A record of outings 2017
by Hugh Deam
Mystery Outing by Richard Bennett
Saturday 30th September 2017
Gloucestershire villages with RAF airfields
11:00 South Cerney
All Hallows (6) 9-3-10 in G · Glos GL7 5TT
St Peter (6) 8-1-19 in G · Glos GL7 7EZ
All Saints (6) 9cwt in G · Glos GL7 6AE
14:45 AV8 Cafe
Cotswold Airport · Kemble · Glos GL7 6BA
St Mary V (8) 17-1-2 in E · Glos GL7 4AF
Left to Right: Donna Bennett, Adrian Gray, Ailsa Reid, Hugh Deam, David Parks, Michael Haynes, Colin Taylor, Susan King, Alan Bainbridge, Kathy Xu & Jane Hedges. Not pictured: Christopher Beale, Janice Beale, Jonathon Beale, Richard Bennett, Graham Cane & Harry Cane.
Grandsire Triples, Cambridge Minor, St Clements Minor, Little Bob Minor, Plain Bob Minor & Stedman Doubles.
South Cerney was founded in 999 and derives its name from the River Churn, being situated at the central waterbody of the Cotswold Water Park, an amenity which comprises 140 lakes of varying sizes that have been created by gravel extraction. Besides the leisure aspects, this is also a site of special scientific interest. The 12th century church stands on the site of an earlier Saxon building, with the oldest parts of the present church being the Norman tower and south doorway which features four moulded arches each carved with a different pattern. A spire was added to the tower in the 13th century, but this was struck by lightning in 1857 and had to be dismantled. The earliest bells (3, 4 & 5) are from 1721, Abel Rudhall, Gloucester. Tenor, 1910, H & T Bond, Burford. Second, 1911, Llewellins & James, Bristol. Treble, 1921, Whitechapel.
Rendcomb was noted in the Domesday Survey as Rindecumbe, deriving its name from the Anglo Saxon river name and the valley in which it stands. Since Norman times the lands and manors have been held by prominent landowning families. Rendcomb Park was established in 1544 and comprised some 250 acres at its height. Today it covers around 200 acres, and still incorporates a deer park. Rendcomb College, founded in 1920, is housed in the Italianate mansion of 1865 that was designed by Philip Hardwick for Sir Francis Goldsmith. The 12th century parish church is built on the lower slopes of the hillside adjoining the entrance to Rendcomb Park. A major rebuilding during the 16th century means that essentially only the magnificently carved font remains from Norman times. The bells are rung from the ground floor, with the back three bells dating to around 1456, cast by itinerant London bell-founder John Danyell. The front three bells are all from the Whitechapel foundry (Thomas II Mears) 1841 (2 & 3) and 1842 (Treble). Kemble is a Celtic place-name meaning border or edge, having been documented as Kemele in 682 and Chemele in the Domesday Book. The village is close to the source of the River Thames and also Cotswold Airport, which was formerly known as Kemble Airfield. Originally home to the Air Transport Auxiliary from 1938, it is the period from 1966 to 1983 when the Red Arrows were based here that Kemble is most widely known. For the next ten years the United States Air Force made use of the airfield, but the end of the Cold War saw its conversion to civilian aviation. The present church is built on the site of a 7th century pagan cemetery. The oldest parts of the church are late Norman, with the 13th century tower capped by a spire of 1450. The bells are from various foundries, the fourth being the oldest, cast in Bristol around 1550, the fifth also cast in the city, 1905, Llewellins & James. Second, Edward Neale, Burford, 1676. Third, John Rudhall, Gloucester, 1790. Tenor, John Warner, London, 1869. Treble, Mears & Stainbank, 1953.
Rendcomb · St Peter
Fairford takes its name from a fair (clear) stream, which today is known as the River Coln, having been documented as Fagranforda in 862 and Fareforda in the Domesday Book (1086). In more recent times the town has become most widely known for its aviation connections, the original RAF airfield having come into operation in 1943. Possessing the longest runway in Europe meant that it became the home for the Concorde during the years of test flying prior to it coming into service with British Airways in the mid 1970s. The airfield has for many years now been leased to the United States Air Force, with B-52 Bombers having taken centre stage, although the length of the runway has also meant that it has been utilised as the European landing strip for the Space Shuttle. The parish church dates to the late 15th century, the funding for which came from the local wool merchant, John Tame. The interior of the church is every bit as impressive as one might imagine from the expansive exterior, but undoubtedly the special interest for visitors is the most complete surviving set of medieval stained glass in the country. The bells are rung from the chancel crossing, with the entire set cast in 1927 by Taylor’s of Loughborough.
Fairford · St Mary V
Old North Berks Towers
Monday 4th September 2017
Arranged by Hugh Deam
10:00 East Hendred
St Augustine of Canterbury (6) 22cwt in Eb · Oxon OX12 8LA
St Michael & All Angels (8) 19-0-13 in E · Oxon OX11 9QH
12:30 Style Acre Cafe
Savages Garden Centre · Blewbury · Oxon OX11 9HB
13:45 North Moreton
All Saints (6) 13-0-18 in G · Oxon OX11 9BD
North Moreton · All Saints
Left to Right: Michael Probert, Alison Merryweather-Clarke, Colin Taylor, Hugh Deam, Susan King, David Parks, Simon King, Judy Kirby, Roy Peach & John Hearn. Not pictured: Graham Cane, Harry Cane, Gillian Lloyd, Richard Lloyd & Barry Wateridge.
Cambridge Major / Minor, Plain Bob Major / Minor / Doubles, Stedman Triples / Doubles, Grandsire Triples / Doubles, London Minor, Double Oxford Minor, Single Oxford Minor & St Clements Minor.
East Hendred is situated at the foot of the Berkshire Downs, with the Ridgeway and Icknield Way running through the parish. The twin Hendred villages derive their toponym from the Anglo Saxon description for a stream frequented by hens.
East Hendred in particular contains numerous 14th and 15th century cruck constructed cottages, having at one time been made up of five manors. The most notable Lords of the Manor are the Eyston family who have continually held Hendred House since the 15th century. The pub in the village – The Eyston Arms – gives evidence to their historic influence. The 12th century parish church has a rare working example of a faceless clock, constructed in 1525 by Henry Seymour of Wantage, which not only chimes and strikes, but also every third hour plays the Angel’s Hymn by Orlando Gibbons. The former British Prime Minister, David Cameron and his wife Samantha, were married here in 1996. The Perpendicular Gothic west tower was built around 1450 and has a sundial on its south face. The earliest bell is the fourth, dating to 1545 by John Saunders who was an itinerant bell-founder. Treble – 1674, 3 – 1647, Tenor – 1689, all cast at Knight’s foundry in Reading. Second, 1746, James Bagley, Chacombe. Fifth, 1853, Taylor, Loughborough.
