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St. Mary the Virgin, Charlbury, Oxon
Chipping Norton branch of the ODG
St. Mary the Virgin, Charlbury
St. Mary the Virgin, CharlburyęKMC 3 May 2004
Dedication: St. Mary the Virgin, Charlbury

Service Ringing: Sun 9.15 am

Practice night: Wed 7.30 pm

The Bells (6) 14-0-0#

Access to ringing chamber: Access to the bells is from inside the church or through a small back door, then up a wooden Jacobean spiral staircase (see picture below) of 43 steps giving good views of the church below.

The Bells are a complete set cast by Rudhall of Gloucester and installed in 1716. They were rehung in an oak frame by Bond of Burford in 1905 and fully restored in 1982 by Whites of Appleton. This included new headstocks, clappers, SKF bearings and repaired wheels and guides.

Being a heavy set at the top of a tall slender tower they are not the easiest of bells to ring but their sound repays all the effort. They go much better since 1982 and now we've sorted out the ropes can be rung well with confidence.

The following information comes from F.Sharpe The Church Bells of Oxfordshire. He last visited the tower in 1948.

A ring of 6; tenor 14-0-0#, diameter 43”, tuned to F
Bell Weight
cwt-qr-lb
Strike
Note
Date
cast
Founder Foundry
location
Inscription
Treble 5-0-0# D 1716 Abraham Rudhall I Gloucester PEACE & GOOD NEIGHBOVRHOOD [D2] A[bell]R 1716 [Border D2]
2 6-0-0# C 1716 Abraham Rudhall I Gloucester PROSPERITY TO THIS TOWN & PARISH [D8] A[bell]R 1716 [Border D8]
3 7-0-0# Bb 1716 Abraham Rudhall I Gloucester GOD PRESERVE THE CHVRCH OF ENGLAND [C5] A[bell]R 1716 [Border C5]
4 8-0-0# A 1716 Abraham Rudhall I Gloucester ABR: RVDHALL OF GLOVCESTER CAST VS ALL 1716 [Border C5]
5 10-0-0# G 1716 Abraham Rudhall I Gloucester PROSPERTITY TO ALL OVR BENEFACTORS [D2] A[bell]R 1716 [Border C5]
Tenor 14-0-0# F 1716 Abraham Rudhall I Gloucester WM: RYMAN THO: COOKE IN: ROGERS EDWD: BRAIN CHVRCH WARDENS A[bell]R 1716 [Border C5]

Notes:

  1. [bell] is the Founder’s mark
Architecture

The following information comes from the Chipping Norton branch website.

Charlbury is a thriving small town on the edge of the Cotswolds with a variety of shops and a post office. It has a railway station with a good service to London Paddington and is therefore popular as a rural commuter location. There is always something happening with many local societies and an annual street fair.

local pub
This 'Bell Hotel' near the church is typical of village houses.
ęKMC 3 May 2004

The church was begun in the 12th century with add-ons of various dates. It was recently re-ordered when the wooden floor had to be replaced. The altar was relocated to the west end, see photo on the left below. The result is a light welcoming church with, we hope, an open and accessible feel. Many of the original features have been retained, including a dedication to a previous Vicar who was one of the translators of the King James Bible.

spiral staircase
Access to the ringing chamber is up 43 steps of a Jacobean wooden spiral staircase at the end of the nave in the corner of the tower.

Ringers behind the altar waiting to ascend.
Photo taken on the 2004 Guild Ringing Day. ęKMC 3 May 2004
sundial
Sundial on buttress ęKMC 3 May 2004


The Clock:

The clock is a 6 foot Flatbed clock with a 14 foot pendulum; it has four faces all with two hands. The clock does both chime and strike with separate hammers for the two operations. The mechanism is located in the tower one story above the ringing chamber (the bells are one story further up). The clock was made and installed in 1885 by Sainsbury’s of Walthamstowe for the then Vicar of Charlbury, Charles Frederick West. It was restored by T H Waites and Reeds Ltd in 1976.

Peter Kenrick

Church facilities: toilet

Travel Details: OS Grid Ref: SP356194

Public Transport: Railway station on the Oxford-Worcester line

Return to the Chipping Norton Branch listings page

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