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All Saints’, Chilton, Oxon
Old North Berks branch of the ODG
All Saints’, Chilton
All Saints’, Chilton with the traditional Christmas tree on top.
This was the first time we welcomed ONB Branch members
to help us ring in the New Year on the newly restored bells;
the rededication service was held a week later. İKMC 1 Jan 2001
Dedication: All Saints’, Chilton

Service Ringing: Sun 8.45

Practice night: Thu 7.30 - 9pm joint with Harwell tower, weeks 1,3 in Harwell, 2,4 in Chilton, contact tower correspondent for where we are in the 5th week (if any) of the month

Availability and Restrictions One visit per month which may include one peal per year. Requests should be confirmed in writing or by email at least 6 weeks in advance.

The Bells (6) 7-2-3

The Bells were restored for the millennium; we rang a few rounds on 31 Dec 2000; the rededication service was held on 7th Jan 2001. Access to ringing chamber: Short (12 steps) metal spiral staircase from vestry, enter the church through door of the western extension.

The following information comes from a framed notice of White’s of Appleton, produced for the 2000 restoration. The inscriptions were noted while the bells were on the ground.

A ring of 6; tenor 7-2-3, diameter 359/16”, tuned to G
Bell Weight
Diameter Strike
Founder Foundry
treble 3-0-9 253/8 E 1892 Mears & Stainbank Whitechapel MEARS & STAINBANK, WHITECHAPEL FOUNDRY, LONDON
2 3-1-1 261/16 D 1892 Mears & Stainbank Whitechapel MEARS & STAINBANK, WHITECHAPEL FOUNDRY, LONDON
3 3-3-23 271/16 C 1710 William & Robert Corr Aldbourne © PETER LEWSON & WILLIAM PAYNE
(L)  :::::::::::  C  :::::::::::  W  :::::::::::  J7J0
4 4-1-9 285/16 B 1623 Ellis Knight I Reading LET YOVAR HOPE BE X THE LORD EK X623
5 6-3-4 327/16 A 1665 Ellis Knight &
Henry Knight II
tenor 7-2-3 359/16 G 1892 Mears & Stainbank Whitechapel MEARS & STAINBANK, WHITECHAPEL FOUNDRY, LONDON
© represents a coin; (L) is a leaf pattern

Millennium restoration

A joint project between the village Parish Council and the Parochial Church Council raised money to restore the bells to celebrate the millennium. Whites of Appleton organised the work between June and December 2000. The Bells were retuned at the Whitechapel foundry.
Bells in Whites
The newly mounted bells in Whites workshop.
Brian White is reading from the book by the top left corner of the frame,
with the Rector Rev. C.J.Stott on his right.

İKMC 4 Nov 2000

In addition to tuning, the cast-iron staples for the clappers were drilled out and the canons removed from the three bells of 1892. The old bells have canon-retaining headstocks. The rest of the following information was provided by Whites of Appleton, Church Bell Hangers:
“After many years of dereliction the tower was restored and the six bells re-tuned and rehung with new ringing fittings in a new cast iron bell frame in A.D. 2000.”

Early history

The earliest bell was the old tenor cast in the 14th century in the Wokingham foundry, with the inscription:

A.H. Cocks The Church Bells of Buckinghamshire 1897

Three more bells were added in 1623, 1665 and 1710. They were housed in a wooden belfry in 1800. By the middle of the 19th century the old tenor was cracked and lay on the ground unringable. Church restoration then included the building of a stone tower in 1847. Bell restoration waited until 1892 when the Rev A.T.Morland organised fund raising to repair the bells and buy a new church clock.

The following are transcriptions of the entries from the ‘Day Book’ of the Whitechapel Foundry of 1892 and give you an idea of the cost of restoring bells in the 19th century:

31st July 1892Old Bells Received
Order no. 505,Chilton 4 old bells
7-3-24, 7-0-11, 4-2-1, 4-1-0 (cwt-qr-lb)
sent here for tuningsay 24cwt at £5 10/- £132
24th September 1892Order no. 505
Chilton Church Bells To recasting Tenor Bell
New bell 8-1-3@ £5 12/- per cwt £46 7/-
less old 7-3-24
wastage @3lb/cwt0-0-24
total 7-3-0@£3 10/- per cwt -£27 2/6 £19 4/6
2 Trebles3-2-11, 3-3-21
total 7-2-4@£5 12/- per cwt£42 4/-
Tuning the old Bells£  2 -/-
Carriage on old bells to London £  2 -/-
Total cost£ 65 8/6

The Clock

The clock was made by Payne and installed in 1892 when it cost £82-10-0. The expense was met by local fundraising recorded in the '1892 Church Bells and Clock Accounts'. The clock mechanism is in an intermediate floor between the ringing chamber and the belfry. It was converted to electric winding at the restoration of 2000 when the clock hammer was moved to strike the hours on bell 5, and the two clock faces regilded.

clock mechanism
The clock mechanism İKMC 29 Sep 2005

One clock hammer should be pulled off before ringing.

Points of interest in church
  • A 12th century nave, with a 13th century south aisle and an old nine sided stone font. A two floor extension was added in the late 1960s.
  • Two marble monuments to 18th Century residents, Richard Knapp (1656 - 1716) and Adam Head (1649 - 1729)
  • Blocked Norman doorway on North side of the aisle
  • 80 embroidered kneelers depicting village life and occupations in the 1960s
  • Oldest tombstone in churchyard dates from 1551, near the priest's door on the S side of the chancel.

Church facilities:
  • play Children's play area with toys in church extension,
  • toilet Toilet adjacent to it,
  • kitchen Kitchen in church extension,
  • large playground with swings etc., adjacent to the Village Hall car park Car Park to the west of the church

Travel Details: OS Grid Ref: SU489859
Adjacent to the A34 but only an exit/entrance to the South. From the North leave A34 at the Milton interchange, follow signs to Wantage but at the roundabout at Rowstock Corner carry straight on up the hill, past the main gate of the Atomic Energy Authority establishment on the right, pass the Garden Centre, over the bridge across the A34, over the roundabout and enter Chilton at Townend, signed 'Village Only', opposite the large new 'La Farge cement' building. Carry on round to the right and take the lane signposted 'Village Hall only' just in front of the church, to park in the Village Hall Car Park. Enter the churchyard by the wooden gates on the western side and take the path round to the door in the church extension.
Please do not park in the road in front of the church.

Public Transport: A few buses during the day run by Thames Travel or the Newbury Bus Company, none in the evenings.

Eating Places:

The Rose and Crown village pub at other end of main street (a short walk from the church) provides bar snacks and pub meals as well as alcoholic drinks.
Chilton Garden Centre has restaurant serving coffee, light lunches and afternoon teas but no alcohol. It is the other side of the A34, near the slip road from the South.

Local points of interest for non ringers:

  • Chilton Garden Centre
  • Several named Green Lanes pass through the village; the Ridgeway National Trail is a mile to the South.
  • Chilton Field, the flat area West of the village has been used for many occupations starting with sheep grazing and race horse training, later:
    • The Golden Mile stone commemorates William of Orange who camped here on his way to Oxford to accept the English throne
    • D-Day memorial stone still stands at the end of the runway of the old RAF airfield from which troops took off for the liberation of Europe in 1944
    • The Atomic Energy Research Establishment built the first nuclear reactor to operate in England; now there are more Scientific Establishments; the CCLRC welcomes groups of visitors (by appointment only). and the Diamond Light Source.

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