East Hendred · St Augustine of Canterbury
Blewbury was established as an early settlement due to the number of springs that arise at the foot of the Downs. The name describes a hill fort with variegated soil, with documentation as Bleobyrig in 944. Tributaries feed the Mill Brook which leads to the River Thames at Wallingford, with Blewbury Mill widely recognized as being where the properties of blotting paper were first discovered. A network of footpaths are centred on the parish church which was rebuilt at the end of the 11th century. Over the following couple of centuries the church was continually endowed and enriched, particularly with the addition of a sanctuary and a Lady Chapel. The four oldest bells were all cast at the Reading foundry, the earliest being the sixth, 1586, Joseph Carter. The three other bells from the foundry (3 – 1663, 4 & 5, 1689 & 1704) were all cast by the Knight family. Seventh, 1752, Edward Read, Aldbourne. Tenor, 1825, John Hunt, Cholsey. Front two bells, 1906, J. Taylor, Loughborough.
Blewbury · St Michael & All Angels
North Moreton was first recorded in 944, the name describing a farmstead in moorland or marshy ground. In the wake of the Norman conquest the manor rested in the keep of the Stapleton family who were responsible for the building of the 13th century church. A chantry was also constructed for the family close to the church, and Sir Miles Stapleton ordered the addition of a chapel bearing the family name within the church, but he never lived to see its completion as he was killed at the Battle of Bannockburn. All that remains of the chantry are remnants of a moat just to the east of the church. A devastating fire in 1807 destroyed roughly a quarter of the housing in the village, although several 15th to 17th century houses still survive. Long a five bell tower, a new treble was added in 2014, cast at Whitechapel. The third bell (1817, Thomas Mears) and tenor (1591, Joseph Carter) were also cast at Whitechapel. The fourth is from 1654, Richard Keene of Woodstock. Second, Ellis Knight of Reading, 1641. The earliest bell is the fifth, 1350, from a foundry in Wokingham.
Monday 21st August 2017
Organised by David Parks
10:30 Milton Lilbourne
St Peter (6) 10cwt in G · Wilts SN9 5LQ
11:45 Collingbourne Kingston
St Mary (6) 19-0-11 in E · Wilts SN8 3SZ
12:45 The Tipple Inn
High Street · Collingbourne Ducis · Wilts SN8 3EQ
14:15 Collingbourne Ducis
St Andrew (6) 11-3-4 in F# · Wilts SN8 3EN
Collingbourne Kingston · St Mary
Left to Right: Michael Probert, Alison Merryweather-Clarke, Judy Kirby, Graham Cane, Jane Hedges, Donna Bennett, Susan King, David Parkes, Simon King, Paulina Fishman, Harry Cane, John Hearn, John Pusey, Hugh Deam, Colin Taylor & Paul Lucas.
Norwich Minor, Cambridge Minor, Single Oxford Minor, Double Oxford Minor, St Clements Minor, Little Bob Minor, Plain Bob Minor, Stedman & Grandsire.
Milton Lilbourne is situated on the eastern flank of the Vale of Pewsey, overlooked by a Neolithic barrow (Giant’s Grave) which was first excavated in 1867. The manorial affix denotes the de Lilleborne family, Lords of the Manor here from the Norman conquest up until the end of the 12th century when the land and properties were appropriated by Cirencester Abbey. The church is constructed of flint and ashlar, being primarily 12th century, although parts of the interior were destroyed during the Reformation and consequently much within the church is from later centuries. The 15th century west tower contains six bells which are rung from the ground floor, with all bar the third cast in 1789 by Robert II Wells of Aldbourne. The third is from 1906, Llewellins & James, Bristol. We were the last visiting band to ring on the bells as they were shortly due to be out of action as part of a rehang.
Collingbourne Kingston is situated on the upper part of the Bourne Valley and is the largest of four consecutive villages which adjoin the river. The village is set amidst the gentle chalk down-land, in what is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The settlement was noted as Colengaburnam in 903 AD, then Colingburne in the Domesday Book (1086). The name denotes an Anglo-Saxon settlement of the followers of Col or Cola which is located alongside the River Bourne. The 12th century church was originally dedicated to St John the Baptist, but was rededicated to St Mary in 1763. The interior of the church contains several large manorial memorials and effigies. The west tower contains six bells, the three earliest bells (3 – 5) having been cast in 1614 by John Wallis, Salisbury. The other bells were cast at the Loughborough foundry, second – 1890, treble & tenor – 1896. An enjoyable lunch was taken at the Tipple Inn, Collingbourne Ducis, which is an 18th century hostelry that has distinctive interior décor more reminiscent of a Victorian or Edwardian railway inn and which has been refurbished quite recently.
Collingbourne Ducis is the more southerly of the twin Collingbourne villages which practically adjoin one another. The affix denotes early possession here by the Dukes of Lancaster. The parish also includes the hamlets of Cadley and Sunton, the Grade 2 Listed Sunton House being a seven-bay mansion from around 1710. The primarily 13th century parish church was originally dedicated to St Mary, changing dedication in 1786. Alterations during the 14th century included the addition of the tower which was rebuilt in the following century. Two of the great Victorian architects, GE Street and Sir Arthur Blomfield, conducted restoration work on the church in 1856 and 1877 respectively. The bells are rung from the ground floor, the oldest bell being the fifth, cast c.1499 at a foundry in Salisbury. The third is from 1608, John Wallis, also Salisbury. The other bells are all from Taylor’s Loughborough foundry (2 & tenor in 1902, Treble in 1927 & 4 in 1953).
The Tipple Inn
Monday 24th July 2017
Colin Taylor’s outing to The Cotswolds
St Peter (8) 11-2-11 in F# · Glos GL54 5LU
11:00 The White Hart Inn & Rosie’s Bar
High Street · Winchcombe · Glos GL54 5LJ
St Martin of Tours (6) 4-3-8 in D · Glos GL52 9RG
St Nicholas (8) 11-2-24 in F# · Glos GL20 8JU
St Peter (5) 11-0-2 in F# · Glos GL54 5PQ
Before the leaning tower of Woolstone · St Martin of Tours
Left to Right: Hugh Deam, John Hearn, Alison Merryweather-Clarke, Prof. AG Chi, Mrs GN Liu, Harry Cane, Davis Parks, Michael Probert, Kathy Xu, Colin Taylor, Simon King, Lulu, Alan Bainbridge, Susan King, Graham Cane, Barry Wateridge with Darcey & Paul Lucas.
