[Bell Historians] Council for the Conservation of Bellfoundries (CCB)

A Willis zen16073 at z...
Tue Apr 27 10:35:36 BST 2004

Andrew Wilby writes of

'The dangerous practice of casting in a churchyard will have given way to
advantages of setting up a permanent foundry site.'

There is an interesting 'half-way' point in the late 16th and early 17th
century here. Roger Purdue I certainly cast bells in Bristol, usually when
only a single bell was required. Peals were cast at a temporary foundry
near the church, which may also have been used for other nearby churches;
Melkdham/?Lacock, Highworth and Hannington are two that are known. The
foundry may have been the churchyard, but certainly at Devizes a barn was
rented for the purpose.

As for dangerous, why should it be any more so than the 'home' foundry.
Great care seems to have been taken when setting up the place; at Melksham
they probably got good quality hearthstone from near Calne. Casting a ring
near the church would have reduced any damage resulting from a long journey
from home foundry to the church.

In the 18th century one of the Bilbies cast a set of bells near the church
somewhere in Dorset, simply because the transport of a ring would have
presented great problems.

Anne Willis

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