The stone pulpit, of Victorian style and bearing a carving of a New Testament scene, was the place where, in 2002, the Reverend (now Canon) K. Mervyn Roberts preached a sermon on “The Bible” which lasted for 48 hours, a World Record duration ratified by the Guinness Book of Records.
The walls of the bell-ringing gallery on the first floor of the Tower bear three black panels recording generous charitable donations made for the wider village as well as the church itself. The largest, recording subscriptions to the free parish day school, founded in 1765 and hence one of the oldest schools of its type in the country, states that pupils were, by studying reading, writing, “casting accounts”, and the Christian religion, to become “useful members of society”. The trustees appear to have had the responsibility of selecting the pupils who would benefit from this tuition.
Above this gallery is the clock room, housing a weight-driven clockwork mechanism that powers the clock-faces on the East and South sides of the tower and also the striking mechanism of the clock-bell, and a synchronous electric motor for the one on the West. In the belfry above are three bells hung for full-wheel ringing, in a substantial timber frame. The lightest and oldest of these, the treble, cast in 1653, the year in which Oliver Cromwell dissolved the Rump of the Long Parliament declared himself Lord Protector, and the heaviest and youngest, the tenor, cast in 1740, are protected by preservation orders so may not be recast. The clock-bell, fixed to a roof-beam and struck on the hour by a hammer controlled by the clockwork mechanism, was cast by Thomas Mears at the Whitechapel Foundry in London some 14 years before he cast Big Ben.
The known vicars of St. Chad’s stretch back in an unbroken line to 1327, and mention is made of a priest for the Manor of Tachbrook in 1086, suggesting a permanent Christian Mission in the area for nearly a millennium. One is bound to wonder how long this unbroken line will continue; how sad if it should ever come to an end.