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Established January 17 1881
St. Michael, Chenies, Bucks
East Berks & South Bucks branch of the ODG
St. Michael, Chenies
St. Michael, Chenies ©BM 09 Jun 2004
Dedication: St. Michael, Chenies

Service Ringing: Sun 10.30 - 11.00am

Practice night: Wed 8.00 - 9.15pm. (alt with Sarratt, Herts)

Availability and Restrictions On request for visiting ringers, peals and quarters.

The Bells (6) 9-1-21 - Restored 1953

Access to ringing chamber: Ringing room first floor accessed by spiral staircase of approx 15 steps which is reached by coming through the vestry.

The bell data below as from Chris Pickford via Andrew Bull .

A ring of 6, tenor 9-1-21, diameter 37½”, tuned to Ab.
Bell Weight
cwt-qr-lb
Diameter Strike
note
Date
cast
Founder Foundry
location
Treble 4-0-7 25¼ 1953 Whitechapel London
2 4-3-6 28¾ 1953 Whitechapel London
3 5-3-0 30½ 1953 Whitechapel London
4 6-1-11 32 1953 Whitechapel London
5 7-2-0 34 1953 Whitechapel London
Tenor 9-1-21 37½ 1953 Whitechapel London

Notes:

  1. Some details of the former bells can be found in A.H.Cocks The Church Bells of Buckinghamshire, page 342.
Architecture:

The church of St Michael, Chenies, is situated adjacent to the Manor House.

The parish is part of the Joint Benefice of Chenies and Little Chalfont, Latimer and Flaunden. Patrons are the Duke of Bedford and Lord Chesham.

The first church dedicated to St. Michael was mentioned in the Domesday Book and was almost certainly made of wood and built between 1175 and 1199. The salvaged remains of this, pieces of a C 12th pillar, are displayed at the foot of the pulpit. The font is also C 12th and is an example of the Aylesbury style.

This church was later replaced by a stone and flint building. The present structure was built in the C 15th and is thought to have been constructed by David Phillips, husband of Dame Agnes Cheyne. In his Will he left a sum of money ‘To finish my rebuilding of the Parish Church’.

The Bedford chapel was built in 1556 by Anne, Countess of Bedford. It hold some 20 monuments erected over about 500 years to members of the Russell family, owners of the adjacent Manor House. The earliest is a late 14th century effigy to a Cheyne and his wife, the most recent to the twelfth Duke who died in 1953. A complete list can be found in Pevsner's 'Buckinghamshire'.

By the 1700s the church was in a very bad state of repair. Records testify to the fact that the chancel roof had collapsed and the chancel had been closed.

It was Lord Wroithsely Russell who set about repairing the church in 1825 and was responsible for many improvements such as the wooden floor in the body of the church.

During the 1890s the original flat roof of the church, which rested on the lower supports visible in the walls, was raised to its present height and a west entrance was added in what is now the vestry.

Windows: All the windows are Victorian except for a small piece of C 15th stained glass depicting a figure kneeling. The pulpit dates from 1640 and was originally three-tiered but now only the top is original. In Puritan times there is a record of one sermon lasting five hours!

Various brasses: Removed from the floor in the Victorian restoration and mounted on the walls for their preservation. The first Rector of Chenies was John de Chednuit, an early version of Cheyne, Cheyney and now Chenies. The Cheyney family lived at the Manor and presented the Rector to the Living. Chenies passed through marriage to the Russell family, who later became the Dukes of Bedford. The old entrance to the Cheyne vault can be seen on the outside south wall.

The Revd. Wriothsly Russell came to the parish in 1826 aged 25 and devoted his life to it. He raised funds for major repairs to the church, including the chancel. Pews were installed and the Long Room opened for parish meetings. He started a school in the Rectory and persuaded his half brother, the Duke of Bedford, to build the village school. He also started an orphanage for boys in what are now the Platt Cottages and opened the new burial ground opposite the church.

From A Brief History, available in the church, 20p.

The Clock:

The clock is by Joyce of Whitchurch, Salop 1912. There is one hammer to pull off before ringing.

Points of interest in church:

Bedford Chapel built 1556 – private mausoleum of the Russell family, later Earls and finally Dukes of Bedford. The chapel is not open to the pubic but can be glimpsed through glass doors.

Church facilities: Toilet in vestry which you come through to visit the bells.

Travel Details: OS Grid Ref: TQ016984

Eating Places: 2 pubs, ‘Bedford Arms’ and ‘Red Lion’ both within easy walking distance

Local points of interest for non ringers: Chenies Manor House is adjacent to the church. The house and gardens are open to the public 2.00 – 5.00 p.m. mid-week.

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