Coventry Diocese Celebrates the Bi-Centenary of the birth of George Eliot (1819-1880)

I expect I am not alone, whiling away the hours waiting at the airport or the railway station, by ‘people watching’! It’s a pastime I inherited from my Mother and have passed to my Grandchildren (with full reminders on Decorum, Dignity and good manners!) but with a strange twist – we invent stories round them.

So I feel quite empathetic with the Author, pen name George Eliot – Nuneaton’s greatest claim to fame (well, if you ignore Larry Grayson!!), who spent her life surreptitiously observing people she knew living around her and, carefully disguised, populating her novels with them.

Mary Anne Evans was born just outside Astley to the north of Nuneaton, on the 22nd November 1819, but after a few months moved with her parents into Chilvers Coton. Here she was Christened and attended a Dame School in nearby Attleborough. Her parents are buried in Coton Churchyard.

So it seemed only fitting to dedicate Coventry District’s Quarter Peal Fortnight to celebrating the Bi-Centenary of her birth. 17 quarters in all were scored - some with direct associations with her life and her novels.

St Nicolas Nuneaton is referred to as ‘Milby’ in her early works and many of Nuneaton’s landmarks are clearly identifiable in her ‘Clerical Lives’, ‘Adam Bede, and ‘Mill on the Floss’.

St James’ Bulkington is believed to be the ‘Raveloe’ referred to in ‘Silas Marner’ and her Uncle and Aunt are buried just outside the South door.

The quarter peal on the actual date of her bicentenary was at All Saints’ Chilvers Coton. The Church and village were called ‘Shepperton’ in ‘Scenes of Cleri-cal Life’ and her first published stories depicted the life in the Parishes of Nuneaton and Chilvers Coton

‘Middlemarch’ is thought to refer to the many developments taking place in nearby Coventry at that time.

George Eliot’s famous ‘Silas Marner’ was probably based on the figure of Teddy Kem, a solitary linen weaver and farmer who was an enigma to all around him. Mary Anne Evans had no doubt heard gossip about him as she grew up and be-came fascinated by his rustic appearance, his solitary habits and his bizarre approach to life. Many years later his farm lands were sold off for development firstly industrial but later the land exchanged hands again and I live in a house built on those very farmlands!

Coventry, West Midlands, Cathedral
Sunday, 10 November 2019 in 51m (33) ~
1260 Stedman Triples
1 Janice E Sheasby
2 Raymon A Sheasby
3 Geoffrey Pratt
4 Peter G Hollings
5 Jonathon R Chester
6 Michael Chester
7 Andrew F Alldrick (C)
8 Doug Kempton R
Rung half muffled prior to evensong in memory of the fallen and to commemorate the 79th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz on the night of 14th November that reduced this Cathedral to ruins.

Allesley, West Midlands All Saints
Sunday, 10 November 2019 in 43m (12)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 Lesley Grove
2 Anne Jackson
3 Amanda Slater
4 Mark Goodman
5 Michael Chester (C)
6 David Jackson
Rung half-muffled on Remembrance Sunday in memory of the fallen.

Leek Wootton, Warwickshire All Saints
Tuesday, 12 November 2019 in 43m (7)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 Barbara Hines
2 Annie Hall
3 Clare Gould
4 Janice Sheasby
5 Raymon Sheasby (C)
6 Nathan Gould
First quarter for 1, successful at first attempt.

Keresley, West Midlands St Thomas
Wednesday, 13 November 2019 in 37m (4)
1272 Carlisle Surprise Minor
1 David Harrison
2 Keith Chambers
3 Janice Sheasby
4 Graham Chadband
5 Simon Rogers
6 Raymon Sheasby (C)
1st in M - 4.

Bulkington, Warwickshire St James
Saturday, 16 November 2019 in 40m (12)
1320 Cambridge Surprise Minor
1 Roger Gane
2 Sue Trevor
3 Joy Pluckrose
4 Jean Liggins
5 Geoff Pratt
6 Gerald Trevor (C)

Leek Wootton, Warwickshire All Saints
Tuesday, 19 November 2019 in 46m (7)
1260 Grandsire Doubles
1 Philip J Sealey
2 Joy Pluckrose
3 Clare Gould
4 Nathan Gould
5 Raymon Sheasby (C)
6 Janice Sheasby
First inside to Grandsire for 3 and 4

Wolvey, Warwickshire St John the Baptist
Wednesday, 20 November 2019 in 43m (12)
1260 St Clement's College Bob Minor
1 Janice Sheasby
2 Sue Trevor
3Janet Kirtley
4 Geoff Pratt
5 Raymon A Sheasby
6 Gerald Trevor (C)

Nuneaton, Warwickshire St Nicolas
Wednesday, 20 November 2019 in 44m (14)
1288 Grandsire Triples 
1 Joy Pluckrose
2 Janice Sheasby
3 Raymon Sheasby
4 Geoffrey Pratt
5 Douglas Kempton
6 Michael Chester (C)
7 Andrew Alldrick
8 Gerald Trevor
Rung to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Eliot.