Little Bob Major, Plain Bob Major, Stedman Triples, Grandsire Triples, Cambridge Minor & St Clements.
Winchcombe is situated on the course of the River Isbourne, with its name denoting a valley with a bend. This was a settlement of importance and influence within Mercia as far back as the 5th century, being the county town of Winchcombeshire which existed until the reign of King Canute. The parish church dates to the second half of the 15th century, the exterior being noted for its plethora of grotesques, one of which is widely considered to be the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s wildly eccentric Mad Hatter.
The 6ft long weather-cock atop the tower was transferred here in 1872 from St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol. The majority of the bells were cast at the Gloucester foundry of the Rudhall family: 4 & 5 (1693) / 6 & 7 (1776) / 8 (1759). The front three bells were added by Taylor’s of Loughborough: Treble & 2 (1997) / 3 (1967). Woolstone is one of the county’s more isolated villages, set on a hillside where evidence of a Roman camp has been unearthed. For many centuries the manor has belonged to the Earls of Coventry.
Winchcombe · St Peter
A Mad Hatter
The dedication of the church is to St Martin of Tours, patron saint of soldiers. The 15th century battlemented tower is reputed to lean at a greater angle than the famous tower in Pisa due to its location on Crane Hill, which has a high level of clay and thus incurs unpredictable shifts. In 1970, Italian engineers with experience of stabilising the leaning tower of Pisa inserted long criss-crossed steel rods set in concrete beneath the tower at depths up to 40ft. The tenor bell dates to 1678, cast by Tobias III Norris, Stamford.
Woolstone · St Martin of Tours
The other five bells are all much more recent replacements, 1974, Taylor’s of Loughborough. Ashchurch is situated just to the east of Tewkesbury, originally being known as Eastchurch. A once agriculturally reliant village, the proximity to a junction on the M5 has led to heavy industrialisation. The MOD’s primary storage and distribution site for armoured vehicles is based here, with boats and Royal Engineers bridges also being part of the roster. The parish church is 12th century in its earliest parts, with the 14th century west tower being embattled, with crocketted pinnacles. The back five bells were cast in Gloucester, 1759, Abel Rudhall, with the third from the same foundry, 1763, Thomas Rudhall. Treble and second added by Taylor’s, Loughborough, 2001. Stanway is situated on the Cotswold Way, a path which runs for 103 miles in total. Tewkesbury Abbey owned the manor here from 715 AD. Stanway House is a Jacobean manor house constructed for the Earl of Wemyss & March in 1580, and built on the ruins of a Tudor mansion.
Ashchurch · St Nicholas
For all the history of the house it is in truth the baroque water gardens which garner the greatest attention, with a pyramid folly of 1750 and a magnificent canal-fed fountain that is the highest spouting gravity fed example in the world, producing jets which cascade up to 90ft high, and which was briefly in action during our time at the church as a coach party was visiting the house. The church stands adjacent to the grounds of the manor house and is a mixture of periods in its structure, from Late Norman through to Perpendicular. Ringing on the bells is limited as they are very loud, with the earliest bells both 17th century, second, 1625, James Keene, Woodstock and fifth, 1638, John Martin, Worcester. Fourth, 1826, John Rudhall, Gloucester. Third, 1904, Henry Bond, Burford. Treble, 2014, Whitechapel.
Stanway · St Peter
Saturday 3rd June 2017
Arranged by Adrian Gray
11:00 Great Bardfield
St Mary V (8) 15cwt in F# · Essex CM7 4RN
12:00 Helions Bumpstead
St Andrew (8) 12-2-9 in F · Essex CB9 7AJ
13:00 Fox & Hounds
Steeple Bumpstead · Essex CB9 7DQ
14:30 Steeple Bumpstead
St Mary (6) 14-2-2 in F# · Essex CB9 7DG
St Laurence (6) 8-3-23 in Ab · Essex CO9 4SA
Steeple Bumpstead · St Mary
Left to Right: Hugh Deam, Judy Kirby, Michael Probert, Colin Taylor, Susan King, David Jennings, Michael Mead, Mary Carroll, Julie Rust, John Hearn, David Parks, David Mead, Graham Cane, Barry Wateridge (plus Darcy), Andrew Goldthorpe, David Seacombe, Ailsa Reid, Adrian Gray, Harry Cane, Alison Merryweather-Clarke, Neil Ephgrave & Paul Lucas.
Little Bob Major, Plain Bob Major, Stedman Triples, Grandsire Triples, Cambridge Minor, Oxford Treble Bob Minor, Double Oxford Minor & Single Oxford Minor.
Great Bardfield was documented in 1086 as Byrdefelda, the name of the village denoting open land by a bank or border. There are a number of 14th century properties here as this was a market town in medieval times, with a weekly market and yearly horse fair being held for many centuries. A number of historic buildings in the village are associated with Anne of Cleves as a result of her being gifted lands here by Henry VIII as part of their divorce settlement. The church dates to medieval times, but was heavily restored by G.F. Bodley during the 19th century. The bells are rung from the ground floor and require confident handling. The two oldest bells are the fourth and tenor which date to 1602, cast in Colchester by Miles Graye. Fifth, 1847, C & G Mears, Whitechapel. The other five bells were all cast at the Loughborough foundry (3, 6 & 7 – 1889, Treble & 2 – 1928).
Helions Bumpstead gained its unique manorial affix during the 13th century from the early possession of the manor (1086) by the Norman landowner Tihel de Helion. Helions Bumpstead has three village greens (Pale, Drapers and Wiggens), plus a meadow with a pond near its centre. During World War II, the de Havilland Mosquito fighter plane was tested at Castle Camps airfield close to the village. The original Norman church which stood here was rebuilt in the 14th century, with significant additions during the following two centuries. The original tower was demolished in 1812 and eventually replaced by 1824, being constructed of brick from a kiln that operated in the village. The earliest of the bells is the tenor, cast in Colchester by Miles Graye, 1641. The rest of the bells were all cast at Whitechapel at various times (4 & 5 – 1833, 3 – 1834, 6 – 1974, Treble, 2 & 7 – 1982).
