WDCRA Southern Branch Tour

The tour took place on Saturday 20th September 2008. After a pretty poor summer we were in luck, the weather forecast said that we should have a nice day. The WDCRA Southern Branch quite a large geographical area and the tour was in the next county, so the meeting point was the first tower in Alcester.

All the towers on this tour are in Warwickshire.

Driving Directions


photo of St Nicholas Church, Alcester
St Nicholas

09:15 - 10:00 St Nicholas

Alcester is only 15 minutes drive from home so I had no problem getting there on time. St Nicholas Church is in the middle of the town and finding a parking space on the street could be tricky on a Saturday so I used a car park. There is one that is a short walk west of the High Street but must be driven to from the North off School Road. The ringing room is reached by climbing a wooden spiral staircase that is not in great condition. The entrance to the staircase is outside the South face of the tower. The ringing room is a good size with windows on three sides and half-panelled walls. There are 8 bells which can also be chimed.

Eventually 15 ringers appeared and some ringing was done. I still do not know any methods on 8 bells so contented myself with Rounds, Call Changes and Plain Hunt. While sitting listening to others ringing Grandsire Triples I became aware of how much the tower was moving.


photo of All Saints, Sherbourne
All Saints

10:30 - 11:15 All Saints

There is plenty of room to park near the Church which is very impressive for a small village. The Church was built in Victorian times and is an excellent state of repair and the churchyard is immaculate. When we arrived there was no one to let us in. Later in the day there was to be a village fete and it was thought that our contact was likely to be involved in setting it up so off someone went to try and find him. This was the case and a little later they returned with our contact who opened up for us. The ringing room is reached by climbing a stone spiral staircase that starts inside the tower. The 6 bells are quite heavy and it is difficult to find a position to ring some of the bells. Bell #2 seemed to be particularly difficult. I managed a Touch of Plain Bob Doubles on bell #4. Cambridge and Stedman was also rung.


photo of St Peter's Church, Barford
St Peter
, Barford

11:30 - 12:15 St Peter

It is only a short distance to travel to Barford. There is plenty of space to park on the side of road in Church Street. I have rung here once before. The tower is a solid square structure on the West end of the church. The ringing room is reached by climbing a fairly short spiral staircase accessed form inside the tower. The gallery ring area is very pleasant providing room to sit for those not ringing, it has an arched window in the West wall and a wooden railing across a larger arch overlooking the nave to the East. There are 6 bells and they are quite light and proved tricky to ring for the more inexperienced among us.I rang some Rounds, Call Changes and Plain Bob Doubles that was not completed. The experienced among us seemed to have no difficulty and performed a Touch of Grandsire Doubles, London and Stedman.

A booking for lunch had been made at the Crown Inn in Harbury which is right next door to All Saints Church. I didn't eat as I had brought a snack but I did join those who were eating in a drink. The food looked pretty good and everyone who ate said they enjoyed what they had ordered.


photo of All Saints, Harbury
All Saints
, Harbury

14:15 - 15:00 All Saints

There is parking on the streets around the Church but not a lot of it. The Church is set in the middle of a small churchyard and was built in the 13th century. The ringing room is reached by climbing a spiral staircase that you enter from inside the tower. There are 8 bells that proved to be very nice to ring. I rang some Rounds and Call Changes. In addition, Grandsire Triples and Yorkshire were also rung.


photo of St Peter, Wellesbourne
St Peter
, Wellesbourne

15:25 - 16:10 St Peter

Wellesbourne is a large village and has more than one Church though only one with bells. There is room to park near the Church in Church Street, but not a lot. This was our first, and only, ground floor ring of the tour. It is a very nice room with a large stained glass arched window facing West and another glassed arch looking towards the nave. I rang some Rounds and Call Changes and Plain Hunt. Others rang Stedman Triples and Single Oxford. The sound of the bells was surprisingly quiet in the ringing room.

Also, important to those arranging tours, it has toilets.


photo of All Saints Church, Chadshunt
All Saints
, Status

photo of All Saints Church, Chadshunt
All Saints
, Chadshunt

16:30 - 17:15 All Saints

All Saints Church is no longer used and is maintained by The Churches Conservation Trust. The fabric of the Church is maintained and the bells can be rung in daylight, there is no electricity. The churchyard was wild and could not have been tended very recently. There is an entrance to the churchyard from the Kineton to Gaydon road but parking would be tricky. We were asked to park on a track that runs parallel to the road between the Church and Chadshunt Manor. The Church is not easy to see as it is surrounded by large trees.

When we arrived the Church was, for the second time today, still locked. Whoever had agreed to unlock the Church for us did not do so and we were unable to contact anyone to open up. We decided to move on to the next location.


photo of St James, Alveston
St James
, Alveston

17:40 - 18:25 St James

It is not a particularly "pretty" church but, like Sherbourne, a very smart church built in early Victorian times. I managed to park on the street beside the Church. The ringing room is reached by climbing a short staircase (not spiral) that leads to a large balcony that connects to the ringing room. The area has a glass screen that looks over the nave and provides a lot of space. There are lots of space to ring the 6 bells and our host told us that they did have plans to add a couple more but that plan was shelved for now. The whole space was light and airy with painted walls. Our numbers had dwindled by the time we reached this, our last Church. I rang a Touch of Plain Bob Doubles on bell #4 while others rang Plain Bob Minor, and Cambridge Minor. We ended with a Touch of Grandsire Doubles with me on the treble. The bells that I rang were easy to ring but the arrangement of bells was a little odd with bells #1 to #4 being in a pretty straight line. Perhaps it would look more balanced if they had the 8 bells.

On reflection, it was a rather nice day. The weather was lovely, lots of blue sky and no rain. I enjoyed the experience of ringing different towers and have hopefully learned something from it. Ringing on 8 bells is good practice and differs more than might be expected from ringing 6. Hopefully it will not be too long before I develop some confidence with 8 bells and move on to learning my first Triples method.

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