[Bell Historians] Taylor borders

David Cawley dave at d...
Wed Mar 19 21:57:15 GMT 2003

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Regarding the loss of the old Glastonbury bells: yes, they were difficult t=
o ring and yes, they did place unacceptable strains on the magnificent mult=
i-pinaccled tower hung where they were. Rehanging was imperative, and at a=
lower level. It would have been quite possible to do so had they been hun=
g in a properly designed two-tier frame. I understand that the wish was to=
reduce the weight and to hang the bells on one level (or to hang the bells=
on one level and therefore to have to reduce the weight). The result is a=
very ordinary ring, which go reasonably well, which obviously do not affec=
t the structure so severely and which in my view are quite out of keeping w=
ith the impressive tower in which they hang.

My first acquaintance with St John's bells was on a Glastonbury pilgrimage;=
they used to sound the Glastonbury quarters clearly across the town and th=
e Abbey site. Now all one hears is the odd "ding" or the occasional "dong"=
. More recently they were rung for the Pilgrimages, and what a sound it wa=
s, with masses of worshippers in the High Street and in and around the chur=
ch. Now they don't ring for Pilgrimages (theological reasons) but the pres=
ent "ordinary" ring could never make the impression the old ones did, chime=
d or rung.

Chris Dalton cites the case of Avebury, where in fact the 19-cwt tenor of f=
ive only survived because it was cast by Richard Phelps who came originally=
from the village. The 5-cwt (well 4-2-20) six are pretty enough and indeed=
the old bells were said to be unringable, but with hindsight it would have=
been far better to stick two fingers up at the then prevailing fad for sav=
ing money by selling heavy bells to pay for light ones (yes, I know we had =
a 3-cwt six at Whitstable, but we were not replacing a 17th-century five). =
Avebury, a World Heritage Site, of all places, should have kept its histor=
y, not melted it.


----- Original Message -----=20
From: Susan Dalton=20
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com=20
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 7:32 PM
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] Taylor borders

Looks like Taylors' vine to me.

Not sure what all the recent correspondence about the (in my view,
pernicious) practice about making heavy rings lighter has to do with bell
history! But my pennyworth would be to ask what people think of the
scrapping of the 19 cwt 17th century ring of 5 (apart from the 18th centu=
tenor which was kept as a clock bell) and the substitution of a 4 cwt rin=
of 6 in a large and handsome 15th century Wiltshire tower of my

When my brain is working better in the morning I will concoct a reply to
someof the recent references to Llewellins and James (Broughton Gifford,
East Ardsley et al). What I can say without reference to my notes is that
the former 7th at Glastonbury St John was cast by the same unknown founde=
as Yeovilton tenor, a bell at Cherington in Glos, and the back 3 at Lamph=
in Pembrokeshire. It was the lighter and earlier Llewellin bell that was
cast for Peter Llewellin at Whitechapel.

Christopher Dalton

>From: "David Bryant" <djb122 at y...>
>To: "Bell Historians" <bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com>
>Subject: [Bell Historians] Taylor borders
>Date: Wed, Mar 19, 2003, 4:12 pm

> My botanical knowlege is severely limted, so can someone tell me what t=
> border in the attached photo is? I've got another one to identify too, =
> I can find the photo.
> David
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