New bell to be hung at St Mary Redcliffe Church after 110-year wait
A NEW bell is to be hung at St Mary Redcliffe Church - replacing one which is almost 250 years old.
Bellringers at the church will celebrate on February 25 when a new eighth bell is hung in the tower. It will replace a poor quality bell which was cast in 1768 by Thomas Bilbie of Chew Stoke.
The bell has been in need of replacing since 1903, when funds to replace it as part a project to improve the bells at the church could not be found.
The new bell, weighing three-quarters of a ton, will be delivered to the church in Redcliffe Way on February 22, when it will go on public display for two days.It will then be dedicated during the Sung Eucharist service on Sunday, February 24. It will be hoisted into the tower the following day.
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The existing 1768 bell will remain in the tower, in a new position above the other bells to be used as a Sanctus bell during Sunday Eucharist services.
Only one of the original seventeenth century bells in St Mary Redcliffe tower is still in use. It is the eleventh bell which was cast in 1622 – probably in the church graveyard, which was then a common practice.It was cast by Purdue, the former West Country bell founder.
It was rung at the time of the Great Plague, the Great Fire of London and the English Civil War.
The tenth bell, also cast in 1768 by Thomas Bilbie of Chew Stoke, but of better quality, remains part of the ring.
Anthony Bulteel, ringing master at St Mary Redcliffe Church, revealed that the story behind the new bell – cast in November last year by the John Taylor bell foundry in Loughborough – dates back to in 1903.
He said: "At that time, the church replaced bells one to seven and the twelfth in order to improve the sound quality of the ring.
"Due to cost constraints, the other bells were only refurbished. However, the old ninth bell was dropped and broken in transit by the railway company which replaced it at its own expense.
"The eighth bell was simply re-hung but, since then, ringers and non-ringers have commented on its poor sound.
"It is noticeable as the fourth note when the church clock chimes. It can be heard every quarter of an hour as a clunk."