[Bell Historians] Temple Church, Bristol

David Cawley dave at d...
Sat Apr 5 18:53:57 BST 2003

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The famous leaning tower was not damaged in the war apart from some scorchi=
ng of the stonework on the east face. The remainder of the church was gutt=
ed and the nave arcades and chancel arch subsequently demolished. The oute=
r walls have been restored, window tracery consolidated and the tower and s=
urviving west porch kept in repait by English Heritage in whom it is now Ve=

The tower is not open to the public. The ground floor is quite lofty and h=
as a stone vaulted ceiling with central circular bell hole.

The first floor is the former ringing chamber, which was always a bare and =
bleak apartment, ringing on Temple bells being a fairly limited occurrence.=
The St Thomas ringers who were the nearest used to form the basis of the =
band. We hung some old ropes up through the eight rope holes with their sa=
lleys at ringing height, and were able to see for ourselves the effect repo=
rted by senior Bristol ringers that it was the ropes which appeared to be =
leaning. There is also a Taylor Ellacombe chiming manual installed in 1935=

The second and very lofty floor contains only the rope chutes. Both this a=
nd the first floor have their windows substantially blocked and small ones =
inserted to admit light.

The third floor is the bell chamber. It contains the massive cast iron A-s=
ided frame of 1887, by John Taylor & Co. It stands on a timber foundation. =
All the bell fittings except the Ellacombe Hammers were removed with the b=
ells in the middle of 1941, but the fittings were not re-used. All were of=
1887 - wooden stocks, with ball bearings and EC hammers of 1935. There is=
also a small wooden frame for the Sanctus bell which is now back in the ne=
w church of Holy Cross, Inns Court, along with Temple Church font.

The tower roof is scary - there is no parapet and on the west side, overhan=
ging 5' 4" - there is a particularly dramatic effect. The spiral stair goe=
s all the way up and it is quite a mountaineering exercise, as the lean of =
the tower exacerbates the effort required to reach the top. Probably if it=
were not for the lean, the tower would have pinnacles and be not unlike St=
Stephen's in profile. St Thomas Church tower although much refaced and re=
stored is a variation on the lowest three stages of the Temple Church tower=
- and it too leans visibly, but only a fraction compared with its neighbou=
r; the disposition of the internal floors is quite different.

----- Original Message -----=20
From: David Bagley=20
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com=20
Sent: Saturday, April 05, 2003 3:03 PM
Subject: [Bell Historians] Temple Church, Bristol

Does anybody have any details on the Temple Church, Bristol?

I know the bells are now at the Cathedral, but I would like to know a bit
more about what's left.

David Bagley.

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