Great Bardfield · St Mary V
Steeple Bumpstead was originally noted merely as Bumesteda (a place where reeds grow), with its affix first documented in 1261 when it was described as Stepilbumstede. The famous Victorian era nurse Edith Cavell served as governess to the four children of the vicar here at the time (1886), Reverend Charles Powell. Although the vicarage is now a private residence, a stone plaque commemorating her can occasionally be accessed by the public, and there is also a further plaque inside the 11th century church. The earliest bell is the second, dating to 1653, cast by John Hodson, Whitechapel, with the tenor also cast there by Lester & Pack, 1763. The fifth was cast in 1760 by Thomas Gardiner, Sudbury. Third from 1859 by John Warner, Croydon. The fourth is from the Loughborough foundry, 2000.
Fox & Hounds
Steeple Bumpstead · St Mary
The Fox & Hounds is a 15th century coaching inn that is as popular today as it ever has been, with bags of ambience and an enviable reputation for its meals, something which is well deserved given our happy experience of dining here. Ridgewell is one of the most picturesque villages in the county, situated as it is on the route of what was the Roman road linking Colchester and Cambridge. Standing to the east of the village, the parish church was rebuilt during the 15th century. Constructed of flint and stone it was restored during the 19th century. The fifth bell is of exceptional age, cast around 1370 by Robert Rider, London. The third dates to 1600, Richard Bowler, Colchester. Tenor, 1695, Charles Newman, Sudbury. The other three bells are all from Whitechapel, 2000. After ringing concluded, David Jennings, the tower captain. invited us back to his home near the village where we were treated to a sumptuous teatime spread and the chance to unwind in a verdant surrounding, with access all areas from the hot tub to the kitchen gardens or the poultry runs, the garden swing-seats, or the adjoining parkland.
Ridgewell · St Laurence
River Cherwell in Northamptonshire
Saturday 6th May 2017
Completing our search for the source of the River Cherwell
Holy Trinity (5) 10-2-16 in Ab · Northants NN11 3BU
11:15 Woodford Halse
St Mary V (6) 7-2-27 in A · Northants NN11 3RL
Holy Cross (8) 12-1-17 in F · Northants NN11 6XN
13:30 The Cross Tree Inn
2 Banbury Road · Byfield · Northants NN11 6XL
St Mary V (5) 12-3-10 in E · Northants OX17 2AU
15:45 Chipping Warden
St Peter & St Paul (5) 12-1-5 in F · Northants OX17 1JU
Jane Burgess, Ron Burgess, Graham Cane, Harry Cane, Hugh Deam, Christine Fenn, John Hearn, Tim Hillsdon, Simon King, Susan King, Judy Kirby, Alison Merryweather-Clarke, Phil Sampson, Colin Taylor, Peter Trowles & Kathy Xu.
Stedman Triples, Grandsire Triples, Cambridge Minor & Double Oxford Minor.
Charwelton, historically also known as Upper or Over Charwelton, is situated on the route of the Jurassic Way which is a 90 mile path that links Banbury in Oxfordshire with Stamford in Lincolnshire. The name of the village derives from the Anglo Saxon description for a farmstead on the River Cherwell, being noted in the Domesday Survey (1086) as Cerweltone. The Grade 1 Listed church of about 1300 is set in a remote area south east of the present day Charwelton in what was the site of the medieval village, being accessed via a double gated road which also includes a bridge over the nascent river. The church contains numerous 15th and 16th century stone carved effigies or brass monuments to the Andrewes family. The earliest bell in the tower is the fourth which dates to 1510, cast by Thomas I Newcombe in Leicester, with the fifth from the same foundry, 1630, Hugh II Watts. The treble dates to 1716, Abraham Rudhall, Gloucester. The other two bells are both from 1844, Taylor’s of Loughborough.
Woodford Halse is a rare example of a village which has shrunk in population since its heyday early in the 20th century when it was a bustling railway village with its own station on the Great Central Railway which connected Nottingham and London. With a locomotive depot and engineering yards here a railway hotel opened in 1900, but the now infamous Beeching axe of the 1960’s saw the track ripped up and the hotel converted into a social club. The plethora of shops along Station Road gives some indication as to the town-like status of Woodford Halse not so many years ago. The early settlement here was documented as Wodeford (ford in or by a wood) in the Domesday Book, with Halse referring to a neck of land forming a ridge. The earliest parts of the church (chancel, south doorway and west tower) all date to around 1300. The back four bells all date to 1613, cast by the Watts family at their Leicester foundry. The front two bells were both cast in Loughborough, the second in 1909 and the treble in 1976. Byfield also incorporates the hamlet of Westhorp and takes its name from the Anglo Saxon description for a place by open country, with a notation in the Domesday Book as Befelde. Just to the south of the village is Edgecote, which was the site of a major battle during the War of the Roses. The Grade 1 Listed parish church dates to the late 14th and early 15th century, built in the Decorated style, but with the upper part of the tower in Perpendicular style, with battlements and a recessed spire. The oldest three bells (4 – 6) were cast in Chacombe by William & Henry Bagley, 1703. The tenor dates to 1791, John Briant, Hertford. The third bell is from 1905, James Barwell, Birmingham. The other three bells are all from Whitechapel, 1991.
Charwelton · Holy Trinity
Culworth sits on high ground which served as a defensive position for Iron Age settlers, with a notation in the Domesday Book as Culeorde (Cula’s enclosure). Early in the 12th century a motte and bailey was built alongside the ancient track known as the Welsh Way, which was used to drive cattle and sheep to Northampton, Leighton Buzzard or London. Large markets were held here and the 12th century auctioneer’s seat still exists on the village green. This 13th century church is set within one of the best kept churchyards in the county.
Culworth · St Mary V
Chipping Warden is one of the largest villages in the county having once been a market town. On the southern fringes of the village are the remains of an Iron Age hill fort known as Arbury Banks, and to the east excavations have unearthed evidence of a large Roman villa having once stood here. The large industrial estate on the edge of the village was the site of RAF Chipping Warden during World War II, serving as a Bomber Command Operational Training Unit from 1941 until its decommissioning in 1946. The parish church is primarily from around 1300, although earlier Norman structural work is to be found in the chancel. All of the bells were cast in 1674 by Henry I Bagley, Chacombe, and were rehung to good effect in 2012 and rededicated in February 2013.
Chipping Warden · St Peter & St Paul
Berkshire and Hampshire
Monday 24th April 2017
St John the Evangelist (6) 7-2-16 in A · Berks RG7 3TZ
11:30 Butterfields Tearoom
SMV · Beech Hill · Berks RG7 2BB
St Michael (5) 15½ cwt in F# · Hants RG27 0JL
13:15 The New Inn
Heckfield · Hants RG27 0LE
St Mary (6) 5-0-12 in C# · Hants RG27 0PX
Heckfield · St Michael
Hugh Deam, Neil Ephgrave, John Hearn, Anthony Hughes, Simon King, Susan King, Judy Kirby, Paul Lucas, Alison Merryweather-Clarke & Colin Taylor.
