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St. Mary the Virgin, Stoke Mandeville, Bucks
Chiltern branch of the ODG
St. Mary the Virgin, Stoke Mandeville
St. Mary the Virgin, Stoke Mandeville©PB 5 Apr 2004
Dedication: St. Mary the Virgin, Stoke Mandeville

Service Ringing: Most Sundays, 8.30

Practice night: Tue 7.30pm

Availability and Restrictions: On application, minimum of 1 week‘s notice

The Bells (8) 8-1-10 - last refurbished 1992 by Berry of Malvern

Access to ringing chamber: 1st floor, access by steep iron staircase and trap door.

According to The Ringing World (Bell News), 19 May 1911, page 111, in 1910 the old treble of five was recast, a new treble added to make six and all rehung in a new iron frame by James Barwell of Birmingham.

The Bells were last refurbished in 1992, by A.C.Berry of Malvern, Worcs. The work comprised mostly woodwork, bell wheels, pulleys and stays, with a few missing nuts and bolts. All bells are on roller-bearings.

Frame: two-tier, 1 and 2 above. Back six hang in iron H-frame by Barwell.
Gear: Barwell iron headstocks on back four, Mears & Stainbank fittings on front four.

A ring of 8 bells; tenor 8-1-10, tuned to Ab
Bell Weight
Founder Foundry
treble 3-1-4 23¾ Ab 1929 Mears & Stainbank Whitechapel GOD IS LOVE
2 3-1-14 23¾ G 1929 Mears & Stainbank Whitechapel JESUS IS LORD
3 3-2-10 25¾ F 1945 Mears & Stainbank Whitechapel IN EXCELSIS GLORIA
4 3-3-0# 26¾ Eb 1910 James Barwell Birmingham HONOUR GOD
5 4-3-2 29¼ Db 1929 Mears & Stainbank Whitechapel PRAYES THE LORD I633
6 5-0-0# 31¼ C 1913 James Barwell Birmingham ST. MARY THE VIRGIN
7 7-0-0# 33 Bb 1910 James Barwell Birmingham TE DEUM LAUDAMUS
Tenor 8-1-10 36 Ab 1952 Mears & Stainbank Whitechapel none



  • In 1886 the five old bells and most of the frame were moved from the old church. They were hung left handed in two tiers because of the design of the tower. The 3 smaller bells were in the upper tower with the others a long way below with a floor in between. Access to the ringing chamber was by a ladder in the porch.
  • In 1910 a further bell, the third of the current ring, was added. This caused the roof to sway during ringing.
  • The roof was dismantled, the tower reconstructed, the third recast and two more bells added in 1928.

The table below shows details of the older bells before recasting in 1929, using the bell numbers of the current ring. The older inscriptions are copied from A.H.Cocks The Church Bells of Buckinghamshire, 1897.

Bell Weight
Founder Foundry
3 ?   F 1910 Mears & Stainbank Whitechapel IN EXCELSIS GLORIA
4 ? 27½ Eb 1633 Ellis Knight I Reading HONAR GOD I633
5 ? 29 Db 1633 Ellis Knight I Reading PRAYES THE LORD I633
6 ? 32¼ C 1730 Edward Hall Drayton Parslow EDWARD HALL MADE ME 1730 WI FORD IO SMITH C W
7 ? 34 Bb 1659 Henry Knight II &
Ellis Knight II
Reading X659
Tenor ? 37½ Ab 1636 Ellis Knight I Reading PRAYES THE LORD I636


  1. The ‘S’ is imprinted backwards in the inscription on bell 6
Points of interest in church:

Most fittings are from the old Norman church built in another, less accessible part of the village and abandoned earlier in the 19th century. The Brudenell monument is to commemorate a local land owning family in the time of the first Queen Elizabeth. The ornate font is 15th Century. The foundation stone of the ‘new‘ church was laid in 1865 by Samuel Wilberforce, son of William Wilberforce. The cost of the entire project was £1,300. The new church was consecrated on 9th July 1886.

Church facilities: Toilet toilet

Travel Details: OS Grid Ref: SP834104

Public Transport: Chiltern Railways, Stoke Mandeville Station 5 minutes walk

Eating Places:
  • The Bell Public House, Lower Road: basic pub food.
  • The Woolpack, Risborough Road: thatched building, cool modern decor. Pasta, pizza, grills.
  • Bucks Goat Farm, Risborough Road: cafe selling snacks and light meals.
Local points of interest for non ringers:

  • Bucks Goat Farm, Risborough Road: animals, gift shop, cafe, excellent art gallery. Within walking distance.
  • Ruins of old church, Risborough Road: footpath off. Surfaced to start off but then becomes heavily overgrown. Within walking distance.
  • Chiltern Brewery, Nash Lee Road, Terrick: Original Ales, English Wines, speciality foods, gifts. 5 minutes drive but well worth a visit.

Return to the Chiltern Branch listings page

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