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WILLOUGHBY St Nicholas 6, 14½cwt in F (GF)

Grid Reference 151/516675 Willoughby Church - Source David Kelly
Postcode CV23 8BY
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday Not Known
Practice Not Known 


This is the last tower in the Diocese before Northamptonshire brings in the Peterborough Diocese. Set in a pleasant rural setting the bells do take a little bit of ringing, but are perfectly ringable.

The Grade II* listed church is situated to the west of the Daventry-Coventry road in a small churchyard on the western outskirts of the village. It consists of a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, tower, north and south porches, and was built at the beginning of the 16th century, the tower being the last part to be completed. The tower and porches are built of ashlar, the rest of the church of sandstone rubble with worked dressings. The chancel was almost entirely rebuilt in brick in the early 19th Century, including the angle buttresses, rendered over with cement and lined out with joints to imitate ashlar.

Originally a complete Smith ring of six, cast out of the four bells then in the tower. The tenor was recast at Whitechapel in 1781 and is one of the few bells cast at the time when William Chapman was the sole head of the business. The second, third and fourth bells are much better sounding than the treble and fifth, even though all are untuned. The current frame was installed in 1820 by a Mr Ward at a cost of over £100. It was strengthened in 1926 when the bells were rehung by Mears & Stainbank, probably reusing the old headstocks.  The work was reported in The Ringing World of January 28th 1927:

The bells of St. Nicolas’ Church, Willoughby, have, after a silence of about seven years, been restored by Messrs. Mears and Stainbank, who have strengthened the existing frame, quarter turned the bells, and fitted them with ball bearings, new head stocks and wheels. In tho opinion of the local ringers the ' go ’ of them is excellent. Willoughby is only a small village of 300 persons, and since the scheme was started four years ago for the restoration of the tower and bells a sum of £500 has been raised, Mr. Johnson, one of the churchwardens, giving a donation of £50. The front five of these bells were cast in 1713 by Joseph Smith, of Edgbaston. The tenor, which was cast in 1781 by William Chaipman, of Whitechapel, weighs 14½ cwt. The bells were rung for the first time on December 23rd by the local ringers and friends from the neighbouring village of Braunston, when several 120’s of Grandsire were rung."

All the bells retain their canons, have been quarter turned and the Smith bells are "listed".

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

The first peal on the bells was rung in 1928 - the church is not in Northamptonshire, but the next door parish is! It was, however, for many years attached to the Daventry Branch of the Peterborough DG, despite being in the Coventry Diocese.

Some relatively minor work to items such as clappers, pullies and flapper boards was carried out by Taylors in September 2013 and this has improved the go of the bells noticeably. A new band of ringers has recently been formed and the bells are being rung again. A rope guide was installed by Taylors in November 2016 to make the bells easier to handle

Park in the road outside and enter by the north door.

Details of the Bells

1 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston  1713   5cwt   30.325"  1179.0Hz (D+6c)
2 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston  1713   5½cwt  31.50"   1057.0Hz (C+17c)
3 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston  1713   6½cwt  33.25"    946.0Hz (Bb-21c)
4 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston  1713   7cwt   34.25"    899.0Hz (A+37c)
5 Joseph Smith, Edgbaston  1713  10cwt   38.00"    792.0Hz (G+18c)
6 William Chapman, London  1781  14½cwt  43.50"    707.0Hz (F+21c)

Photo Gallery

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The Church - Looking West The Church - Looking East 

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