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Stinchcombe (St Cyr)

St Cyr, Stinchcombe - click for a larger version

Name or Dedication: St Cyr

Location: Stinchcombe, Gloucestershire

Grid Reference: ST729988

This tower originally held just one bell, which in 1882 became the tenor to a new ring of six in F when Revd Cooper gave five bells in memory of his mother. However, on the afternoon of 22nd November 1883 the spire was struck by lightning and fell to the ground, the fourth bell being broken be falling masonry. It was recast in 1884. The spire was probably restored by the architect J.L. Pearson, who had restored the rest of the church in 1855 with the exception of the tower and porch. These are the oldest parts of the church, and probably date from the late 14th Century.

In 1967 the tower was found to be cracked, and the architect decreed that no further ringing should take place. Money was raised to restore the tower, and it was decided to rehang the bells in a new metal frame to lessen the risk of further damage to the tower. An order was placed with the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and all looked well until a crack was discovered in the crown of the tenor when it was removed from the tower. The parish felt it couldn't afford to have the bell recast, and contemplated rehanging the bells dead for electronic chiming.

There was much opposition to this proposal, particularly from the Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association, and the application was eventually heard in a Consistory Court in Gloucester on 19th September 1969 before the Chancellor of the Gloucester Diocese. He wisely gave no judgement, but instructed the Archdeacon of Gloucester to invigilate between the opposing parties to find a solution. A decision was finally made to rehang the bells for full-circle ringing, as well as installing an electronic chiming machine, and the cracked tenor would be recast into a new treble to form a lighter ring of six in G. The fourth was also recast to bring it into tune with the rest of the ring, the previous bell having been tuned to Bb.They were hung with cast iron headstocks in a two-tier cast iron and steel frame on RSJs, the Warner bells having their canons removed and being quarter turned.

The bells were rededicated on 18th August 1971, however later that evening the spire was once again struck by lightning, this time leaving the fabric unharmed but putting the electronic chiming machine out of action. It was soon repaired, but was out of action again in April 2006. There is a clock in the chamber above the ground floor Ringing Room. Weight-driven and automatically wound, its dials are on the east and west walls of the tower. The hour hammer is released electronically from the Ringing Room.

Bells hung for full-circle ringing

The bells of St Cyr, Stinchcombe
BellWeightDiameterNoteFounder Date
14-3-05 27¾ inE Whitechapel Bell Foundry Ltd 1971
24-2-13 29¼ inD John Warner & Sons 1882
35-1-19 30½ inC John Warner & Sons 1882
46-0-24 33 inB Whitechapel Bell Foundry Ltd 1971
58-0-15 36¼ inA John Warner & Sons 1884
69-3-20 38¼ inG John Warner & Sons 1882

Source: "Church Bells of Gloucestershire" (Mary Bliss & Frederick Sharpe, 1986). Further information from "St Cyr's Church, Stinchcombe – A Brief History" (Parochial Church Council, 1991).

Where the exact weight of a bell is known, it is given in the traditional way using the British imperial units of Hundredweight, Quarters and Pounds (cwt-qtr-lb) in which there are 28 pounds in a quarter, four quarters in a hundredweight, and 20 hundredweight in a ton (one hundredweight is equal to approximately 50.8 kilograms). However, if only an approximate or calculated weight is known, it is given to the nearest quarter of a hundredweight.

A bell's diameter is measured across its mouth (open end) at the widest point and is given in inches (to the nearest quarter of an inch), one inch being equal to approximately 2.54 centimetres.