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ULLENHALL St Mary the Virgin 8, 3-0-25 in Eb Anticlockwise

Grid Reference 150/121672 Ullenhall Church - Source: David Kelly
Postcode B95 5PG
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday None
Practice None
Other Information Benefice Website

History Of The Bells

A small ring of bells in a very small tower! I have been told that the bells were intended to be hung as a chime, but a last minute change of heart had them hung for ringing. Certainly they could be chimed from a keyboard in the ringing room at the outset. I have no supporting evidence for them being initially a chime - do you? They are by Warners and are a little bit of an acquired taste, their tuning not being the best around and some bells double clapper. Listen to the various recordings to hear when I mean.

The bells were cast for the new church in the village which was built in 1874-5, the architect being John Paul Seddon of London. It was built in memory of William and Mary Newton of Barrells Part, at the expense of their sons and daughters. This donation included the ring of bells. Note that the tower is so small that the louvres have to be "bowed" in order that there is enough room for these bells to swing. They were installed under the supervision of William Martin who was responsible for the erection of the church. James E Hawkins was killed whilst helping to install the bells, falling some 38 feet down the scaffolding.

The frame is ingenious. It is a "double decker" Maltese Cross in shape, with the bells in pairs at the end of the arms, odd bells over even bells. There is a "hole" in the middle of the frame directly above the trapdoor to allow for access.

Somewhat ironically, the one word inscriptions on bells 7-1 make up the phrase: "Come let us make a joyful noise". the tenor is inscribed "CAST BY JOHN WARNER AND SONS LONDON 1874" and on its waist

EN (shield) MRN

In the shield are three battle-axes, the arms of the Newton family, of Barrells. It is lozenge shaped to indicate female ownership of the property. The initials are of Elizabeth and Mary Rose Newton, the donors.

There was some hope that the then unringable bells would be thoroughly rehung in 1962, this appearing in The Ringing World on May 18th that year:

The bells had obviously not been rung for some time up until 1977 - when this article appeared in The Ringing World of August 5th that year.

It showed that work had been undertaken to make the bells ringable by someone with little,  or no, previous knowlege about bellhanging! 

Details of the quarter peal are:

The first peal on the bells was rung in 1978, one of only four so far rung:

They are loud inside, (ensure that the traps are in place as the clock winder sometimes leaves them out). They handle reasonably well for their weight but the front two or three are very tricky and the inexperienced may find them a little too light and anticlockwise! The ladder in the middle of the rope circle will need moving more to the vertical in order to ring the two trebles. Don't try to ring them too fast, try about 3 hours peal speed. Note the "Acme" brand mangle via which all 8 bells can be chimed.

The church is signposted to the west off the road through the village. Yes it is the church with a spire that you see quite quickly! Don't think, "That never has a ring of bells in it". It does! Park in front of the church and enter via the door round the back of the tower, i.e. at the base of the tower on the right of the photograph.

Details of the Bells 

1 John Warner, London  1874  1¼cwt   17.50"   2467.6Hz (Eb-15c)
2 John Warner, London  1874  1½cwt   17.625"  2193.8Hz (D-81c)
3 John Warner, London  1874  1¾cwt   19.00"   1822.8Hz (C-89c)
4 John Warner, London  1874  2cwt    20.00"   1804.0Hz (Bb+57c)
5 John Warner, London  1874  2¼cwt   21.00"   1624.4Hz (Ab-39c)
6 John Warner, London  1874  2½cwt   21.625"  1492.2Hz (G+86c)
7 John Warner, London  1874  2¾cwt   23.75"   1351.8Hz (F-57c)
8 John Warner, London  1874  3-0-25  25.00"   1219.6Hz (Eb-35c)

Bell Tuning

These pairs should be exactly one tone apart:-

2 & 3 together

3 & 4 together

These should sound as "true" rings:

The Front Four

The Back 5

All Eight Together

The bell tuning expert Bill Hibbert notes,

The third's nominal is two semitones flat, making it almost the same note as the fourth.
The second is a semitone flat.
The third is so flat that it's prime is lower than that of the fourth
Primes are horribly flat everywhere, especially round the front
Hums, bizarrely, are pretty near the double octave, especially in the first, second, fourth and fifth.

His full analysis is here as an Excel file.

The fisrt peal on the bells, Cambridge Surprise Major, was rung on June 16th 1978 and there have only been four rung on the bells to date, the last being in 2001.

Photo Gallery

ullenhall6_small ullenhall4_small  
Ringing around the ladder.
The rope in the foreground
obscures the treble ringer.
The Third Above the Fourth  
ullenhall2_small ullenhall3_small ullenhall5_small
The Way Up to the Bells The Fifth
Note the Metal Stay!
The Acme Mangle
The Church - Looking East    

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