[Bell Historians] Lists of bellfounders

Chris Pickford c.j.pickford at t...
Wed Jan 7 18:06:49 GMT 2004

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David Struckett's book is still available - =A33 (post free) from David W. =
Struckett, 30 Blagrove Lane, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG41 4BA. The availabili=
ty of this and other titles is indicated on the Publications page via Roger=
Bailey's change-ringing resources website. The web page hasn't been update=
d for a while, but I can e-mail a copy of the latest version to anyone who =
wants it.

I think, though - as David Bryant suggests - that David Struckett's list is=
mainly derived from the earlier one compiled by H.B. Walters, with some up=

But, reader beware - whatever list you're using. There are real problems w=
ith much of what has been written about mediaeval bells, and in attribution=
s to named founders. It's a pack of cards waiting to tumble, and very few b=
ells can be safely assigned to particular founders. While we know a fair am=
ount about named founders from documentary sources, there are very few case=
s where we can be sure that the people named in documents actually cast the=
bells which have been attributed to them.=20

Much of it is on the basis of: X(founder) is named at Y(place) in 1450. Thi=
s bell looks mid C15th. There are similar bells in an area round Y(place). =
Therefore X(founder) cast them.=20=20

Quite a reasonable approach - but not in any way SAFE as a firm attribution=
. Too much depends on a subjective assessment of the date of a bell or gro=
up of bells, and on assumptions about successive use of lettering and marks=
by different founders. Many of the earlier writers - on whose work we all =
tend to rely - based their assessments on lettering, inscriptions and marks=
alone, without paying much attention to differences of shape, profile, mou=
ldings and canon design etc.=20

Overall, we have layers of evidence built on theory and speculation - and i=
deas originally put forward as tentative suggestions have been gradually ac=
cepted as proven facts.=20=20=20

Answers? I certainly don't have them. But I do think we need to be very cau=
tious in accepting a lot of the "received wisdom" about mediaeval bells, an=
d to avoid using expressions such as "cast by X" (attributed to X / possibl=
y by X is usually about as definite as we can be) unless the evidence is wa=

----- Original Message -----=20
From: Bill Hibbert=20
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com=20
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 1:18 AM
Subject: [Bell Historians] Lists of bellfounders

Do look at Struckett first, it is a quite new, widely available book.=20
I'm not a real expert in these things, but I have never come across a=20
founder that Struckett doesn't include. If you can't find a copy,=20
send me a private email.

Bill H

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