A Little History of Cherington and Stourton, Warwickshire
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Parish Church Bell Restoration 2006

Hear the five old Cherington bells, and the new peal of six bells, in a recording from 2006.

Photographs from

the restoration project

More about the bells

and their history

Could I be a bell-ringer?

During 2006 the bells of the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Cherington, underwent much needed restoration. To mark this happy event, a sixth bell was added to the existing five, allowing a total of 720 changes (combinations) to be rung: 241635, 426153, etc. This takes a band of ringers some twenty-five minutes, always starting with a ring down the musical scale, from the treble to the tenor bell (1,2,3,4,5,6). Ringing up the scale should be something that none of us wants to hear, as it has traditionally been reserved to signal invasion or disaster.

Twenty-five minutes is modest compared to the twenty-seven years it would, theoretically, take to ring all the changes in one of the 90-odd towers of twelve bells. Nevertheless, it still means marvellous, sustained, complex swirls of sound ringing out over the rooftops, uplifting the spirits of believer and non-believer alike. This is an experience almost unique to Britain, which has over 5,000 churches where change-ringing is possible, as opposed to only another hundred or so elsewhere in the world.

The estimated cost of restoration was over £40,000, of which at least £25,000 had to be found locally. Led by the Bell and Fund-Raising Committees, an outstanding effort by the villages plus the generosity of the many, many donors of time and money brought the scheme to a successful and happy conclusion, some £31,000 being collected. Fund-raising efforts included safari suppers and pub quiz evenings, while an Open Gardens Day attracted hundreds of visitors. Financial support from three charities, plus the Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers, who also contributed valuable advice and expertise, enabled the overall target to be reached.

Pictured outside the Rectory, possibly in "ringing order", are (l. to rt.) John Long, wheelwright and Parish Clerk; Richard ("Dick") Clark, baker; George ("Gooseberry") Joyner; William ("Will" or "Bill") Bailey, cowman and masterly rick-builder; Henry ("Harry") Joyner. The Joyner brothers were both enumerated in the 1901 census as "carter on farm".