Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Tower of the Quarter

All Saints, Church Lench

All Saints

Into Worcestershire for a change this time, to Church Lench, where there is a ring of 6, GF, and recently rehung. The church sits on a high point on the edge the Vale of Evesham, a location that gives a glorious view of the surrounding countryside for many miles distant.

The church is originally assigned to the 11th/12th centuries, although successive rebuildings have left little from this period. It is thought it originally comprised a nave and short chancel, but it now includes nave, chancel, south aisle and tower.

There is a large mural above the chancel arch, although this is essentially a line drawing, having little colour. The north doorway is blocked up. What would otherwise have been its tympanum is now a window containing fragments of 15th.C stained glass.

The nave has clerestory windows in both N & S walls, but these are likely to have been added when the nave walls were raised.

The lower stage of the tower was added in about the 15th.C, with completion in the 16th.C. The ground floor ringing room is small, some 8ft x 8ft. Although this widens slightly further up, it gives very little room for the bells, particularly a 14cwt 6. A Worcestershire worthy (now deceased) once said to me, 'Church Lench tower isn't a tower; it's a chimney!'. Having seen this for myself, and the cut-outs of old to allow the bells to swing unimpeded, this description is close to the truth! Eayre & Smith rehung the bells for the Millennium, and they made an excellent job of shoe-horning the bells in: quite remarkable.

Although the ring is essentially a Taylor ring of about 1870, the 5th is by Henry Farmer, dated 1600. It seems to be the earliest extant bell cast by this founder, the site of whose bellfoundry has never been positively located. Recent thinking suggested it was in the Evesham-Tewkesbury area, but a document unearthed from the Tewkesbury Abbey archives almost certainly confirms Evesham.

The Guild has a practice here on December 4th (see Diary)