[Bell Historians] Re: Emscote

David Cawley dcawley at w...
Sun Feb 6 17:43:20 GMT 2005

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Well, it will be good to see this film!

As can be seen, the spire - apart from the lowest section (which formerly c=
ontained the treble and 4th) - had already gone by the time the picture was=

I have a flyer from the Landmark Collector's Library - Demolished! ("anothe=
r Pevsner, but with a difference: most of the buildings described are not t=
here any more.") entitled The Lost Architectural Landscapes of Warwickshire=
. Volume 1 - The South. ISBN 1-901522-98-9 priced at =A319.95; and there on=
the flyer is the upper part of Emscote spire caught horizontal with the ha=
wser used to pull it over quite visible.=20

They clearly went a good way down after that to the lucarnes at the top of =
the broaches, as that is all that is seen on the bellhistorians image.

The flyer also shows that the portion of the (?west) wall abutting on the t=
ower was still standing.

The son of one of my much-valued retired assistants was Vicar of the parish=
in the 1980's and when I visited I asked questions about the old church, w=
hose disappearance had been much regretted (though the new contemporary chu=
rch is a good building). Old photographs were produced including what I was=
then told was "the moment they blew it up" - certainly there were distinct=
puffs of smoke coming out at three levels in similar places to those disce=
rnible in the image. All that was left standing to any height was the west =
wall up to about the top of the buttresses. I wonder if it was that bit tha=
t fell down by itself?

At any rate, such things do happen. If you go to Dickon's site http://kent.=
lovesguide.com/maidstone_st_paul.htm and navigate to St Paul's Maidstone, y=
ou will see some Emscote-type pictures which I took during the demolition o=
f the ruins of that burned-out church. The spire was demolished by steepleh=
acks before anything else was done. I visited on the day the tower was supp=
osed to come down, and it was still standing when the men had gone. RCO wen=
t along early the next day - and no tower. Fortunately it had fallen safely=
across the site of the west end of the nave.

The five chiming bells illustrated had a more fortunate history than Emscot=
e. When the new tower was built at Wighton, they acquired the Maidstone bel=
ls which it was originally intended to recast into a light eight for the ne=
w church (the tower, again, wasn't built; and a new Vicar wasn't interested=
) and hung them with a new treble to make six.

----- Original Message -----=20
From: Mike Chester=20
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com=20
Sent: Sunday, February 06, 2005 4:39 PM
Subject: [Bell Historians] Re: Emscote

--- In bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com, "David Bryant"=20
<davidbryant at h...> wrote:
> Dave Cawley writes the following re. Emscote:
> Re Emscote. Picturesque though Mike Chester's account is, it was in=20
fact blown up after the spire had been pulled down to the lower=20

I have popped into the City Centre and had a look at film of the=20
Coventry Evening Telegraph for August 1967 in the Central Library. I=20
seems that, for once, David is not quite accurate.

Edition of Aug 2nd - Picture of workmen inside the church, pews gone,=20
floorboards being ripped up.

Aug 4th - story stating that there had been an attempt to pull down=20
the top of the spire, but the cables, which had been put through the=20
louvres by local firemen, simply "cut through the old stone like=20
butter". Another attempt was made on the spire was unsuccessful, "it=20
rocked but refused to budge" so it they moved to the church itself=20
and brought most of if down by pulling out the pillars supporting the=20
roof. There are pictures on a different stage showing this happening=20
and clearly showing that the spire was still on the tower.

(It also states that the churchwarden, one Mr Ron King, had filmed=20
the events for the church records. I wonder if the film survives.)

Aug 16th; headline, "Church tower defies workmen ... then falls.

"After defying several attempts* by demolition workers to pull it=20
down during the past fortnight, to the tower of All Saints' Church,=20
Emscote eventually cam crashing to the ground - on its own accord".

It is as I suggested, they knocked a corner off the tower and tried=20
to pull it over, failed, had a conversation as to what to do next and=20
whilst this was happening the tower came down.

The picture on the page is the same as the one I posted and therefore=20
it is of the moment that it came down. These events took place the=20
previous day.


*IIRC one of these did involve the use of explosives.

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