Church Bells

Church Bells

There are eight bells in the tower with a tenor weighing l3cwts lqrt 5lbs in F.

The history books tell us there were 4 bells in the tower in 1549.

Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester cast and hung a peal of 6 bells in 1719, 4 of which form part of our present ring of 8.  We know that there were 6 bells in the tower in 1756 because a ‘ringing for sport challenge 6 bell peal’ was made between teams from towers in South Cheshire and North Staffs to be held at Sandbach with prize money of 20guineas a ringer.  Nothing came of this challenge.

Our present tenor has a casting date of 1782 with no indication of the foundry which cast it or if it was cast for St. Mary’s.  The clapper indentations are very numerous and deep as compared with the other bells.  Casting marks suggest it was cast by Thomas Rudhall of Gloucester.

In the late 1850’s and early 1860’s Warners added the front 3 bells.  Records of peals and the dates of these 3 bells indicate that one of these bells was replaced ml 860.  These 3 bells have no names cast in them which leads us to believe they were ‘off the peg’ bells.  Four of the original 6 Abraham Rudhall bells are now the 4th, 5th 6th and 7th of our present peal of eight.  So, we have a ‘pick and mix’ peal of bells.

Gas lighting was installed in the tower in 1859, leading us to believe that the church was very interested in the ringing of the bells at that time.

The next work on the bells was in 1924, when a Mr James Groves from Birmingham did a partial re-hang.  The remaining four Abraham Rudhall bells were fined with new headstocks bearing Grove’s name.  These headstocks were poorly engineered and not accurately cast or machined with the result that the wheels were at least a wheel thickness away from the vertical at the rim!  The Warners wheels and fittings from the 1860’s were retained. Strangely, very little is known about this work.

This partial re-hang could not have been a very successful, because in 1938 a sum of money was bequeathed to re-hang the bells again. John Taylor & Co of Loughborough re-hung

This 1938 re-hang was financed in memory of Charles Frederick Poole.  When Taylors inspected the bells prior to the 2001 re-hang they intimated that the amount of work done was governed by the size of the bequest.

Soundclip: 
recorded in 2014