The tower at the west end of the church is built of grey sandstone. It was built in the 15th century and houses a fine peal of 8 bells. Two of them are over 300 years old. Prior to 1924 the tower contained a ring of four bells of which the present 5th was dated 1614 and the present 7th was dated 1676. In 1924 these two were recast and two lighter bells were added to make a ring of 6. In 1949 after World War II, the ring was augmented to 8 bells. The tenor bell (largest) weighs nearly 12 ½ cwt (approx 635 kilos) and is probably late 16th century being the work of Newcombes of Leicester along with the 6th bell of the peal, dated 1605. These two are considered ancient bells and may not be recast.
The tenor is tuned to 764 hertz this being midway betweenG and F# being out of tune with the rest of the octave.
A report in 1989 by the Belfry Maintenance Committee of the Coventry Diocesan Guild of Bellringers, identified a number of concens which need addressing. Significantly there is movement of the tower which is significant to disturb the 'go' of the bells and that the only positive cure is to move the bells lower in the tower, an alternative solution would be to reduce the weight of the bells.
John Taylor, Bellfounders, carried out an inspection of the bells, frame and fitting and confirmed the appraisal from the maintenance committee relating to the bells and their fittings. In addition Taylors confirmed that major work to reduce the oscillation in the tower was necessary in order to make the bells easier to ring and make the tower more stable.
Two recommendations were made for consideration :
- The refurbishment of the bells and their hanging in a rebuilt bellframe at a lower height in the tower
- reducing the weight of the peal by the removal of the exisiting tenor bell, recasting the 5th and treble bells to become a semi tone higher, adding a new treble bell
Some would argue that reducing the weight of the ring would remove the character of the ring. The tenor is a long waisted bell and makes it difficult to ring Without the present tenor the lighter remodelled ring will provide a musical peal which are in tune. The tenor is also used as the clock bell, recognised within the the community and should be retained. As this is an ancient bell, it cannot be recast and would therefore remain in the higher level of the tower.
The present treble is 'dedicated to the men of this parish who gave their lives' and a plaque is on the north wall of the tower.
If the bells were remodelled, the present treble, recast a semitone higher, would become the 2nd, the current 2nd would become the 3rd. Present inscriptions on the treble and 5th bells can be reproduced on the new bells.
Naturally this work is going to cost money, approximately in the region of £60,000 therefore we have a restoration fund for the purpose and if you would like to donate, however small or large please contact our Tower Captain, Geoff Pratt. We are also going to be looking into setting up an online crowdfunding site