[Bell Historians] Ellacombe or not?

Richard Offen richard.offen at o...
Sat May 22 18:04:46 BST 2004

> The term 'Ellacombe' refers to the design rather than the maker. 
There are a number of variants -some with the ropes tied into a 
board which is moved down from one set of pegs onto another to pull 
the hammers close to the bells (e.g. Mallaby), and more sophisticated 
ones with ratchets, such as Taylor's used extensively.
> I would suggest 'chiming rack' as a generic term, but most in this 
country at least are Ellacombe racks of one form or another. 
Likewise, the hammers they use which are designed to strike the bell 
on the inside of the lip, are Ellacombe hammers even if they are 
operated by a direct rope with no rack. Earlier Ellacombe Hammers are 
direct-action; those supplied since around the 1950s tend to be 
> David

The entire apparatus ("contrivance," as Ellacombe himself described 
it)was indeed invented by the Reverend Gent so that one man could 
ring the bells during a period when many parsons were kicking out 
their bands ringers for refusing comply with the desire for the bells 
to be rung for Sunday service (is history repeating itself at the 
moment?) and not just secular occasions. The first one was 
installed in 1821 to the bells of Ellacombe's church, Bitton, in 
Gloucestershire(Jennings,The Development of British Bell Fittings, p 
135). His hammer design was as David describes.

The rope rack from which the bells are chimed was also designed by 
the Rev'd H.T.E., but this has evolved and been improved over the 
last 150 or so years. In more recent times, similar chime racks 
have also been used for bells fitted with carillon clappers - the 
chime of four at St Peter's, Canterbury, is an example of this 


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