Coventry, St John the Baptist, West Midlands

Coventry SJB Bells: 5, 9-3-21 in A
Grid Reference: 140/330790
Postcode: CV1 3AY
District: Coventry
Peals: None
Date Lost: 1889
Other Information: Church Website


This is a prominent red sandstone church with a central tower on Corporation Street, near to the mediaeval Spon Street. This fine cruciform church was originally built as a chapel for one of the City Guilds on land given by Queen Isabella in 1344. It was consecrated in 1350 but the original building was substantially enlarged and rebuilt in the C15th and early C16th. After Bablake College was dissolved in 1548 the building became the property of the City. It did not become a parish church until 1734. It is very much in the "High Church" tradition.  It is the origin of the phrase "Being sent to Coventry" as is was used as a prison for Scottish Royalists in the Civil War. The prisoners were allowed to wander inside the city walls, but the locals refused to speak to them, hence the phrase.

The bells were hung for ringing until the latter part of the 19th century. The chime contains one of the former ring of 8 from St Michael's, now the Cathedral. St John's tenor bell was cracked and it was swapped in 1774 for one of the ring going from St Michael's to Lester and Pack for recasting into 10. The weight given is as supplied to St Michael in 1675. The bells were rehung in 1774 and 1825. They were probably never rung after the lantern tower was opened up during the 1858 restoration

The bells are now hung for chiming in the remains of a C17th bellframe, part of which was removed to accommodate the clock in 1889. The bells are chimed by Ellacombe hammers from a chiming manual on the ringing gallery. They are still hung from their old ringing headstocks, but without wheels, stays or sliders. They still retain their clappers. 

Details of the Bells
1 Henry Bagley I, Chacombe 1676 4cwt
2 Pack & Chapman, London 1778 4¾cwt
3 John Hose, Leicester c1350 5¼cwt 
4 John of Stafford, Leicester c1360 8cwt 
5 Henry Bagley I, Chacombe 1675 9-3-21