Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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A tale of two 3's …

Rings of 3 aren't especially rare, but ringing on them might be for 'mainline' ringers. It is fair to say, too, that as few ringers wish to ring on 3's, they are generally overlooked maintenance-wise and ringability suffers accordingly. Many are unringable or are nearly so. However, and most unusually, there are now two rings of 3 in the Guild's area that are fully ringable. One has been so for some years, but the other has just become ringable again. Both rings contain very ancient bells. They are:-

St Michael Archangel, South Littleton, Worcs

(Photo: Chris Povey)

The bells were rehung in a new 6-bell, 3-upon-3, cast-iron and steel bellframe with modern bell fittings by Taylors in 1965. It was hoped that the ring could be augmented as part of the Ring in the Millennium scheme, but sadly that project foundered. Details of the bells are:-

Treble   Worcester Foundry   c1420   4-0-17   C#
2ndJohn Taylor & Co19016-0-0B
TenorWorcester Foundryc14208-1-1A

The treble and tenor retain their canons. Both bells are listed by the Church Buildings Council (CBC) as being worthy of preservation because of their historical importance. The original 2nd may also have come from the Worcester Foundry, but it is recorded in Church Bells of Worcestershire (H B Walters, 1925) that the bell preceding the present 2nd was cast byThomas Hancox of Walsall in 1628. CBoW also records that 'during the restoration of the Church in 1883 excavations were made in the nave for laying a new floor, and an old pit was discovered between the font and the tower, containing pieces of melted metal and charcoal. It has been thought probable that this indicates the bell was cast here on the spot in 1628'. In 1900 a crack was discovered and Taylors recast the bell.

I have just finished hanging a set of repaired ropes here. Ropes on the treble and 2nd had disintegrated.. As these bells get very little use (probably 2-3 times a year at most) they are in effectively new condition and consequently go very well indeed.

Tidmington (dedication unknown), Warks

(Photo: Richard Lewis-Skeath)

All three bells are listed by the CBC, but none retains its canons. Apparently Taylors removed the bells over a year ago, so that work to the tower could be undertaken. Taylors have fitted modern headstocks and other fittings. The details of the bells are:-

Treble   Robert Atton16194-0-6E
2ndReading Foundryc15305-1-9D
TenorBartholomew Atton  c1590   6-0-22   C

Michael Chester's website 'Church Bells of Warwickshire' gives further info about the tower and bells and is worth looking at. There are photos of the bells before and after Taylors recent work. Richard Lewis-Skeath rang on them a few years ago and says they were very hard to ring. I suspect they go very much better now.    CP