Leek Wootton, Warwickshire All Saints
Friday, 22 November 2019 in 44m (7)
1260 Doubles (2m)
1 Clare Gould
2 Janice Sheasby
3 Richard East
4 Annie Hall
5 Raymon Sheasby (C)
6 Nathan Gould
Rung to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Eliot

Kenilworth, Warwickshire St Nicholas
Friday, 22 November 2019 (14)
1260 St Clement's College Bob Minor
1 Ria Koshi
2 Rosemary Spencer
3Guy Darvill
4Ray Sheasby
5 Peter G Hollings
6 Doug Kempton (C)
Rung to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Eliot

Nuneaton, Warwickshire All Saints, Chilvers Coton Friday,
22 November 2019 in 42m (13)
1250 Cambridge Surprise Major
1 Annie Hall
2 Janice Sheasby
3 Raymon Sheasby
4 Joy Pluckrose
5 Karen French
6 Geoffrey Pratt
7 Gerald Trevor
8 Andrew F Alldrick (C)
Commemorating the bicentenary of the birth on this date of Mary-Ann Evans, better known under her pen name of George Eliot, who was baptised in this church. Chilvers Coton is immortalised as Shepperton in her novels.

Stoneleigh, Warwickshire St Mary the Virgin
Saturday, 23 November 2019 in 43m (10)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 Bob Taylor
2 Jackie Taylor
3 Sue Trevor
4 Geoff Pratt
5 Gerald Trevor (C)
6 Joy Pluckrose
1st in method for (2)

Burton Dassett, Warwickshire All Saints
Saturday, 23 November 2019 (13)
1260 Plain Bob Minor
1 Keith Chambers
2 Ria Koshi
3Peter Hollings
4 Guy Darvill
5 Ray Sheasby
6 Doug Kempton (C)
Rung by members of the Coventry District of the Coventry Dioceasan Guild

Bulkington, Warwickshire St James
Saturday, 23 November 2019 in 42m (12)
1264 Plain Bob Major
1 Joy Pluckrose
2 Gerald Trevor
3 Jean Liggins
4 Geoffrey Pratt
5 Ivan Merry
6 Michael Chester
7 Sam Trevor
8 Andrew F Alldrick (C)
Commemorating the bicentenary of the birth yesterday of Mary-Ann Evans, better known under her pen name of George Eliot.
Bulkington is immortalised as Raveloe in her novels.

Wolston, Warwickshire St Margaret
Sunday, 24 November 2019 in 46m (11)
1376 Yorkshire Surprise Major
1 Doug Kempton
2 Andrew F Alldrick
3 Keith Chambers
4 Janice E Sheasby
5 Raymon A Sheasby
6 Lucy Gwynne
7 Thomas W Griffiths (C)
8 Timothy J Wykes
Rung immediately following the service to celebrate the re-ordering of the Church, conducted by the Bishop of Coventry.

Coventry, West Midlands Cathedral
Sunday, 24 November 2019 in 47m (14)
1344 Spliced Surprise Major (3m)
1 Janice Sheasby
2 Joy Pluckrose
3 Michael Chester
4 Raymon Sheasby
5 Geoffrey Pratt
6 Peter Hollings
7 Doug Kempton
8 Andrew Alldrick (C)
First spliced surprise major - 6 Commemorating the bicentenary of the birth on 22 November of Mary-Ann Evans, better known under her pen name of George Eliot.
Rung prior to Choral Evensong

Kenilworth, Warwickshire St Nicholas
Sunday, 24 November 2019 (14)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 Cathy Weir
2 Rosemary Spencer
3 Jane Kempton
4Peter Hollings
5 Guy Darvill (C)
6 David Crawley
For evening service, also in memory of Sydney Cox, one time ringer at this tower.
1st 1/4 for treble, 1st doubles as conductor.