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WOOTTON WAWEN St Peter 6, 10-2-6 in F

Grid Reference 151/153633 Wootton Wawen Church - Source Mike Chester
Postcode B95 6BE
Affiliation Coventry DG
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 1000-1030
Practice Monday 1930-2100


The church has a chancel, central tower, south chapel flanking both, nave, south aisle, and porches. The lower three-fifths of the tower is probably of the first half of the 11th century; as it has an archway in each wall there is little doubt that the original plan of the church was cross-shaped. The nave was rebuilt and probably enlarged in the 12th century. The present chancel walls may be of mid to late 13th century; its north windows are of c. 1330–40, but a blocked window in the south wall has masonry which appears to be earlier than these windows. The south aisle of the nave, with the arcade, is of about 1250 and may have had a chapel east of it: the detail of the eastern arch of the aisle approximates to that of the nave arcade. However, the arcade on the north of the present south chapel indicates a later 13th-century date for the chapel than for the aisle. It has south windows of c. 1330–40, but the east window is of a freakish late-14th-century design and perhaps the whole chapel was then rebuilt and enlarged, and, if so, the earlier 14th-century windows were reset in the new south wall.

Late in the 15th century the large east window of the chancel and the west window of the nave, as well as the north doorway, were inserted, the clearstory was added to the nave, the south aisle was heightened, and the top stage of the tower was built. To help support the clearstory an extra archway was inserted within the middle bay of the 13thcentury arcade. Early in the 16th century the north porch was added. In 1635 (the date on one of the roof timbers) the chancel walls were heightened and a new roof of low pitch was made by Charles Smith, who afterwards became Lord Carington. The chancel walls, already weakened by the insertion of the large east window, began to yield under the additional strain and subsequently had to be heavily reinforced by large buttresses against the north wall.

In 1881 the nave roof was renewed, the plaster ceiling of the south chapel was removed, and other work done. ( The altar table was placed in the tower and the use of the chancel abandoned for general services. The south chapel was cleared of lumber and repaired in 1918, when the wall paintings were discovered and the tomb-recess was opened out again.

Though the number of bells at specific times here is a little difficult to quote with certainty, there were certainly six bells here by 1761. It is probable that Henry Bagley of Witney cast what became the third and fourth bells in 1741 and the treble in 1742, all have been subsequently recast. Three bells came from the Rudhall foundry, the old fifth in 1761, (recast by Francis Tyler who was in charge of the foundry until the coming of age of Thomas Rudhall between the death of Abel Rudhall in 1760 and 1766), the fourth in 1784 and the third in 1803. The note of the tenor is F, and not F# as has been quoted until recently. Its pitch equates to F+37c.

The inscriptions, as they were at this time, are given in Tilley and Walters' book, "The Church Bells of Warwickshire":

The parish here actually effectively refused the offer of a completely new Taylor six in 1907, there being not enough of a majority on the PCC to satisfy the donor. This was reported in Bell News on December 14th 1907

(Click to enlarge)

Instead, the old bells were rehung with new fittings in 1911 by Thomas Bond of Burford who repaired the cracked fifth (like the treble which had been similarly repaired) with iron bands fixed across the cracks. (See Chris Pickford's article in Ringing World, 14th September 1973:

Click to enlarge)

According to a peal footnote of Feburary 17th 1977 the local ringers had recently rehung the 5th, though I don't know what work this involved.

The bells go well, the frame and fittings being by Taylors, 1955, at which time the repaired bells were recast and the others retuned and eighth turned. This cost £1120 Recently the 2nd bell was found to be cracked and it was welded by Soundweld in 2005.  The ringing room ceiling is quite low, but the ropes pass through "tubes" in the intermediate chamber and there is no reason for rope handling issues to cause problems.

Alphabetically, this the last church with a ringable ring of bells in the County of Warwickshire, (if you include Yardley as being under Birmingham!), but it not the least in any way. A very nice church that is worth viewing before ascending the tower. There is an exhibition in the church that shows its development from Saxon times.

The first peal on the bells was rung in 1923

An article on the bells appeared in The Ringing World of January 3rd 1953:

(click to enlarge)

It was also featured in an article on February 26th 1971 as part of the Central Council's visit to the area. This gives the bells' inscriptions:

The story of the clock is unusual. The donor spotted a church clock in a clockmaker's window and asked the person behind the counter if he made it.  On saying that he did an order was placed for one to be made for this church. It turned out that the person's father had actually made it and he was a better clock maker than his son!  It would not run properly when installed and a local person had to take the clock apart and clean and adjust it. As you can see from the photograph, he also removed the clockmaker's name from the dial!

Entry to the ringing room is gained by going round to the back of the church and then up a very old, but safe, wooden ladder. There is a church car park in front of the church and the field to the left of the road to the church can be opened for larger parties.

Details of the Bells

1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough      1955   4-1-00  27.375"  1198.0Hz (D+34c)
2 Francis Watts Leicester             1591   5-0-05  30.375"  1066.0Hz (C+32c)
3 John Rudhall. Gloucester            1803   5-2-04  32.25"    953.0Hz (Bb+38)
4 Charles & John Rudhall, Gloucester  1784   6-2-00  34.50"    899.0Hz (A+37c)
5 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough      1955   9-1-20  37.50"    802.0Hz (G+39c)
6 Richard Sanders, Bromsgrove         1719  10-2-06  41.50"    713.5Hz (F+37c)

Photo Gallery

wawen.jpg wawen.jpg wootton_wawen_entrance.jpg
The Floodlit Church The Church from the opposite
side to the main photo
The Entrance to the Ringing Chamber,
found at the Back of the Church
wootton_wawen_stairs.jpg wootton_wawen_ringing_room.jpg wootton_wawen_clock.jpg
The Stairs to the Ringing Chamber The Ringing Chamber The Clock - note the name has been
removed from the dial on the right. 
wootton_wawen_west.jpg wootton_wawen_east.jpg wootton_wawen_east2.jpg
Looking from the Centre
to the East of the Church
Looking East Towards the
Centre of the Church
The East End, Beyond the
Centre of the Church
wootton_wawen_font.jpg wootton_wawen_pulpitt.jpg
The Font The Pulpit The cracked 5th with W. Thorold, from Taylors,
the metal band is clearly visible
wootton_wawen_treble.jpg wootton_wawen_2nd.jpg wootton_wawen_3rd.jpg
Treble Bell Second Bell Third Bell
wootton_wawen_4th.jpg wootton_wawen_5th.jpg wootton_wawen_tenor.jpg
Fourth Bell Fifth Bell Tenor Bell 
wootton_wawen_intermediate.jpg wootton_wawen_plan.jpg
The tubes in the Intermediate
Chamber that ensure that the
bells don't handle badly.
Plan of the Church

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