[Bell Historians] Warners and Harmonic Tuning

David Cawley dcawley at w...
Sun Jun 20 22:38:21 BST 2004

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You ought to have heard the eight at Mangotsfield (aka Maggotsfield), Glos.=
Cast and tuned by JW & Sons Ltd in 1921. Iremember the first time I heard =
them; I think it was the last peal on those bells - the striking was fine, =
but the most dreadful racket was being made. Yet they supported a very good=
band of ringers under John Jefferies and his family right up almost to the=

I was given the task of helping to look after the parish in 1992/3, by whic=
h time the back three had become unringable; it was very necessary to get s=
omething going on which the people could become focussed. The bells project=
was the outcome, and an excellent new ring was cast by Taylors. I remember=
being present when the tenor was being persuaded (with difficulty) to part=
company with its latter existence. Apparently JW & Sons Ltd had vast quant=
ities of shell-cases left over after the Great War; I am not sure what they=
were made of, but wouldn't be surprised if some of them found their way in=
to Mangotsfield's old bells.

They were supposed to be tuned "on the harmonic principles advocated by Can=
on Simpson". That did not happen, and if anyone is interested in the pitche=
s, I will post them up.

RCO asks about Christ Church, Erith. I rang there last year and enjoyed the=
m, but I am informed that this is not a universal sentiment.

----- Original Message -----=20
From: Richard Offen=20
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com=20
Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2004 11:06 AM
Subject: [Bell Historians] Warners and Harmonic Tuning

Having looked at the major player of the 20th century in this field=20
(and Alfred Bowell), we ought to think about Warners and what they=20
got up to ("if we must!" I hear you sigh!).

Chelmsford Cathedral are approaching harmonically tuned, but, in my=20
opinion, not near enough to be pleasant! I seem to remember=20
Daresbury, Cheshire as being pretty near to harmonically tuned, but=20
it is nearly 40 years since I rang there!=20=20=20

What are Christ Church, Erith like? It's so long since I rang=20
there, I can't remember, but I don't remember them making a huge=20
impression on me.

It's clear that they were getting close to a shape that could produce=20
an octave hum and the other partials in correct line, but some of=20
their individual bells of this type were dreadful. The sixth (now=20
eighth at Wye was cast in 1913 (or was it 1914?) and was best=20
described using Bill Theobald's famous simile involving a cow's=20
bottom and sundry other anatomical features! After tuning at=20
Whitechapel (no Mr Hedgcock, they did NOT hack great lumps out of=20
it!), it came back as a superb bell. I gather from Matthew Higby=20
that the Warner bell in the new ring at Marston Bigot has tuned up=20
exceedingly well too.

So when did Warner's start trying to produce bells with octave hums=20
and did they ever achieve a decent, harmonically tuned ring of bells?


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