Coventry, Cathedral Church of, St Michael, West Midlands

Cathedral Bells: 12; 33-3-6 in C# - plus a Flat 6th. 
Grid Reference: 140/335790
Postcode: CV1 5RJ
District: Coventry
Peals: Felstead Database
Practice Night: Thursday 7:30pm-9:00pm
Service Ringing: Sunday: meet at c.11.30am (ringing for 1 hour after the main morning service)
Recommended Pub There are two Wetherspoon Pubs within a furlong of the west end of the Cathedral:
The Flying Standard, 2-10 Trinity Street Coventry West Midlands CV1 1FL. Tel: 024 7655 5723
Earl of Mercia, 18 High Street Coventry West Midlands CV1 5RE. Tel: 024 7643 3990. 
Contacts: Andrew Alldrick, 23 Coxs Close, Nuneaton, Warks, CV10 7ET Tel: 024 7674 4682 Click to Email

History Of The Bells

This is one of the more famous cathedrals in England in that it was bombed in November 1940 and, apart from the tower, largely destroyed. The outside walls, except the clearstory, and the tower are all that remain. A new cathedral was built at right angles to the old one and therefore runs North-South instead of East-West. Of modern design it provokes either like or dislike amongst visitors, but rarely apathy!

Until 1675 there was a heavy ring of 6 bells, 30-1-5. These were recast into a ring of 8 by Henry Bagley I and his son Henry, the tenor weighing 25-0-12. These were only the second ring of 8 in a Warwickshire church. In May 1774 these bells were recast into a ring of 10. tenor 31-1-14, by Pack & Chapman of London and hung by Robert Turner of Whitechapel. The tower was giving cause for concern by 1794 and the bells were rehung in a two tier wooden frame that rose from the ground. The 6th cracked and was therefore recast in 1799 by Thomas Mears. In 1802 the tenor also cracked and was recast by John Briant of Hertford, 32-0-9, at the same time the frame being rearranged to have all the bells on one level. Before the end of the century the tower was again giving cause for concern and the bells were hung dead in 1885 in the octagon part of the tower.

The bells are now hung low down in the old cathedral tower. They were recast from the old Pack and Chapman 10 by Gillett & Johnston in 1927 following a donation to cover the whole cost of a chime of 12 bells plus 2 semitones. There was a huge argument about what to do, E.H. Lewis was a great opponent of "Simpson" tuning, the matter only being resolved by a Consistory Court hearing. The decision was that the bells would be recast to ringing weights just in case a new detached tower was ever built. (This had been actively considered in the 1880s but the main enthusiast died before anything was built).

An analysis, by Bill Hibbert, of the 12 can be found here. The frequency of the tenor equates to C#-18c

An educated guess as to how the bells might have sounded has been produced by Bill Hibbert from data taken from the old 10 prior to them being broken up. It is an interesting read, (and listen!) and can be found here.

After a number of false starts the bells were rehung for ringing in 1987, financed largely due to a donation by Lady Lyons, the widow of the founder of Jaguar Cars, William Lyons. They form a fine ring of 12 with a flat 6th and also a sharp 9th that is hung dead in the corner of the frame. A new ringing room was built above a shop and glass windows mean that the ringers can be seen from the ruins. Shortly after the bells were installed curtains were hung on three sides to reduce the amount of reverberation in the ringing room. These work well and this magnificent ring of bells are a joy to ring. The Sharp 9th was brought into use as a service bell in 2008. It can be chimed automatically via a telephone link from the Cathedral

Visiting ringers of all experience on are actively made welcome.

The entrance is via the gate to the left of the tower as you look at it from the west end of the old cathedral, (visible to the right of the tower on the photograph). If the tower gates are locked wait until the ringing has stopped and make yourself heard!

Details Of The Bells
1 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 4-1-00 25.50" 1638.0Hz (G#-24c)
2 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 4-3-24 27.00" 1466.0Hz (F#-16c)
3 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 5-1-05 28.00" 1379.5Hz (E#-22c)
4 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 5-2-16 29.375" 1230.5Hz (D#-20c)
5 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 6-0-05 31.00" 1097.0Hz (C#-18c)
6 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 6-1-22 32.00" 1032.0Hz (B#-24c)
7 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 7-3-23 35.00" 916.0Hz (A#-31c)
8 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 10-2-21 38.50" 820.0Hz (G#-22c)
9 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 14-2-16 42.875" 732.0Hz (F#-19c)
10 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 18-0-14 46.00" 689.5Hz (E#-22c)
11 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 24-1-22 51.00" 614.0Hz (D#-23c)
12 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 33-3-06 57.00" 548.5Hz (C#-18c)
6b Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 7-0-24 33.50" 973.0Hz (B-26c)
9# Gillett & Johnston, Croydon 1927 12-1-17 40.50" 773.0Hz (G-24c)


Cambridge Maximus From the Viewing Gallery Half-Muffled Ringing For Remembrance