The bells

 

The present bells

There are three bells in the key of C sharp (1128Hz or C# plus 30 cents) and a sanctus bell.

 

Bell                                                                        Inscription

1.            ALL PRAISE AND GLORY BE TO GOD FOR EVER  RICHARD BROOK C W 1669 / (border all round) (John Martin’s small heart-shaped mark)

2.            [blank]

                Waist: ERECTED BY / JAMES DORRELL / IN MEMORY OF HIS / WIFE EMMA. / W.H. WATSON RECTOR / T.E. DORRELL } / J. JONES  } CHURCHWARDEN’S

                Opposite: CARR’S / RECAST / ME / 1923

3.            T. Mears Fect. .:. T.M. Holland Rector Thos. Webb C. Warden. J842

 

Bell

Founder and date

Diameter

Mouldings

Hz

Note

Cwt.

Qrs.

Lbs.

1.

John Martin, 1669

22

 

1463

F#-20

2

2

0*

2.

Charles Carr, 1923

24¾

 

1187

D#+18

3

1

0*

3.

T. Mears (Gloucester) 1842

27½

 

1128

C#+30

4

2

0*

 

The treble and tenor retain their canons. The second was cast with a flat top. None of the bells has been quarter turned. The tenor has been lathe-tuned inside – evidently in 1842, rather than in 1923.

 

The bells hang in a mid-C19th wooden frame, evidently constructed in 1852-4 but containing older timbers. It has three parallel pits, the tenor occupying the pit on the north side of the tower, with all three bells swinging east-west and roped in a straight line (Bellframes layout 3.1). It is constructed of sills, braces, long heads and corner posts (Bellframes type 6.A) but with king-posts in both trusses of the middle pit containing the second bell (i.e. type 5.L).

 

The bells are hung with swing-chiming fittings (i.e. ringing fittings without stays and sliders) including elm headstocks, plate gudgeons, plain bearings in cast-iron carriages and traditional wheels. These fittings were supplied when the second bell was recast in 1923, probably by Carr of Smethwick. They are of standard Carr type, but they made have been made and supplied by an associate company, A. Davis & Company of Woodlands Street, Smethwick, as shown by the documents noted below.

 

In addition, there is a small sanctus bell, 10¾” diameter, with three moulding wires below the shoulder. It is like many other uninscribed sanctus bells in the area which are believed to be of C15th date (c.f. Knighton on Teme). Although there is no mention of a sanctus bell here in the 1553 inventory. It is hung for swing-chiming with oak stock, drive-in gudgeons, stock hoops, plain bearings and a wooden chiming lever.

 

History

In 1553 there were three bells here, of similar size to the three bells now hanging in the tower. The Edwardian Inventory dated 5 June 1553 lists: “Item three belles whereof the least is xxii ynches the second xxiiiiti inches the thirde xxvi ynches brode over in the mowthes”. The Sanctus bell is not mentioned

 

One of these bells was recast in 1662 [or 1669 – date discrepancy to be resolved] by John Martin of Worcester, who also recast the two larger bells in 1687.

 

The Hereford Diocese visitation records include an order that the Churchwardens were “to certifie … new casting of two bells”, Easter 1687. This indicates that the predecessors of the present second and tenor were both cast by John Martin of Worcester in 1687, the tenor being recast in 1842 and the second in 1923. Walters notes that the old second was as follows:

 

                                                                                Inscription

 

                THOMAS HAMMOND MEREDITH IONES CHVRCH WARDENS 1687 / (arabesque border all round)

                Waist: (John Martin’s small heart-shaped mark)

 

Bell

Founder and date

Diameter

Note

Cwt.

Qrs.

Lbs.

1.

John Martin, 1687

24½

D#

3

1

0*

 

The bells must have been rehung when the church was rebuilt in 1852-4. The present frame is apparently of that date, although containing older timbers.

 

The next work was in 1923 when Charles Carr of Smethwick recast the second and rehung all three bells with new fittings. There are papers concerning this work among the parish records. They include a testimonial from the Rector of Llanfechain, Montgomery, to Charles Carr Ltd regarding work on the bells there, 24 Sept.1921, and there is an estimate from Gillett & Johnston of Croydon.

 

Carr’s did not quote direct, but their estimates of January 1923 are on the letter-heading of A. Davis & Company, General Ironfounders, Woodlands Street, Smethwick, January 1923 (partners Albert Davis and G.F. Jeynes). The prices quoted were for a) for recasting no.2 bell and new fittings £39.0.6, reduced to £35.7.6 if carried out with work on the other two bells, and b) for rehanging the other two bells with new fittings £41.7.6.

 

This estimate was accepted, and the bill for the completed work came from Charles Carr, Bell & Brass Founders, The Woodlands Bell & Brass Foundry, Grove Lane, Smethwick. The charges were for recasting the second bell [weight not given] and hanging £35.7.6. The invoice was dated 28 March 1923 and later receipted by Hannah Carr, director. The bother bells were clearly rehung at the same time, but the invoice is not among the surviving papers.

 

The Clock dates from 1857