Cambridge Minor, St Clements, Plain Bob Minor, Stedman, Winchendon Place, Grandsire.
Mortimer takes its name from the Mortimer family who were one of England’s premier landowners in the wake of the Norman Conquest. The influence of the family can be attested to by the fact that our previous two outings (Welsh Marches & Nottinghamshire) were also areas that came under their sphere of influence. During the Tudor period, Mortimer was one of the lands granted to the wives of Henry VIII. The church dates to the later part of the Victorian era, with a parochial junior school attached to it from the same time. All of the bells were cast by Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel in 1896.
Beech Hill derives its name from the de la Beche family of Aldworth, becoming a parish in its own right in 1868. The Grade 1 Listed parish church, designed by noted Victorian architect William Butterfield, also dates to this time. A community owned shop and café was opened within the church in February 2013. Situated in the north aisle it is known as the Butterfield Tea Room, with the stock displayed in wall-mounted cabinets with folding doors that hide any trace of the shop on days when services are held. The bells have for some time only been chimed, but a percentage of profits from the shop and café go toward the project to have the bells restored to full circle ringing. The treble and second were cast at the Cripplegate foundry of John Warner & Sons, 1867, with the third from 1913, Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel. Heckfield was documented as Effelle (open land enclosed by hedges) during the 11th century, being situated on the Roman road between London and Bath. The village is spread over a wide area, but consists of merely a smattering of houses, with the manor house and grounds of Highfield Park dominating the area. The house is of Queen Anne and Georgian periods, although its cellars and foundations are from an earlier building.
Mortimer · St John
Beech Hill · SMV
Since 1819 it has formed part of the Stratfield Saye Estate which was gifted to The Duke of Wellington in recognition of his military service to the nation. The house was briefly the residence (1940) of ousted Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain who died here that same year. The broad west tower houses a particularly historic set of bells, with the third dating back to circa1345, cast by Peter de Weston. The fourth is from about 100 years later, cast at the Wokingham foundry. The other three bells are all from the Reading foundry of the Knight family. Treble and fifth, 1615, and the second from 1641. The New Inn, Heckfield is located in a 15th century building that retains many original features such as open log fires and exposed beams. Our group enjoyed an excellent lunch , which was very reasonably priced, and it is no surprise that the pub and bed & breakfast here holds such a high rating.
The New Inn · Heckfield
Eversley is situated around the River Blackwater and derives its name from the Anglo-Saxon description for a wild boar clearing, a boar being the emblem of the village. Charles Kingsley, author of the Water Babies, served as rector here for 35 years and is buried on the left of the churchyard path about 10 yards from the gate, the headstone being a large Celtic cross. The primary school in the village appositely bears his name. By far the oldest bell is the tenor, dating to 1622, cast by Henry I Knight at the Reading foundry. All of the other bells were cast at Whitechapel, with the fourth by Thomas II Mears, 1841, and the remaining four bells dating to 1985.
Eversley · St Mary
Saturday 22nd April 2017
St Mary V (8) 11-0-21 in F# · Notts NG9 6AS
St Peter (12) 22-2-5 in Eb · Notts NG1 7DA
13:00 The Roebuck Inn
Nottingham NG1 6FH
All Saints (10) 16-1-3 in Eb · Notts NG7 4DL
St John Bapt (10) 17-1-14 in E · Notts NG9 2JJ
Nottingham · St Peter
Matt Beardsall, Jane Burgess, Ron Burgess, Rachel Croft, Hugh Deam, Clare Fairbairn, Malcolm Fairbairn, John Hearn, Mike Lelkes, Paul Lucas, Ed Nicholson, Hannah Perkin, John Pusey, Katy Routh & James Scott Brown.
Stedman Caters & Triples, Grandsire Caters & Triples, Little Bob Royal and Cambridge Major.
This outing was organised by Nottingham ringers Ed Nicholson and Matt Beardsall, who both rang at Headington tower during their respective periods in Oxford within the last four years. The excellent tram system across the city and adjacent towns passes close by to numerous towers, thus making this an ideal destination for a ringing day out. Attenborough derives its name from the stronghold of local Saxon king, Aetla.
The vast majority of the housing is from within the last 100 years, with a large nature reserve having been created here out of a series of gravel pits which were flooded after gravel extraction ceased. The historic part of Attenborough only accounts for a relatively small area around the Grade 1 Listed medieval church on the western bank of the River Trent and north of one of the lakes. The spire was rebuilt in 1848 and the church restored twenty years later. The graveyard contains a memorial to the 134 people killed on 1st July 1918 by an explosion at a shell factory nearby. This death toll remains the largest number of deaths caused by a single explosion on the British mainland. The tower houses eight bells. Tenor, 1350, Johannes de Stafford. Sixth, George I Oldfield, 1631. Seventh, Thomas I Hedderly, 1749. Taylors of Loughborough cast the other bells, 3 – 5, 1934, Treble & 2, 1953.
Attenborough · St Mary V
Nottingham is one of England’s oldest habitations, being known to the Celts as the place of caves. The legend of heroic outlaw Robin Hood is as closely associated with Nottingham as it is with Sherwood Forest some twenty miles to the north of the city. That the castle was home to King John is undoubtedly fact, with the rest of this world renowned folklore of derring-do burgeoning down the centuries from ballads of the time. What is also beyond dispute is that Nottingham Castle boasts a history as rich as almost any castle in England. Founded by William the Conqueror (1068), it was rebuilt in the following century for Henry II, and it was here in 1331 that Roger Mortimer was arrested for the murder of Edward II. In 1485 Richard III rode out from here to meet his fate on the battlefield at Bosworth. Historically, the three most notable industries here have been lace-making, the production of bicycles (Raleigh), and the business name most synonymous with the city, Boots the chemist. The famous Goose Fair, held annually in early October, is England’s largest such fair, and was first held late in the 13th century when many hundreds of geese reared in Lincolnshire would be walked here to be sold. Nottingham was granted a city charter in 1897, bestowed as part of the celebration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
Nottingham · Town Hall
St Peter’s church was originally constructed for Lenton Priory during medieval times, with the present church being a rebuilding from 1812, serving the Radford parish within the city. Radford is the setting for Alan Sillitoe’s novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, with the film of 1961 starring Albert Finney being shot at many of the actual locations referred to in the book. A door from the ringing chamber opens out onto the roof of the church, thus affording a great view across the city centre. The four earliest bells are all from the Whitechapel foundry (5, 6 & 8 – 1771, 7 – 1858). The other eight bells are all from the Loughborough foundry, cast at various times between 1902 and 1994. All Saints church is an archetypal yet still spectacular Victorian era (1863/64) example of the Gothic Revival style, constructed of sandstone, with the tower capped by a broach spire. This is a particularly responsive set of bells to ring. All of the bells were cast at the Loughborough foundry, the back eight dating to 1864 and the front two added in 2004.
