Bells and Bell Tower
There are 5 Bells in the Bell Tower of St. Mary the Virgin.
Survey reference SP758469 Number of Bells 5
Tenor Weight 9-0-2, Key G sharp, Codes, To, Gr
Four of the bells are very old; the oldest was recast in 1838 but unfortunately its inscription: "In Multis Annis resonet Campana Johannis" (for many years may the bell John sound out) was not renewed.
A second bell was recast in 1906 with its inscription: "Ave Maria Gratia Plena" (Hail Mary full of Grace).
Two other bells are dated 1625 and are inscribed “God Save Our King”. In 1948 the bells were rehung. A fifth bell, a treble, dedicated to those who served in the Second Great War was added at this time.
The Bells are housed in the tower built by Sir John Woodville in the 14th century. The monument of Sir John Woodville, ancestor of Elizabeth Woodville, is in the north aisle of the church.
The brother of Elizabeth Woodville became the second Earl Rivers after the execution of his father by Warwick after the battle at Edgecote. In his will he asked his nephew and heir Thomas, Marquess of Dorset, to sell sufficient underwood from the woods at Grafton to buy a bell for the church as a memorial to the Woodvilles.
In 1906 framework in the belfry was repaired at a cost of £50.
Bell ringing at St Mary the Virgin is managed by the Towcester branch of the Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Bell Ringers
A letter was received from The Bell Foundry which confirms the weights and notes of the bells - details below. The following photographs show the boards recording some of the more notable peals, the earliest being for 1st June 1949.
Can you help keep our historic Church open?
The Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Grafton Regis is steeped in history and contains some nationally important artifacts. However due to the small size of the village the current Church income alone is insufficient to keep it open and to restore / maintain the important artifacts including the medieval tomb of Elizabeth’s grandfather, Sir John Woodville. If you can support us with a donation it would be much appreciated - you can use one of the methods below:
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