[Bell Historians] Oldest Bells

Chris Pickford c.j.pickford at t...
Tue May 21 07:43:45 BST 2002

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The problem with Mike's questions is that they assume one has firm dates fo=
r things. In reality we often don't!=20=20

Certainly the dating of fittings is often highly circumstantial or impressi=

I have believed for a long while that the whole question of dating mediaeva=
l bells - there are virtually no certainties of date or attribution - needs=
a radical rethink and a fresh overview. The "history books" were largely =
written on the basis of lettering and inscriptions, without regard to bell =
shape and characteristics. Named founders are linked to existing bells on =
the vaguest and loosest of suppositions - i.e. we think this bell is of c.1=
480. A founder called xxx is mentioned in a document of 1465 so he probably=
cast it.=20=20

But, just a couple of offerings to the debate:

Oldest bell in a ringing peal: The 4th at Halford (Warwicks) of c.1320 must=
be in the frame

Oldest ring: Smithfield (c.1510) yes, but St.Lawrence Ipswich has five medi=
aevals which are older

Contemporary fittings: Try East Carlton, Northants - fittings of 1750s (bel=
ls), possibly replaced when the church was rebuilt in 1788 (I think I favou=
r the earlier date) - wheels renewed, but otherwise original. [Ashow fitti=
ngs probably 1793]


----- Original Message -----=20
From: mikechester_uk=20
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com=20
Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 12:21 AM
Subject: [Bell Historians] Oldest Bells

An old chestnut, I know.

But, on a long journey back from ringing in Wales, Bill H -=20
Llanfeugan are a "Premier League" ring of 8, Taylors 1921(?) if=20
memory serves me right, record them just in case - superb!=20

What is

a) the oldest bell in a ringing peal

b) the oldest ring - Smithfield was the one that came to mind

c) the oldest ringable ring on contemporary fittings

Any offers?

Let's start with Ashow for c) early C18 - though the wheels look=20
younger admittedly

Mike Chester

Yahoo! Groups Sponsor=20

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