Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Tower of the Quarter — St Nicholas, Oddington, Glos.

(Photo: Chris Povey)

It is entirely appropriate that the Guild should visit Oddington on the longest day of the year, because the Church is without electricity and therefore is fully reliant on daylight. Yes, we could rig up some sort of illumination to allow us to ring, but we would very likely miss the undoubted gems that are contained in this church. If ever a church were worth a good look round inside, Oddington would be a good contender for the first division! It is a very interesting building. It was abandoned in 1851 when the new church (Holy Ascension) was built in the village and therefore avoided the widespread ravages of the Victorian updatings many ancient churches received. It was brought back into use in 1912 by the then Vicar. A clean down the following year of old whitewash on the walls revealed the ancient wall paintings.

Its main claim to fame is the wall paintings, of which there are three. There is a very good pamphlet that explains these and I recommend it to you. Helen and I spent a fascinating time unlocking the mysteries when we visited. But there are other delights, too. The Jacobean pulpit, standing on a single wooden pillar, is a gem. The layout is also unusual until the history of the church is investigated. The South aisle is the original church; the present Nave and Chancel were added on the north side later for greater capacity. The tower was then built on top of the old Chancel, but the new arch between the old nave and chancel was found to be weak and the gap beneath was filled in with the present thick wall to strengthen it. Lastly, the tower contains the remains of what was once a ring of 5 bells cast in 1684 by Abraham Rudhall. The single bell remaining from this ring is the earliest known bell by this founder, the first of the mighty Rudhall dynasty.

The Guild has a practice here on Saturday June 21st, 7.00-8.30pm