A Little History of Cherington and Stourton, Warwickshire
Home 1934 Little History Sutton-under-Brailes Links The Villages Photo Album Weston & tapestries Contact
Go to the Littlebeams site to see more Little Histories, mainly in Warwickshire.

State of repair by the time of the 2006 restoration

The bells and installation of 1842 served the parish well. There must have been occasional minor repair work but it was not until 1996 that the Church Council had cause to be concerned about the state of the bells. By 2006, much of the structure to support and move the bells had reached the end of its life, causing great difficulties in handling the bells. In addition, the bells themselves showed signs of considerable wear and tear, and the treble had a crack. A thorough restoration was needed. It was decided to keep the ringing chamber on the ground floor; and we had the promise of a sixth bell which would give the opportunity for full change-ringing. Three estimates for the work were obtained; the contract was placed with Taylors of Loughborough, successors to our bellfounders in 1842, and now Taylors Eayre & Smith.

Technical details - before the 2006 restoration

All the Cherington bells had elm headstocks, unusual hoop gudgeons, plain boss bearings, and traditional wheels, stays and sliders. The iron straps securing the bells through the canons to the headstocks were of the distinctive pattern used by the Oxford foundry of W. & J. Taylor from the 1840s until the late nineteenth century. As might be expected after over 163 years since the previous restoration, all the fittings were nearly worn out. The treble bell showed a crack running circumferentially around the crown of the bell at the base of the canon. It was thought that this dated from the time of casting, as the canons were imperfectly formed; wrought-iron by-pass lugs had been fitted and these had been drilled and secured to the bell head and headstock. The remaining four bells appeared sound apart from severe indentation where the clapper had struck the soundbow for many decades.

Restoration work and completion of the project

In July 2006, the old bells were lowered, without charge, by bellhangers from Norfolk known by the appeal committee. The 1842 oak frame had to be replaced, and the new steel frame was designed by Taylors and made in Stourton, at cost, by Cotswold Decorative Ironworkers. The belfry floor had to be replaced and the frame let into the walls: this work was done by Pyments of Chipping Campden. When the bells went to Loughborough for restoration, fittings were replaced, and four of the bells quarter-turned to present unworn surfaces to the clappers, and then retuned. The cracked treble bell was recast, and the bellfounders also cast the new sixth bell, which was to become the new treble.

At the time of the restoration the village had eight ringers, four having been trained in neighbouring towers. It is right to record their names, just as the names of their predecessors were recorded after the previous restoration of 1842. These are Richard Budd, Alan Heath, Peter Kenealy, Paul Marriott, Janet Owen, Sally Poynton, Sarah Scotter, and Alan Wright. They had their first trial ring, after the bellhanger had finished his work, on 7 October 2006. This was just two years after the Public Meeting which led to planning the project, petitioning for a faculty, raising the money, and getting the work done.

The restored and enlarged peal, then the third-lightest six-bell ring in Warwickshire, was consecrated by the Right Reverend Colin Bennetts, Lord Bishop of Coventry, on 5 November 2006.

The Cherington bells feature on the Church Bells of Warwickshire website.


Could I be a bell-ringer?

 In her informative leaflet about church bells and bell-ringing, campanologist Pam Copson includes a little six-point aptitude test which may encourage you to give it a try if you pass on all six.

a. Physical strength  Could you push a child on a swing?

b. Coordination Can you swim, or ride a bike, or drive a car?

c. Rhythm Tapping steadily, count from 1 to 8 then from 8 to 1, three times, without mistakes or hesitation (1234567887654321123 .... etc.).

d. Numerical memory Memorise and repeat this number: 13572468. (This is a change called Queens, rung on eight bells).

e. Pattern memory Memorise and draw this symmetrical pattern (path of a bell in Plain Bob Minimus):

f. Time  Could you spend one hour on Sunday and one weekday evening on bell-ringing?

Somewhere near you there is a definite need for one or two more people to keep the bells ringing. Contact a tower captain or any bell-ringer, or the incumbent of any church with bells.


Church Bell Restoration and Bell-ringing

2006 bell restoration

- an overview

Photographs from

the restoration project

Hear the five old Cherington bells

and new ring of six, hung in 2006.

Could I be a bell-ringer?