[Bell Historians] Woodchurch etc

Andrew Bull a_m_bull at y...
Fri Feb 25 20:18:11 GMT 2005

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 I think that the important thing with an EXACT weight is that it implies
that someone has actually put the bell on accurate set of scales and
recorded the weight properly. The weight is a reflection of what the bell
actually weighs, and not a guess/estimate/reputed weight. As Chris says, a
discrepancy of 4 pounds is not earth-shattering, but the fact that someone
at Whitechapel weighed the bell after tuning and found that it weighed
4-0-3, and yet it was subsequently recorded as 3-3-27, indicates that some
sort of transcription error has taken place, and it could have been more
Giles may call me a nit-picker, but to give another example: when I did
a survey of the Monmouth Diocese, I was always puzzled by the 9th at
Chepstow. Part of a ring of eight from the Evans foundry, Taylors told me it
weighed 14-2-8, which made it unusually thick for an Evans bell, at 42¾
inches in F-sharp. Its thickness constant was much greater than the rest of
the ring. I even suspected that it may have been recast quietly by Taylors
when they restored the bells in 1959, but a visual check showed that this
was not the case. Eventually, I was able to check the job book for myself,
and I was further puzzled by the figures: received at 13-1-4, sent off at
14-2-8. I showed this to Andrew Higson, remarking that that must have been
one hell of a resin pad! A check of other documents revealed a transcription
error: the finished weight was 12-2-8, which fits in with the
characteristics of the rest of the ring.
Perhaps something similar happened at Woodchurch. We will never know
whether this was just the slip of a pen, or a completely made-up/guessed
"exact" weight when the proper figures were not to hand.

Andrew Bull

-----Original Message-----
From: CHRIS PICKFORD [mailto:c.j.pickford.t21 at b...]
Sent: 26 February 2005 03:30
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] Woodchurch etc

Brief contribution this time, but Giles misses the point. Accuracy of
weighing isn't really the key issue. It's simply important (in my view) to
record the "best available" weights of bells as one element in a range of
descriptive data.

I've aired my views on this before too. But I think the essence is that we
should be looking for the weights as recorded at different times in the
history of a bell, and the weight to go in "Dove" and other reference
sources (including area websites) should be the most recent and/or best
available "recorded weight".

In the case of Woodchurch, a "duff" weight seems to have crept into a number
of guides through some error. The correction (a discrepancy of 4lbs, as has
been noted) isn't earth-shattering or significant, but we should be making
amendments to guides in the interests of accuracy - accuracy of information,
that is, and not necessarily accuracy of weight.

This may seem like a semantic difference, but this way of looking at the
data does help in an area where a) weighing doesn't seem to be reliably
accurate, and b) a reasonably practical compromise is needed. Think of
figures as "recorded weights" (rather than exact or accurate weights) and we
have a pragmatic solution


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