Nottingham · St Peter
Nottingham · All Saints
Beeston was noted in the Domesday Book (1086) as Bestune (farmstead where bent grass grows). During the early 19th century this was a centre for silk weaving, with bicycle and motorcycle manufacture becoming the notable employment by the beginning of the 20th century. Today the town is virtually contiguous with Nottingham to the north, with the university campus spilling over into Beeston. The 11th century church was largely rebuilt in 1843 to the designs of Sir George Gilbert Scott. All of the bells are from the Loughborough foundry, 5 – 7, 9 & 10, 1870. The other bells from the 20th century. An excellent set of bells for method ringing.
Beeston · St John the Baptist
Shropshire, Herefordshire & Powys
Saturday 1st April 2017
St John Bapt (6) 9cwt in Ab · Shrops SY7 9AL
St Laurence (10) 16-2-16 in E · Shrops SY8 1AJ
14:40 Richards Castle
All Saints (1) 40cwt · Herefs SY8 4EG
St James (6) 8½cwt in A · Herefs HR6 9UE
St Mary Magd (8) 13½cwt in F# · Herefs SY7 0LB
18:00 Old Radnor
St Stephen (6) 16cwt in E · Powys LD8 2RF
19:00 New Radnor
St Mary (6) 7-2-18 in Bb · Powys LD8 2TE
Rupert Boulting, Graham Cane, Harry Cane, Hugh Deam, Anne Gingell, Andrew Goldthorpe, John Hearn, Vicky Palmer, Marilyn Payne, Peter Payne, Mike Probert, Tim Sampson, Brian Shacklady & Henry Webb.
Stokesay is defined by its castle, which is one of the finest fortified manor houses to survive in England. The Domesday Book notes the settlement as Stoches (an enclosure), with the later manorial affix from the Say family, here from the 12th century. Situated in a valley close to the border with Wales, this was once a key fortification on the River Omny, and a civil parish in its own right, but now consists of castle, adjoining church, a smattering of farmhouses and the historic Stokesay Bridge crossing the river here. The original church, built as a chapel to the castle, was destroyed during the Civil War, but unusually was rebuilt during the Puritan era (1654) in what is known as the Commonwealth style. The interior walls bear biblical texts. The two oldest bells (3 & 5) date to 1674, cast by Henry Clibury, Wellington. The tenor was cast in 1900, James Barwell, Birmingham. The other three bells are all from Whitechapel, Thomas II Mears, 1822.
Ludlow’s early prominence derived from the de Lacy family who were the primary landowners here during Norman times. Ludlow Castle began as a walled Norman fortress for the town and latterly became a fortified royal palace for some four centuries until being abandoned in 1659 and falling into ruin until the 19th century when the Earls of Powis took ownership. Ludlow is situated at the confluence of the River Corve and River Teme, with its medieval street layout almost unchanged. This is a market town that lives up to that title with a street market operating at least five days a week. There are around 500 Listed buildings in the town, with a plethora of half-timbered buildings, including the Feathers Hotel in all its Jacobean splendour. The large parish church is mid 15th century, built on the site of its 12th century predecessor. The dedication of the church (St Laurence) recognizes the 3rd century saint who served as one of the seven deacons of Rome. The bells here are known to have featured in the early development of change ringing. The five oldest bells (5 – 7, 9 & 10) date to 1732, Abraham Rudhall, Gloucester. Front two bells by Gillett & Johnson, 1935. The third, fourth and eighth, Whitechapel, 2008. Richards Castle takes its name from the Old French description for the castle held here by Ricard Scrope in the wake of the Norman Conquest (Castellium Ricardi). The castle which once stood here is now merely earthworks, the outer perimeter of which encloses the original church. The present parish church is late Victorian, although in the 14th century style, and designed on a grand scale by Richard Norman Shaw. The one bell here is from 1892, cast by John Taylor, Loughborough, the decision having been taken to spend the money on one huge bell (the largest in the Diocese) rather than a set of bells. The rope is thicker than would be normal and there are two sallies.
Stokesay · St John Bapt
Wigmore’s name denotes a wide pool, with a castle founded here in 1067 by William FitzOsborn, 1st Earl of Hereford. The castle was rebuilt in stone during the 12th century under the stewardship of the Mortimer family. The pinnacle of its influence was early in the 14th century when Edward II’s estranged wife Isabella took Roger Mortimer as her lover having engineered the murder of the king in 1327. This influence was short lived as the young Edward III soon asserted his authority and had Mortimer executed for treason. The castle fell into ruin after the Civil War and remained largely untouched until English Heritage took over preservation work in 1990. The church is built on Saxon foundations, with portions of the walls surviving from the 10th century. The nave is early Norman with herringbone masonry, the rest being 13th century, including the west tower. Five of the bells were cast in Gloucester (1721) by Abraham II Rudhall, with the fifth bell by John Taylor in 1889. Leintwardine derives its name from the Celtic description of the land and river here. The Romans fortified this settlement as it held a commanding position looking out across the Teme Valley and Welsh Marches. The foundations of the church are Saxon, although the present building is primarily of the 13th and 14th centuries. The richly adorned Lady Chapel was originally constructed as the Mortimer Chapel, the family name of the Earl of March for whom it was ordered. Edward III is known to have made pilgrimages here. The back six bells were all cast in 1755, Abel Rudhall, Gloucester. The front two bells added in 1953, Mears & Stainbank. Old Radnor is as the name suggests the original settlement, the name derived from the Welsh description of a red bank or hillside. The dedication of the church (St Stephen) is the only such dedication in Wales and believed to be as the result of a Norman misinterpretation of the Welsh saint, Ystyffan for St Stephen. The church was rebuilt in the 15th century, but retains a large 8th century font. The impressive interior is dominated by the 15th century screen which is considered the finest in Wales, plus there are medieval floor tiles and the earliest surviving organ case in the UK. All of the bells date to 1724, cast by Abraham II Rudhall, Gloucester. New Radnor was first documented as a settlement in its own right late in the 13th century. As with most early settlements of note in this area there was a castle constructed here, legend having it that it was captured by Welsh partisan Owain Glyndwr. It is definitely known to have been garrisoned by Henry IV in 1405, but by the 16th century only the tower remained habitable, and was utilised as a prison. The church was rebuilt, 1843 – 45, set on a steep hillside immediately below the earthworks of the castle. The back five bells were all cast at Whitechapel (2 – 5, 1851) and tenor, 1865. The treble was added in 1938, Gillett & Johnston, Croydon.
