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The Tower

Millennium starThe tower was built in the mid fifteenth century, when the church that had stood on the site since Norman times was rebuilt. It is nearly 80 feet high. The tower is a prominent landmark as you enter or leave Wokingham by the London Road, and thousands of people pass it every day. Perhaps its most spectacular public appearance was over the period of Christmas 1999 and New Year 2000, when the flag pole on the tower roof was transformed into a 'Millennium star', and floodlit for the entire period.
 

StairsThere are four levels inside, plus the roof. All levels are accessed by a spiral staircase. Ours is interesting in this it winds 'the wrong way' – it turns clockwise as you go down, whereas most turn anti-clockwise. The stonemasons who built spiral stairs in mediaeval churches made them the same as in castles, where they were designed to give an advantage to the defender (assuming he was right handed) by making it easier to wield a sword when facing downwards rather ending sn facing upwards.
 

Click the picture below for a description and pictures of each level, or for pictures of the outside of the tower. You can move between levels using the links at the bottom of the page for each level.

 Parts of the tower 

Roof Bellchamber Clockroom Outside Ringing room Porch

Did you know? : The shortest time to being elected to office was Kristin Fitch who became Steeple Keeper in 2014, only 18 months after she started to learn to ring


Improvements to the tower over the years

15th Century Tower built
1704 Ring of six bells hung in timber frame by Samuel Knight of Reading
1767  Bells rehung by Robert Turner, Bell Hanger to Messrs. Lester and Pack
1814 Two bells replaced by Thomas Mears of Whitechapel
1817 Turret clock by Thwaites & Reed of London
1863/4 Gallery opened into the nave
1873 Bells rehung by Warners of London
1878 Repair to the tower stonework
1885 Stained glass west window in memory of Com. Elliott Mores
1903 Two bells replaced and two bells added by Mears. Hung in new 8-bell iron frame by Webb & Bennett of Kidlington
1955 Plain bearings replaced with ball bearings by Whitechapel Bellfoundry
1980 Tower rewired and lighting provided to upper levels by the ringers
1981 Safety rail fitted to low wooden rail overlooking the nave
1981 New carpet laid in the ringing room
1981 Ropes progressively replaced by the ringers with pre-stretched polyester top ends to prevent stretching
1982 Sound control shutters installed by the ringers (closed to reduce the sound for the neighbours while practising, and opened while ringing for services and public occasions)
1982 Rope spider provided (to permit ropes to be drawn up to the ceiling, out of the way when not in use)
1985  Modern locks provided for most levels by the ringers
1988 Bell frame cleaned and painted by the ringers
1993 Peal board installed by the ringers to commemorate the 800th anniversary Wokingham peal
1994 Clock weight shaft extended to ground by the ringers (to restore 8 day working to the clock, after nearly a century of 5-day working)
2004 Four bells replaced and all tuned by Whitechapel. Bells rehung on modern fittings by Whites of Appleton
2005 External surface rendered, tower roof covering renewed, and top of the stair turret repaired, by contractors
2005 Internal acoustics improved by hanging carpets on the clock room walls
2009 Peal board installed by the ringers to commemorate the first peal on the restored bells.
2010 Peal board commissioned to record four performances commemorating Rev FE Robinson, including two for the centenary of his death

Time line

Time line

Several artefacts  from the tower still exist.


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