[Bell Historians] Castlethorpe

George Dawson George at d...
Wed Mar 26 23:53:05 GMT 2003

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I have seen somewhere, & cannot find the reference, that recent research ha=
s shown that Johanna Hille & Johanna Sturdy are NOT the same person. A will=
has been found. Perhaps John Eisel could comment?
----- Original Message -----=20
From: David Cawley=20
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com=20
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 10:45 PM
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] Castlethorpe

Quote from George Elphick's Sussex Bells & Belfries pp 43-5:

'Johanna Hille, Richard's (d 1440) wife, was a most remarkable woman. Sh=
e not only became a bellfounder and carried on her husband's business, but =
again occupied the position during her second widowhood, as well as being m=
other-in-law to another founder. Two deeds are preserved at Faversham Chur=
ch, Kent, which mention her as Johanna Hille of London, widow in 1441 when =
she made them five new bells; and as Johanna Sturdy of London, widow in 145=
9, when she supplied them with a new tenor weighing 35-cwt. The fact that =
we have two widows bearing the same Christian name eighteen years apart, an=
d two groups of bells bearing the same lozenge, indicative of womanhood, gi=
ves strong evidence for assigning these bells to the same person....=20=20

'She used her husband's (i.e. Richard Hille's) cross, letter moulds and h=
er own lozenge, which, by its varying grounds, was cast in wax. (He gives =
seven remaining bells from her first widowhood). Assuming that her bells b=
ear the same relationship in bells per year as her late husband's, she prob=
ably married John Sturdy about 1443.

'Johanna Sturdy (as she now was) must have been very active during her se=
cond widowhood, for, if we accept the date of 1458 for her husband's (John =
Sturdy's) death, it only leaves her a few years to cast her second group of=
14 bells that have been traced. We know that she must have been dead by 1=
465, for her son-in-law, Henry Jordan (also a bellfounder) makes mention of=
her in his will of 1468 as being buried with her first husband. Her bells=
are exacctly the same as John Sturdy's with the addition of her lozenge'.

You can read 19th-century accounts by Tyssen and Stahlschmidt in CB Susse=
x, Surrey Bells & London Bellfounders and CB Kent. Whatever they say, you =
can be pretty certain that George Elphick's summary is accurate.

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