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St. Mary, Banbury, Oxon
Banbury branch of the ODG
St. Mary, Banbury
St. Mary, BanburyİBM 20 May 2004

Dedication: St. Mary, Banbury

Service Ringing: Sun 8.45

Practice night: Wed (1st) 7.30pm

Availability and Restrictions Not weekdays

Architecture

Most of this information comes from the Banbury Church website and from the reference works listed below.
Unlike most parish churches the history of St. Mary's doesn't disappear into the mists of antiquity.

It is a Georgian building erected in the late 1700s replacing a mediæval church which had fallen into disrepair. The new church and pepper pot tower were completed in 1822. Designed by Samuel Pepys Cockerill, it is thought to be modelled on Wren's St. Stephen's, Walbrook.

The Treacle Bible
The Bishops' Bible was first published in 1586 and is sometimes known as the 'treacle' Bible because of a text in Jeremiah viii 22. Instead of the more usual Authorized Version which says 'Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no phisition there?' this Bible substitutes 'treyacle' for 'balm'. The word 'treacle' properly means an antidote against the bite of wild beasts. The Bible was donated to the parish by John Alington in 1705 and is considerably older than the building itself. This information is copied from the text placed on the glass case enclosing the Bible.

Treacle Bible
Treacle Bible İBM May 2004

Chancel Paintings
Above the High Altar - in the dome of the apse, is depicted the Vision of the Throne of God from Revelation chapter 4: the rainbow, the four and twenty elders, the four living creatures and the seven lamps symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Behind the High Altar are the figures of the Twelve Apostles with appropriate symbols of their calling or martyrdom.

Stained Glass
The upper windows in the gaIlery represent scenes from the life of Jesus - 30 illustrations in all, while the lower windows illustrate 10 of his parables. The detailed background in all the windows well repays attention.
In the second upper window on the north side is the well-known Arctic window in memory of the explorer Admiral Sir George Back, which contains sketches from his notebook - H.M.S. Terror caught in the ice, Eskimos, polar bears, seals, reindeer, walrus and a surround of snow flakes.

The Resurrection Chapel
This chapel on the left perpetuates the name of the Chapel from the mediaeval church. It contains several war memorials and a Lamp of Brotherhood brought from Monte Cassino in 1964, one of 84 throughout the world and the first in this country.

Organ
Built by Byfield, Wilcox and Knight in 1765 for the old church. Since then it has been heavily modified several times. It bears the name of Snetzler but there is no evidence for this attribution. It is not the only Byfield organ linked to the name of the famous organ builder.

Outside the church
Jonathan Swift hints in the preface to the 1726 edition of Gulliver's Travels that he had taken the name of Gulliver from tombstones in the Churchyard at Banbury. Tombstones bearing this name have not survived from that period but there are modern examples present.

Gulliver memorial
Gulliver memorial İBM May 2004
The Bells

Access to ringing chamber: 1st floor, spiral staircase 56 steps from porch. Access via West door.

The following information comes from Andrew Bull
The inscriptions are taken from F. Sharpe The Church Bells of Oxfordshire.He last visited in 1948.

Frame: Metal 'H'-type.
Gear: Cast-iron headstocks, Fixed steel gudgeons, Self-aligning ball-bearings, Traditional English-type wheels, Hastings-type stays.

