Bell casting in church building

David Bagley bells at r...
Tue Dec 24 09:39:00 GMT 2002

In Worcestershire, bell casting pits have been discovered inside the
Churches at at Pershore Abbey and at South Littleton, the latter possibly
dating from 1628 when Thomas Hancox cast a bell there.

The Pershore one was discovered recently and is described in the
transactions of the Worcestershire Archaelogical Society 3rd Series, Vol 17

Brief notes from the above :- A pit some 500mm in diameter was excavated in
the south transcept containing fragments of burnt clay, loam and copper
alloy working debris. Around the diameter of the pit the soil was
discoloured by burning, indicating that some considerable heat had been
generated. Some 4m away, more fragments of copper alloy debris were found,
probably indicating the site of the furnace. X-ray flourenscence analysis of
the debris suggested that the metal fragments contained enough tin to be
diagnostic of bell metal.

Radio carbon dating on oak charcoal samples was undertaken, giving a date of
between about AD982 or AD899. A combination of stratification and the
radiocarbon dating suggests that the pit was actually dug soon after the
south transcept was built in about 1100.

David Bagley.

More information about the Bell-historians mailing list