The oldest surviving ring of six bells in world
St. Swithun’s is one of Worcester’s ancient parishes, but the church was extensively remodelled in early Georgian times.
There is mediaeval masonry in the nave and the core of the tower is of C15th date, but the appearance of the building is a mix of the classical and C18 Gothick styles. The remodelling was undertaken by Thomas and Edward Woodward of Chipping Campden in 1734-6, and the tower has Gothic details like the one at Blockley rebuilt by Thomas Woodward the elder in 1725-7. The Church was closed for regular worship in the 1970s but since 1977 it has been in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust (formerly the Redundant Churches Fund).
The tower is in four stages with a balustrated parapet and crocketed pinnacles. The main entrance to the church is through the west door of the tower. Above is the first floor ringing room, then the old chime room (now containing the bells) and the old bell chamber (still containing the old bellframe) at the level of the louvres. Access to all levels of the tower is by spiral stair in the north east corner.
St Swithun’s ringing is suspended until further notice while the church is being restored.
The bells ringing at St. Swithun’s (3m04s)
The Present Bells
The ring of six bells is in the key of F natural (713Hz or F plus 36 cents)
|1.||Ì IESVS (fleur-de-lis border) BEE (border) OVR (border) GOOD (border) SPEED (border) 1654 (border) / (John Martin’s large heart-shaped mark)|
|2.||Ì SOLI (fleur-de-lis border) DEO (border) GLORIA (border) PAX (border) HOMINIBVS 1654 (border) / (John Martin’s large heart-shaped mark)|
|3.||(Cross) I O H A N N E S (King) C R I S T I (Queen) C A R E (King) M E (Queen) S A L V E (King) S E M P E R (King) C L A R E|
|4.||(Cross) A V E (King) M A R I A (Queen) G R A C I A (Queen) P L E N A (Queen) D O M I N V S (King) T E C V M|
|5.||(Cross) I E S V S (King) N A Z A R E N V S (Queen) R E X (King) I V D E R V M (Queen) F I L I (King) D E I (Queen) M I S E R E R E (King) M E I|
|6.||(Fleur-de-lis border all round) / + MAS SOLLEY OF HIMDLIP GAVE THIS BELL THEOPHILVS ALLYE MAIOR THOMAS HACKETT IOHN LACY 1654 / (arabesque border all round) / CHVRCH WARDENS EDWARD BEARDMORE CLARCK AND REGISTER (fleur-de-lis border) (John Martin’s large heart-shaped mark)|
|Bell||Founder and Date||Diameter||Hz||Note||Cwt.||Qrs.||Lbs.|
|1.||John Martin, 1654||31¾||1200||D||6||2||24|
|2.||John Martin, 1654||32⅝||1068||C||6||2||10|
|3.||Worcester foundry, c.1420||32⅜||952||Bb||6||0||6|
|4.||Worcester foundry, c.1420||35¾||898||A||8||0||12|
|5.||Worcester foundry, c.1420||39¼||801||G||10||2||17|
|6.||John Martin, 1654||44¼||713||F||13||0||21|
There is also a sanctus bell, kept in the tower but unhung. The bell is as follows:
IOHN WALDEN RICHARD BROOKE CHVRCH WARDENS 1720
|Bell||Founder and Date||Diameter||Note||Cwt.||Qrs.||Lbs.|
|1.||Abraham Rudhall II, 1720||16½||E||0||3||2|
Detailed history of the St Swithun bells by Chris Pickford