A ring of 10, tenor 17-0-9, diameter 46½”, tuned to E, with two additional semitone bells and a Sanctus
Bell Weight
cwt-qr-lb
Diameter
(inches)
Strike
note
Date
cast
Founder Foundry
location
Inscription
Treble 4-2-19 25 G# 1930 John Taylor & Co. Loughborough [border all round]
GIVEN BY
THOMAS HENRY BOOTE
AND HIS DAUGHTER ALICE ELIZABETH
IN MEMORY OF
ELIZABETH (WIFE)
AND DOROTHEA AND CLARICE (DAUGHTERS)
BANBURY
1930
[Loughborough foundry mark]
2 4-3-3 26½ F# 1930 John Taylor & Co. Loughborough [border all round]
THIS AND TWO OTHER NEW BELLS
WITH THE CLOCK AND CHIMES
WERE ERECTED TO COMMEMORATE THE
DIAMOND JUBILEE
OF
QUEEN VICTORIA
1837-1897
THIS BELL WAS PRESENTED BY
JOHN PHILLIPS BARFORD J.P.
1897
[Loughborough foundry mark]
RECAST 1930.
3 5-0-10 28 E 1930 John Taylor & Co. Loughborough THIS BELL WAS GIVEN BY FREDERICK EARL OF GUILDFORD TO THE BOROUGH OF BANBURY JOHN BRIANT HERTFORD [N6]
FECIT 1820
[Loughborough foundry mark]
RECAST 1930.
4 5-2-8 29 D# 1930 John Taylor & Co. Loughborough JOHN PAIN JAMES HILL THOMAS NASBY C : WARDENS [N6] JOHN BRIANT HERTFORD FECIT 1820
[Loughborough foundry mark]
RECAST 1930.
5 5-3-8 30½ C# 1930 John Taylor & Co. Loughborough GEORGE :-: LUCAS :: JAMES :-: LANE :: SAMUELL :: GARDNER :-: CHURCH
WARDENS :-: MATTHEW :-: BAGLEY :-: MADE :-: MEE :-: 1753 IH
[Loughborough foundry mark]
RECAST 1930.
6 6-2-22 32½ B 1930 John Taylor & Co. Loughborough RECAST 1897 [H8] AGAIN RECAST 1930 BY JOHN TAYLOR & CO. LOUGHBOROUGH.
7 7-2-12 34½ A 1930 John Taylor & Co. Loughborough JOHN : PAIN : JOHN : FRY : JOHN : PEARSON : CHURCH :-:-: WARDENS :-:-:
MATTHEW :-:-: BAGLEY :-:-:-:-: MADE :-:-:-:-: MEE :-:-:-:-:-:-:-: J779 -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
[Loughborough foundry mark]
RECAST 1930.
8 9-2-11 36¾ G# 1930 John Taylor & Co. Loughborough HENRY [B10] BAGLEY [B10] MADE [B10] MEE [B10] 1669 [B10]
[Loughborough foundry mark]
RECAST 1930.
GIVEN IN MEMORY OF
SARAH CARTER
BY GEORGE CARTER (HER HUSBAND)
HIS FAMILY
AND ELIZA FOSKETT (HER SISTER)
1930.
9 41 13-0-6 F# 1930 John Taylor & Co. Loughborough RECAST 1852 [H8] AGAIN RECAST 1930 BY JOHN TAYLOR & CO. LOUGHBOROUGH.
Tenor 17-0-9 46 E 1930 John Taylor & Co. Loughborough THAT [P1] ALL [P1] MAY [P1] COME [P1] AND [P1] NON [P1] MAY [P1] STAY [P1] AT [P1] HOME [P1] I [P1] RING [P1] TO [P1] SERMON [P1] WITH [P1] A [P1]
LVSTY [P1] BOOME PHILLIP [B7] STYLE [B7] GENT [B7] IOHN [P1] WEST [B7] THOMAS [P1] ABRAHAM [B7] IVNER [P3] THOMAS [B7] SVTTON [P1] [Cross A3]
CHVRCHWARDENS 1667
H[P2]B
[Royal Arms]
[Loughborough foundry mark]
RECAST 1930.
The smaller text at the end of the inscription is copied exactly
as on page 31 of F.Sharpe's Church Bells of Oxfordshire.'
The Sanctus bell is hung for chiming only
Sanctus 1-1-0#     1773 Pack & Chapman Whitechapel G. DUNTCHES T. PAIN J. WHEATLEY CH: WARDENS 1773
Two semitone bells hung dead above the others. They are used in the Carillon.
4flat 5-2-15 29¾ D 1930 John Taylor & Co. Loughborough CAST 1897 [H8] RECAST 1930 BY JOHN TAYLOR & CO. LOUGHBOROUGH.
6flat 6-3-11 33½ A# 1930 John Taylor & Co. Loughborough CAST 1897 [H8] RECAST 1930 BY JOHN TAYLOR & CO. LOUGHBOROUGH.

Notes
Information from the Banbury Church website:

  1. In 1928 the forces exerted on the tower by the bells made the ring unsafe. All eight bells were removed and recast into a lighter peal of ten bells. In 1930 they were returned to be re-hung in a cast iron frame on steel girders lower down the tower. The inscription originally on the oldest bell, the tenor cast in 1667, has been retained on its replacement. Other original dates are retained.
  2. The two semi-tones are present as part of the Carillon which chimes 21 Victorian tunes at 9 am, 12 noon, 3 pm and 6 pm.
Details of the earlier bells (tuned to D) may be found in F.Sharpe, The Church Bells of Oxfordshire except for the weights which were as follows, (Taylor Metal & Brass books scrapping weights):

Bell Weight
cwt-qr-lb
Bell Weight
cwt-qr-lb
Bell Weight
cwt-qr-lb
Bell Weight
cwt-qr-lb
1## 5-3-19 treble 6-2-8 2 8-0-3 2flat 7-3-2
3 8-0-3 4 8-0-1 4flat 9-2-2 5 10-2-9
6 11-1-2 7 15-3-23 tenor 21-0-23
  1. They were restored for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 when the carillon was added.
  2. They were restored and augmented to 8 in 1820 when they were hung in the new church.
  3. There were 6 bells when the old church was demolished ~1793.
  4. The earliest recorded was in 1594.

References

  1. "St Mary's Church Banbury - A historical guide" gives a more detailed review of the Church and its history. It is available in the gift shop at the rear of the nave.
  2. Centre for Banburyshire Studies in Banbury Library holds two key books on the history of the Church:
    • The Parish Church of St Mary's Banbury by Draper & Potts (1907)
    • The Building & Furnishing of St Mary's Church Banbury by Nicholas Cooper (1972).
  3. Historical pictures of St Mary's can be purchased from the Centre for Oxfordshire Studies located in the Westgate Library, Central Oxford.

Recent Changes During the winter 2001-2 the chancel was extended forward to create a stage. Facilities for those with disabilities were added. Emergency lighting and toilets were added and the church was redecorated. St. Mary's is now both a place of worship and a resource to the community for performing arts.

Church facilities: toilet

Travel Details: OS Grid Ref: SP454405
Meter parking. Sometimes visitors can use the (locked) adjacent free car park.

Local points of interest for non ringers: Banbury Cross in the main street was erected in Victorian times because of the much older nursery rhyme ‘Ride a Cock Horse’. A statue of the ‘Fine Lady’ is near the cross.


Return to the Banbury Branch listings page

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