Ludlow · St Laurence
Leintwardine · St Mary Magd
Donna’s Oxfordshire outing
Saturday 25th March 2017
St Mary V (8) 12-0-4 in Ab · Oxon OX12 9UR
St Mary V (8) 8-1-24 in Ab · Oxon SN7 7TG
12:45 The King and Queen
Longcot · Oxon SN7 7TL
All Saints (8) 17-1-7 in E · Oxon SN7 8SL
Before Childrey SMV
Ginger Andrews, Christopher Beale, Janice Beale, John Beale, Jonathon Beale, Donna Bennett, Jane Burgess, Ron Burgess, Hugh Deam, Neil Ephgrave, Hayley Fisher, Andrew Goldthorpe, Toby Goss, Tim Hillesdon, Simon King, Susan King, Judy Kirby, Paul Lucas, Bernard Masterman, Colin Taylor & Steve Vickars.
Plain Bob Major & Triples, Stedman, Single Oxford & Grandsire Triples.
Childrey See Saturday 21st October 2000 for details which has been updated to include the augmentation of the bells from six to eight since that time. Longcot See Saturday 21st October 2000 for full details of the village, church and bells.
The King and Queen This is a particularly elegant pub and B & B that has bucked the trend in the decline of the traditional English pub, having reopened a few years ago and become a favourite with locals and followers of user review companies on the internet. Faringdon See Saturday 6th December 1986 for details.
Longcot · St Mary V
Longcot · The village pond
Saturday 18th March 2017
St Mary V (8) 19-2-19 in E · Wilts SN6 8PY
St Andrew (8) 18-2-23 in E · Wilts SN4 0BZ
All Saints (6) 8-2-11 in A · Wilts SN4 0HB
13:15 Three Trees Farm Shop
The Ridgeway · Swindon · Wilts SN4 0HT
Holy Cross (6) 13-2-26 in F · Wilts SN4 0PP
Christ Church (10) 21-3-9 in D · Wilts SN1 3HE
The ringers at Liddington
Donna Bennett, Hugh Deam, Neil Ephgrave, Andrew Goldthorpe, John Hearn, Tim Hillsdon, Simon King, Susan King, Judy Kirby, Paul Lucas, Bernard Masterman, Alison Merryweather-Clarke, David Parks, Michael Probert & Colin Taylor.
Plain Bob Major, Stedman & Grandsire Triples, Cambridge & Single Oxford & St Clements Minor.
Bishopstone The village was originally documented as Bissopeston (Bishop's Estate) in 1186, twenty years after the other village of the same name in the county, which is located close to Salisbury. Since 1934 the parish has included Hinton Parva, occupying the tract of land between the Lambourn Downs and the Vale of the White Horse. The field systems here are known as strip-lynchets, essentially being earth workings. The idiom – like chalk and cheese - is said to originate from around this area, describing the distinct contrast of chalky uplands that encourage sheep farming and low lying westerly areas which are famous for dairy farming, Wiltshire being the primary county for producing ham in England. The 13th century cruciform church is one of the most delightfully situated in the county, located as it is amidst a glade and a network of brooks and small streams. The Perpendicular central tower contains eight bells, all of which were cast in 1891 by Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel.
Wanborough First recorded as Waenbeorgon in the 9th century, the name denotes a tumour shaped mound. A Roman settlement known as Durocomovium existed just to the north of the village, serving primarily as a watering station for the horses of travelling legions. This now large parish also encompasses Lower Wanborough and the hamlet of Horpit. Adjacent to the village is Redlands Airfield which specialises in microlight aviation and skydiving parachute training. The parish church is similar in appearance to nearby Purton in that it possesses a tower at one end and a spire at the other end. The oldest bells are the sixth (1662) by William III Purdue of Bristol and the fourth (1730) by John Cor of Aldbourne. The other bells are all by Taylor's of Loughborough (1949/50) with the front two bells added in 1997.
Bishopstone · St Mary V
Wanborough · St Andrew
Liddington A settlement existing here was first noted in 940 when it was described as Lidentune (a farmstead on a noisy or fast flowing stream). The village, situated on a chalk scarp, stands adjacent to the Ridgeway and is overlooked by a 908ft high Iron Age hill-fort, Liddington Castle. During World War II a control bunker for a Starfish decoy site was constructed in the hillside. For several centuries up until the Dissolution the village was in the possession of Shaftesbury Abbey. The church is primarily 13th century, but was heavily restored late in the Victorian era. The bells here had not been rung on a regular basis since before the Second World War, but the Liddington Bells Project begun in 2014 resulted in the old set of five bells and wooden frame being left in place for historical interest of future generations and a new peal of six bells, cast by Taylors of Loughborough in 2016, hung clockwise below. Chiseldon Noted as Cyseldene (a gravel valley) in 890, the village is situated on the northern edge of the Marlborough Downs and also now incorporates the hamlet of Burderop. The character of the village was significantly changed with the coming of the Midlands & South Western Railway in 1881 which saw the track cut through the heart of Chiseldon. For many years Chiseldon was most widely known for the army camp that operated here between 1914 and 1962, serving as it did as a training base for British troops in World War One and Allied troops in the Second World War. The church is 13th century and primarily in the Perpendicular style, with a three-stage west tower. The fifth bell is one of the oldest surviving bells in the country, dating to around 1400 having been cast by an unknown founder. The third and fourth bells (1610 & 1613) are from the Salisbury foundry of John Wallis and the second and tenor (1652 & 1667) are from the Bristol foundry of the Purdue family.
