Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Tower of the Quarter — St George, Newbold Pacey, Warks.

Photo: Chris Povey (taken a long while ago!)

This church is pure Victorian for very good reason. The old church suffered an extensive fire and was rebuilt in 1880-82 by Architect J L Pearson. Everything is dressed coursed limestone with ashlar mouldings, which provided a good quality, sturdy, all-of-a-piece building.

Luckily, very luckily, the bells survived intact, because they are rare. Yes, there are only 4 (tenor about 7cwt), but they form a complete ring by the Evesham bellfounder Michael Bushell. He cast them in 1707. What makes them even rarer, is that the bells themselves are still in totally original condition. They retain their canons, their cast-in crown staples and they are all maidens, ie they have never been tuned. The sound they give when struck is the same as when they came from the moulds. (Badsey back 6, from the same Evesham bellfoundry in 1706, are maidens, too, but their canons were removed when they were rehung in 1950.) St George's bells are hung on one level in the tight-for-space belfry.

There are plans to augment these bells to 5 and I understand much progress with the necessary finances has been made. (Can I make a personal plea? While it is eminently sensible to remove the cast-in crown staples, please retain the canons and please do not retune them; or perhaps gift them to Evesham and have a lighter ring of 5 all on one level…….! Ed)

The Guild has its Minimus Striking Competition at this tower on Saturday 13th September. Form a competing band (it's all good-hearted fun) and come along and ring on these bells while they are still in their original state.