Temporary Local Foundries

John David johnedavid at h...
Tue May 4 19:03:10 BST 2004

In 1736 Jean Baptiste Brocard, Master Founder, of Lorraine, came 
to Guernsey and recast the bells of The Town Church. Transport of the bells 
from France would have been no problem, the Church was and still is only a 
few yards from the Quay which has deep water at high tide, and the weight of 
the largest bell was comparable with that of the cannon installed in the 
local fortifications, which were apparently handled without difficulty.
M Brocard used a furnace at Glategny, then on the outskirts of St 
Peter Port, just inland from the sea shore and about a quarter of a mile N 
of the Church. Here on Monday, August 16th 1736 were cast the eight ringing 
bells, tenor about 20 Cwt (2082 Guernsey pounds) and also on Sept 25th three 
bells, tenor 9 3/4cwt for St Martin's Church. An approx 15 cwt clock bell 
for the Town Church clock was also cast; we do not know on what day as there 
seems to be no mention of it in any contemporary documents.
The furnace and foundry used must have been large enough to melt 
the 8000 (English) lb of metal used in the eight bells, plus an allowance 
for wastage, pouring losses, risers, and so on. It is recorded that about 
150lb of metal was left over from the Town bells. There are references in 
the churchwarden’s accounts to the purchase of bricks and restoring the site 

A bell-casting pit has recently been excavated at the Castel Church, 
Guernsey, in what was at the time the west end of the N aisle. Portions of 
bell-mould with inscriptions (but no date) indicate that it was used by 
local clockmaker Nicolas Blondel (1703-1775) whose other known bells at St 
Saviour’s School and St Sampson’s Church were cast in 1736 and 1759 

Does this indicate that French (and Guernsey) founders were itinerant long 
after English ones had permanent foundries?

John David

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