Warwick, St Mary, Warwickshire

Warwick St Mary Bells: 10, 24-3-20 in D
Grid Reference/Map: 151/282650
Postcode: CV34 4AB
District: Warwick
Peals: Felstead Database
Practice Night: Wednesday 7:30pm-9:00pm (1 & 3. Check which tower on 5th)
Service Ringing: 10:00-10.30am (except 1st which is 9.00-9.30am)  & 5.45-6.30pm
Recommended Pub: The Punch Bowl, 1 The Butts, Warwick, CV34 4SS Tel: 01926 403846
Contact: Mr G W Randall, 63 Cliffe Way, Warwick CV34 5JG Click to Email

The Warwick band of ringers has over 15 members ranging from those new to the art to regular peal ringers.

New members, including beginners, are always gladly received into the band. Teaching sessions for beginners are run at St Nicholas by experienced tutors at mutually convenient times. Why not contact the ringers and arrange a taster session?

Visitors of all abilities are welcome to join the band for practice and service ringing. Ringing is always tailored to the abilities of those present. Typically at St Mary’s the methods rung are Stedman and Surprise Royal; on Sunday mornings Surprise Minor and doubles methods are normal. At St Nicholas the band concentrates on Stedman and standard Surprise Major methods. Plain methods and call changes are also rung at both towers.

History of the Bells

An historic church that is one anyone should stop a while and visit. The Beauchamp Chapel is beautiful. The tower stands stands out for miles around and is unusual in that you can drive underneath it (if the post in the road has been removed!) The story is that on re-building the church after the "Fire of Warwick" of 1694 it was found that the design for the tower to rise flush with the west wall was not strong enough and therefore is was built on four massive piers, the tower door being in the north-east pier.

In 1552 there were "v belles" and by 1656 a treble had been added. Tilley & Walters state that the treble had no inscription, the second was probably by Newcombe, the third was cast in Worcester, the 5th in Nottingham. The fourth and tenor was Isabella Despenser, Countess of Warwick who died in 1439 foundress of the Beauchamp Chapel. They became a ring of eight here in 1656 when the old tenor was recast into three trebles at Coventry by Bryan Eldridge. All were destroyed in the Great Fire of Warwick.

Abraham Rudhall was contracted to provide a new ring of eight which were delivered in 1702, but in the following year two more bells were added to make ten. The tenor was first recast in 1725 and recast again by Mears in 1814, its frequency now equating to D-34c. There was a major restoration in 1901 that involved the recasting of 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 & 8. Before this restoration they were an anticlockwise 10.

Cast iron frame and fittings are by Taylors, 1901. The back four were hung on ball bearings by Arthur Fidler in 1979 and numbers 4, 5 & 6 in 1981 by the same person. The rest will be rehung on ball bearings by Taylors during 2008. The Taylor bells were all cast with flat tops and the canons have been remove from the others. Tonally they are a grand ring, but, despite being anything but "too difficult to handle", do take some ringing to get the best out of them, due to tower sway.

A bell that survived the great fire of Warwick was rehung. It was cast in 1671 by a Mr Henry Bagley at a cost of 25 shillings. It is believed that the bell originally was hung in the chapel and so separately from the tower bells which crashed to the ground in the fire. The bell loitered in the crypt for 75 years or so before it was cleaned and rehung above the main bells in 1976. It has a distinctive shape and its sound was described as harsh and rather unmusical and for a few years it was chimed as a service bell. When mobile phone aerials were installed in the bell chamber this old bell was removed and can now be seen once more in the crypt.

There is a "carillon" that plays a different tune each day on the bells. Some tunes require the same note to be quickly repeated and this means that several bells have more than one chiming hammer. It chimes on the hour, every three hours, between 9am and 9pm.  It was last restored in 2013.  An article written for the church magazine by local ringer David Leafe can be read by clicking here

Details of the Bells
1 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1901 4-2-19 27.00" 1451.0Hz (F#-34c)
2 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1901 5-0-07 28.125" 1296.0Hz (E-29c)
3 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1901 5-3-04 29.875" 1154.0Hz (D-31c)
4 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1901 6-1-14 31.25" 1086.0Hz (C#-36c)
5 Abraham Rudhall I, Gloucester 1702 7-1-20 33.75" 966.0Hz (B-39c)
6 Abraham Rudhall I, Gloucester 1702 9-2-02 37.625" 864.0Hz (A-32c)
7 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1901 11-1-11 40.125" 769.0Hz (G-33c)
8 John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1901 13-1-11 42.50" 723.0Hz (F#-40c)
9 Abraham Rudhall I, Gloucester 1702 18-0-21 48.00" 647.5Hz (E-31c)
10 Thomas Mears II 1814 24-3-20 54.375" 576.0Hz (D-34c)