[Bell Historians] Grape Lane church

David Bryant davidbryant at nAc-jEkIarXu8g1_mm6cZxwwwlYkjqyFHiqaMb0oY87XcqlztIYAyAXEOO1aBa-cr8fET5UHejM96WrznS8k1A.yahoo.invalid
Thu May 11 19:00:40 BST 2006

> As for the more relevant question to this group, did it ever have a ring of bells - did it ever have a tower?  It seems unlikely.  The present church was completed in 1537, to replace one which was pulled down in 1525.  The present bellcote dates from 1848.

No, it's never had a tower - there were several previous incarnations of the belcote. The present occupant of said cote is a product of Messrs Warner, originally hung for ringing but now equipped with only a headstock and clapper. A few years ago it was rehung on a new stock and quarter-turned under the instruction of the architect. Alas, he didn't realise that the clapper on a cast in staple would only swing one way...

The name of the church is derived from the 'Berefridus', a small belfry formerly constructed on the apex of the gable of the Minster's south transept (St Muchael-le-Belfrey is immediately to the south of the Minster). The Berefridus contained the Minster's clock and prayer bells.

There's a Grope Lane in Shrewsbury, also. Along with York's Grape Lane, the alleged derivation is from the trade which was practiced there.

> Given its proximity to Grape Lane, was St Michael-le-Belfrey ever known as St Michael's, Gropecunt Lane?

No - The church doesn't border on Grape Lane. 

>  If so, it makes you wonder what the  present congregation might think about it? And did it used to have a  ring of bells? Alas the York page has gone the same way as the name Gropecunt.

Given that St Michael le Belfrey is notable for its projector screens, electric guitars and baptisms in an inflatable paddling pool, I rather doubt if they'd be too impressed.

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