The tower has only one remaining bell, which was cast by John of Gloucester in about 1354. It is inscribed as follows:
'R' of GRACIA inverted, as is 'V' of TECVM. Cabled canons.
The 3rd bell at Ely Cathedral cast 1354)
courtesy of Chris Pickford)
The bell is very similar to
the four blank bells at Ely Cathedral, which records show were cast by John of
Gloucester during his visit to Ely in 1354. The Ely records show in great detail
the materials which were used, including clay, tin, copper and beer, proving
that the bell was cast at Ely, and not transported from Gloucester. Most
of the other bells in the area reputed to be cast by John of Gloucester
(Broadway, Malvern Priory, Stoke Lacy, and Little Dewchurch) are probably not by
John of Gloucester, but a successor
The frame is an excellent example of a high sided short headed mediaeval frame dating from c1350 for five bells. Four of the five pits are intact, and the remains of the fifth (just visible at the bottom of the photograph) leans against it.
eastern end of the frame.
The four intact pits are arranged so that the bells would swing N-S, with the fifth (and partially missing) pit facing E-W. Metal straps have been put across the pits at some point.
The remains of the fifth pit,
with just one curved brace left. The other side of this pit is missing
completely. Note the different style of jointing between the curved brace and
king post only, suggesting that this was a later addition.
Previous to 1969, it hung from
its original 14th century headstock in the easternmost pit, this
probably being its original position in the tower, where it was clocked by means
of a chiming hammer. The headstock and clapper still exist in the belfry, and a
photograph of this arrangement is in the back of the church.
In 1552 there were 'ij
small bells whereof on is not our own', and in 1740, there was '1 bell'.
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