Tower of the Quarter — S Peter's, Pebworth, Worcs
(A b&w photo from about 1996 by Chris Povey)
St Peter's, Pebworth, had an amazing transformation from derelict 5 to very much
ringable 10 in a very short space of time. The bells were rehung and made 6
in 1986, augmented to 8 in 1995 and then to 10 in 2002. As ringers we know
them quite well, and due to the open galleried ringing platform, we get an
elevated view of the church's interior. However, the church contains some
interesting features that are worth a closer look at ground level.
Whether entering from the main or the tower doors, there are steps down into the nave. This
is because the ground slopes down from west to east, thus leaving the
chancel at or above natural ground level. The earliest part is the chancel,
which dates from C13th. The East window is a pleasing example of
the Perpendicular period and, at its apex, contains a small piece of
medieval stained glass. The barrel-roofed nave is C15th, as is
the tower. The main door may date from that period, too, and is thought to
hang on its original hinges. The C19th dormer windows in the
south side nave roof are rather delightful, and their style is particularly
unusual for a church. The font is a little unusual, too, in that its base
incorporates a step. Presumably the officiating cleric was short! It is
claimed the only other in Gloucestershire similar to this is at Wormington (and,
yes, I can confirm Wormington's font has this feature. Ed)
The large arch-like opening in the west face of the tower is intriguing. At one time it
contained a window, but the tracery within it decayed and after its
eventual collapse the opening was filled in. It would be slightly remiss
not to mention the bells, as some have a local and even national
importance. A ring of 5 bells was cast by Evesham bellfounder Michael
Bushell in 1707. Unfortunately the tenor cracked and was recast by Abraham
Rudhall in 1732. The four remaining Bushell bells survive as the 6th,
7th, 8th & 9th of the present ring.
Michael Bushell worked with the already-established William Clarke. Bushell
is first mentioned in 1706, when he and Clarke collaborated to cast a ring of 6 for
Badsey (the present back 6). Clarke had by that time cast some single bells
for churches in the area and in 1705 cast a ring of 5 bells for
Hinton-on-the-Green (the present back 5). Bells had been cast in Evesham
since 1600, but all this ceased in 1711 when Clarke & Bushell's
operation was curtailed by the landlord selling the bell foundry site and some adjoining property.
The bells are a chuckable, easy-going 10 that anyone can handle with ease. The first Q on the 10 was Grandsire
Caters on July 22nd 2002, composed and conducted by Ian Povey.
The Guild's practice, on July 21st 2012, is almost 10
years to the day on from that occasion.