Mystery Bells

David Bagley david at r...
Tue Jan 20 16:28:03 GMT 2004

Remember this?
> > The identity of the two mystery bells has been found, however I'm not
> > to send the details to the list for a few days.

The two bells are from the old ruined Saxon church at Edvin Loach,
Herefordshire. Details are to be found on pages 150-3 of Church Bells of
Herefordshire by Fred Sharpe, who records three disused bells in the new
1860 Sir Gilbert Scott church (which is in the same churchyard) when he
visited on 5/9/1964.

The details of these bells are :-
1. 12" diameter, inscribed IOHN ROGARS E 1629 S B
2. 18" diameter, blank, probably early 14th C
3. 17.5" diameter, inscribed THOMAS HOVLDIN C W 1674

Chris Pickford tells me that all three bells were there when he visited on
3/4/1971, but when I visited sometime in 1991 there were only the two larger
ones, these being on show at the back of the church. Chris says that the
smaller bell (which in fact came from the nearby village of Tedstone Wafer)
was in the vestry when he visited.

Unfortunately, sometime between 29/12/1997 and 4/1/1998 the bells were
stolen. This was reported by the Malvern Gazette on 9/1/1998.

There is a bit of confusion about how many bells were acutally stolen. The
newspaper article says that three bells were stolen, but assuming that the
smallest bell is either still hidden in the vestry, or it had been lost
between 1971 and 1991, it is likely that only two bells were stolen.

Anyway, there is a happy ending to this one.

Sometime in November 2003, one of the Trowbridge ringers saw the medieval
bell in the back of a shop in the town and alerted Anne Willis who arranged
for some photos to be taken. The second bell was also there, but both were
without their original headstocks.

Anne did put the name HOVLDIN on Bell Historians, but nobody recognised it
at the time.

As you all know, the photos were posted to Bell Historians on 11/1/2004 and
this is when the penny dropped and I realised where these bells had come

A few frantic emails and phone calls followed, and Anne contacted Trowbridge

The bells are now in protective custody, so it is possible to lift the veil
of secrecy!

Just how they turned up in Trowbridge is a mystery, but it is to be hoped
that they are to be returned to Edvin Loach church sometime soon, who will
no doubt be advised on how not to lose them again.

David Bagley

(P.S. Very many thanks to Anne Willis, Chris Dalton and Chris Pickford for
their assistance.)

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