Liddington · All Saints
Swindon The original settlement was situated atop a limestone hill, with the name denoting a hill where pigs are kept, the Domesday Book documenting it as Swindune. What was a small market town prior to the Industrial Revolution expanded at breakneck speed by 19th century measurements with the coming of the railway era. In the two years 1841 - 42, Isambard Kingdom Brunel oversaw the building of the Swindon Works which served as a hub for the repair and maintenance of GWR locomotives and rolling stock. In more recent years a Steam Railway Museum and English Heritage have given a new lease of life to what had become a redundant shell. Swindon has attracted many hi-tech companies to locate their UK headquarters here, and the Museum of Computing is also to be found in the town. The earliest part of Swindon is easy to locate as it is known as Old Town, this being where the market was long held. The town boasts a vast array of notables and celebrities to have been born within the area (John Francome, Julian Clary, Melinda Messenger, Billie Piper, Justin Hayward, David Hempleman-Adams, Shelley Rudman, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Jamie Cullum, Desmond Morris, Sophie Grigson and Diana Dors amongst a long list). Built in the 13th century style, Christchurch was designed by George Gilbert Scott in 1851. The three-stage west tower contains ten bells, all cast or recast by Taylor’s of Loughborough in 1924, with the westerly facing clock having been relocated here from Holy Rood church. The bells here are undoubtedly one of the very best sets of ten we have ever visited.
Swindon · Christ Church
Saturday 25th February 2017
St Peter & St Paul (8) 18½cwt in E · Glos GL54 3EH
11:15 Black Cat Cafe
Northleach · Glos GL54 3EE
12:45 Great Barrington
St Mary (6) 8-0-3 in Bb · Glos OX18 4UR
Donna Bennett, Hugh Deam, Andrew Goldthorpe, Susan King, Judy Kirby, Paul Lucas, Colin Taylor & Nigel Harrison.
Northleach Documented as Lecce (denoting the River Leach) in the Domesday Survey (1086), by 1200 the name had become Northlecche so as to more accurately describe its location. As with most Cotswolds towns, Northleach grew from the influence of the wool trade from the 14th century, the Cotswold Lion sheep possessing a fine quality that proved very popular across Europe. The local merchants ploughed a considerable amount of their wealth back into the town, with the late 14th century Perpendicular Gothic style church being the most striking example. The Northleach Brasses, to be found within the church, depict the most notable of these merchants.
Significant restoration work was carried out on the church late in the Victorian era with the magnificent stained glass in the east window of the chancel dating to this period, being the work of Alexander Gibbs. The 100ft high west tower, also from this time, houses eight bells, with the ringing chamber reached via a stone spiral staircase. Five of the bells (3 – 5, 7 & Tenor) were cast in Aldbourne by William & Robert Cor in 1700. The front two bells are from Whitechapel, 1897, and the sixth bell by Llewelins & James of Bristol, 1922. Northleach received its town charter from Henry III in 1227, but conspicuously remains a modest size compared to most market towns due to a decline after the wool era and not having diverted into an out and out tourist trap. Today, Northleach is a town smaller than many villages, yet containing several unique amenities all of which are within easy walking distance and with parking and traffic much easier than the norm. Although now adapted into housing the Museum of Rural Life, the former town prison of 1790, the brainchild of Sir George Onesipherous Paul, heralded in a new design that quickly found its way to America. Fighter pilots of RAF 87 Squadron were billeted in Walton House in the town during the Battle of Britain in 1940 and a blue plaque has now been erected to record this contribution. Also in the town is the Mechanical Music Museum founded by Keith Harding in 1961 which houses one of the world's finest collections of self-playing musical instruments. The Black Cat Cafe is not only conveniently located barely ten steps away from the entrance to the churchyard, but also provided the embodiment of a cosy and welcoming venue in which to enjoy a full-on breakfast or a warming soup. Those who follow TripAdvisor will see that it has a slew of positive reviews and this is rightly so.
Northleach · St Peter & St Paul
Great Barrington The village is situated on the banks of the Windrush valley, with the Barrington Park Estate accounting for much of the land and also the history of Great and Little Barrington. Stone from the quarry here was used in the construction of the Houses of Parliament and several of the Oxford colleges. The area is popular with walkers as there is a long established public footpath across a raised causeway between the Barringtons. At the heart of the parkland is a Palladian manor house built for Charles, Lord Talbot in 1737. On a hilltop overlooking the house is a domed 18th century folly constructed in a classical style. Several monuments to the Talbot family are to be found inside the church which stands adjacent to Barrington Park. Only fragments, such as the chancel arch with classic chevron motif, remain from the original Norman building, the church having been substantially rebuilt during the Tudor era. All six bells were cast in 1733 by Abraham II Rudhall, Gloucester. Although the bells are somewhat odd-struck they are nonetheless harmonious once adapted to, with the biggest challenge being to ring the tenor up the right way at first time of asking.
Great Barrington · St Mary
A 10-bell practice
Saturday 4th February 2017
St Edburg (10) 15-0-7 in F · Oxon OX26 6NS
Ginger Andrews, Jane Burgess, Ron Burgess, Anthony Cole, Hugh Deam, Andrew Goldthorpe, Judy Kirby, Paul Lucas, Bernard Masterman, Alison Merryweather-Clarke, David Parkes, Michael Probert, Colin Taylor & Steve Vickars.
Grandsire Caters & Triples, Plain Bob Major & Triples, Little Bob Major and Stedman Triples
Bicester Documented in the Domesday Book as Bernecestre (the two forts on either bank of the River Bure), this once small settlement is now one of the fastest growing towns in the country. The ruins of the Roman encampment Alchester are to be found two miles south-west of Bicester, with the remains of an Augustinian priory founded in 1180 surviving in the centre of the town.
The Roman route-ways between Towcester and Dorchester (north-south) and St Albans to Cirencester (east-west) intersected here. What became the townships of King’s End and Market End evolved distinct characteristics, the older buildings having features of both the Cotswolds and the Thames Valley, with the river valleys in the area being the source of clay for production of brick and tile, plus Bernwood Forest having provided timber. In recent years the town has undoubtedly become most widely known for the designer-brand retail outlet, Bicester Village. The town has military connections through its history, the Roman occupation, the Civil War, the French Wars and the conflicts of the 20th century. An airfield that was constructed here for the Royal Flying Corps during the Great War is now home to a gliding club. The MOD’s largest Ordnance Depot is located on the edge of town and has its own internal railway system. St Edburg’s church was founded as a minster in the 7th century. The original timber structure was replaced by the present stone building at some point before the 12th century. With the appropriation of the church by the priory in the 13th century there was significant enlargement and the central tower was taken down and replaced by a west tower. Edward Hemins operated a bell-foundry in the town during the first half of the 18th century, although none of his bells have ever hung in the church here. At least nineteen of the bells cast at the foundry are known to still survive in various towers across central England. The back eight bells in the tower here were all cast in 1913 by Gillett & Johnston, London, with the front two bells added in 1998 by Whitechapel foundry.
Bicester · St Edburg