Facsimile inscriptions - Wooburn

jwalton22rg je.walton at v...
Tue Apr 29 12:30:46 BST 2003

Though not a precise copy of the inscription on the original bell, 
the 7th bell at Wooburn, Bucks, carries the words of its predecessor.

The current bell was cast in 1902 at Whitechapel and replaced a 
damaged 1712 Phelps bell. The Phelps bell originally hung at High 
Wycombe and was moved the 5.5 miles down the Wye valley around 1802-4 
when some of the bells at Wycombe were replaced (significant detail 
about that work can be found in the records in the belfry at Wycombe, 
and in other places too no doubt).

This leads to the unusual situation that the present bell carries the 
names of 18th century 'Aldermen' who had absolutely nothing to do 
with Wooburn at all! We are also able to claim that one of Wooburn's 
bells has been pealed to Caters!

Other than knowing that there were six bells at Wooburn from 1718 
(when Phelps added a treble), I have no details of the bell that was 
replaced at the beginning of the 19th century.

Back to the inscription.

The wording from the 1712 Wycombe bell was reproduced in 1902, albeit 
in the same lettering as the remainder of the new (1902) 
inscription. However, the letter 'N' has been deliberately reversed 
where it appeared on the 1712 bell. The 1712 inscription was topped 
and tailed in latin to describe the origins of the bell and on the 
opposite side is a poem composed by the vicar of the time (Revd JB 
Kirby) commemorating the restoration and Edward VII's recovery from 
illness to be crowned king the same year.

All in all, I think there are 73 words on the bell, and in the font 
used it is pretty much covered from top to bottom. Only one example 
of a more 'wordy' bell immediately springs to mind - the bass bell in 
the Loughborough carillon, which I believe has the names of the 
town's fallen from WWII (please correct me if I'm wrong). Are there 
any more heavily inscribed ringing bells than our 7th?

One hundred years on, the new bell cast for Wooburn by Taylors in 
2002 carries a matching poem describing the latest restoration and 
Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee.

A bit off the subject of facsimilie inscriptions, but I hope it was 
of some interest!

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