. The remaining 1795 Mears bells were not taken out of the tower in the 1884 restoration and therefore the weights then are estimated. The rehanging was reported in The Ringing World of May 10th 1929:

The bells of the Sutton Coldfield Parish Church were reopened or Tuesday, April 30th, after having been rehung and placed in ball bearings by Messrs. Mears and Stainbank, of Whitechapel Foundry. London.
Touches of Stedman Triples, Bob Major, and Grandsire were rung during the evening, members of the Sutton Coldfield tower and the following visitors taking part: Messrs. Wm. Davies, J. W. Peinborton, F. Rishworth, G. Sims, F. Dickens and T. Bloore. The conducting was shared by Messrs. B. Leedham (Ringing Master, Sutton Coldfield), J. W. Pemberton, Wm. Davies, and T. Bloore. The Vicar and churchwardens expressed their delight at the excellent manner in which the work had been completed, and thanked the ringers and visitors. The ‘ go ’ of the bells is all that can be desired."

The first peal after the 1929 restoration was rung shortly after it was completed:

A new frame and fittings were supplied by Taylors, 1972. Prior to this restoration 23-1-17 was the accepted weight. The back two bells were cast with flat heads and the canons have been removed from the remainder. A peal was rung for the Wocestershire and Districts Association on the day of their rededication:

The inscriptions are given in Tilley and Walters' book, "The Church Bells of Warwickshire":

The ringing room walls are colourfully painted!

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

Details of the Bells

                                         1884     1972
                                        Weight   Weight
1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1884   5-2-18   5-1-09  29.75"   1224.0Hz (Eb-29c) 
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1884   6-0-14   5-3-05  30.00"   1159.0Hz (D-23c) 
3 Thomas Mears, Whitechapel       1795   7¾cwt    7-0-22  33.875"  1033.0Hz (C-22c) 
4 Thomas Mears, Whitechapel       1795   9cwt     8-1-07  36.50"    921.0Hz (Bb-21c) 
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1884  10-3-12  10-1-10  38.50"    821.0Hz (Ab-20c) 
6 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1884  13-1-25  12-3-10  41.75"    775.0Hz (G-20c) 
7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1884  16-2-17  16-1-19  44.625"   690.0Hz (F-21c) 
8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1884  23-1-17  23-1-18  50.50"    619.0Hz (Eb-9c)

Details of the Mears Bells

1 Thomas Mears, Whitechapel       1795   8cwt    34.00"
2 Thomas Mears, Whitechapel       1795   9½cwt   36.375"
3 Thomas Mears, Whitechapel       1795  11-0-11  39.75"
4 Thomas Mears, Whitechapel       1795  11-0-14  41.00"
5 Thomas Mears, Whitechapel       1795  15-1-21  45.25"
6 Thomas Mears, Whitechapel       1795  21-3-21  50.50"
(Back four bells' weights are scrapping values)

Details of the Bells in 1884

1. John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1884   5-2-18  29.50"
2. John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1884   6-0-14  30.00"
3. Thomas Mears, Whitechapel       1795   7-2-00* 34.125"
4. Thomas Mears, Whitechapel       1795   9-0-00* 36.25" 
5. John Taylor & Co, Loughbrough   1884  10-3-12  38.875"
6. John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1884  13-1-25  41.75" 
7. John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1884  16-2-17  45.00" 
8. John Taylor & Co, Loughborough  1884  23-1-17  51.00"

Photo Gallery

The Church - Looking East. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson The Church - Looking West. Source: Aidan MacRae Thomson
The Church - Looking East The Church - Looking West
Plan of the Church. Source: British History Online
Plan of the Church

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