Most residents will have heard our wonderful Church bells ringing out over the Parish, either on practice night most Wednesday evenings, or on a Sunday morning to call worshippers to the service.
Special events such as a wedding or a ring from visiting bell ringers are an added bonus, but how many people actually know anything about the bells?
There are SIX bells up in the tower, accessed via a locked door and a winding stone stairway from the vestry.
There is a TREBLE, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and a TENOR
The TREBLE is the newest of all the bells, being cast in 1971 by John Taylor & Co. The John Taylor Bell Foundry Limited, trading as John Taylor & Co is the world’s largest working bell foundry and is located in Loughborough
Next comes the 2nd, and this was cast in 1885 by John Warner and Sons who had bell foundries all around the country. Their real claim to fame (after our bell of course), is the ‘Big Ben’ bell in the houses of Parliament. Sadly they were dissolved in 1949.
Next comes the 3rd bell and the 5th bell, both cast in 1636 – and then the TENOR which was cast in 1639. All three of these bells were cast by the Thomas Pennington foundry which was locally located in Exeter back in 1625 through until 1658 when his brother John took over the business.
Finally we have the oldest of our bells, the 4th, and this was cast around 1450 by the William Chamberlain bell foundry based in Aldgate, London, who worked from 1426 to 1456.
The bells all hang on a very sturdy wooden frame constructed by H Stokes of Woodbury back in 1885, and were re-hung on roller bearings in 1885 with a new metal extension for the treble and 2nd back in 1971 by John Taylor & Co
* The most used bell of them all is the TENOR bell, and that is the one you hear chiming on the hour and the half hour every day of the year.
Thanks to our head bell ringer Colin Axford for letting me share this information – and also to all our bell ringers who keep up the long running tradition of bell ringing in our Village.