[Bell Historians] Re: Woodchurch etc

David Cawley dcawley at w...
Sun Feb 27 17:18:09 GMT 2005

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I think Chris's 'three points' deserve attention - though it doesn't solve =
the Woodchurch problem; and Chris Povey's point about undrilled bells going=
through the hands of non-founding bellhangers after supply is a valid one.

It is when you come to "weights supplied with bells" and here are three exa=

WHITSTABLE St Alphege Seasalter. On 1st August 1969 we took delivery from W=
hitechapel of a ring of six bells complete with a tower record showing the =
tenor as 3-1-13, the weight that has always been published. On August 19th =
the invoice was rendered (CB/33/69) which included=20
"-From metal provided from Tottington Church bells, casting a peal of six w=
ith the Tenor 2' 0" in diameter, weighing C 3.3.1 and a total weight of C =
12.0.11. All accurately and harmonically tuned in the key of 'G'. " =
The total weight of the bells is that with the 3-1-13 tenor - was this a ty=
pist's error or what? I have not examined the settings or tuning records. A=
ll the other weights in the invoice - 15-1-17 of bells from Tottington, 12-=
2-17 for the existing church bell and 7-0-17 for the tubes - are all as wei=
ghed in. I did not query it then as the total weight charged for was as set=
with the 3-1-13 tenor.=20
Two archaic weights - 3-2-25 (1969: 3-2-5) for Tottington treble (JT 1851) =
and 12-2-23 for the existing bell are xplained by more accurate modern scal=

Next one is G&J. We have already discussed St Nicholas Leicester (Tower rec=
ord 22.0.14; tuning books 22.0.0.; invoiced weight 22.0.14). But go to Tunb=
ridge Wells, St Luke on http://kent.lovesguide.com and see the significant =
discrepancies in each bell between what is in the tuning books in Croydon l=
ibrary and what is in the framed record in the tower. It would be interesti=
ng to compare the exactly contemporary tower record of the bells of almost =
identical size with the tuning records at Croydon.

As to JT&Co, Chris Povey pointed out the 'pencilling in' of the Evesham rec=
ord. Other examples have been identified. An interesting one is the ex-Bish=
op Latimer ring now at Perry Barr. The bells were cast in 1957 (5th in 1904=
) and were received back in 1972. The weights recorded for the front six sh=
ow "Woodchurch" type discrepancies:

Sent Off Nett=20
1957 1972

4-0-6 4-0-7
4-0-26 4-0-25
4-2-7 4-2-7
5-0-3 5-0-1
6-0-14 6-0-11
7-1-16 7-1-13
- 10-0-12
- 13-3-22#
# Note says 'given later as 14-0-8'

CJP and I met at the Johnson on Saturday evening and I suggested that we mi=
ght test the accuracy of WBF/JT scales by sitting on each and seeing which =
side went down furthest in each case!



----- Original Message -----=20
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com=20
Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2005 7:25 PM
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] Re: Woodchurch etc

Must be brief - I'm supposed to be working to meet a deadline! - but I'd =
like to just add a couple of points (apart from pointing out that Giles has=
mistaken me for Chris Dalton)
I did take the point made by Giles, even though it may not have been clea=
r in my answer, and I agree with him that this is nothing about history pro=
per (i.e. interpretation, use of evidence to make sense of things). It's si=
mply about documenting or recording what exists and here (to repeat what I =
said) the only significance of a weight is as one element in a range of phy=
sical data about a bell.=20=20
Others (Mark Regan, for one) have already made the point on this list tha=
t Bell History is a misnomer for what we do when we record and document the=
contents of our belfries. But the fact that it isn't "history" doesn't mak=
e the activity any less valid. We need an accurate record of what exists, a=
nd the Woodchurch debate sits very comfortably in this context as we're try=
ing to establish what is the "correct" weight (not necessarily an accurate =
one - even though this is the ideal)
Andrew Bull has helpfully stated that the key thing about recorded weight=
s is that they represent an actual weighing on scales - never mind the issu=
e of accuracy for a moment - at a particular point in time. For me, there a=
re a couple of main points:
a.. If a weight is quoted, I want to know the source=20
b.. If several weights are quoted at different periods, then I want to =
know which is which (i.e. what weight was "current" at what date)=20
c.. If a discrepancy is found, then I want to try and establish the cor=
rect information by checking at source (and in the majority of cases this p=
roduced definitive answers, at least with regard to "recorded" weights)
On Woodchurch, it's clear that there are two possible recorded weights - =
both reliable in their way (and if the bell was weighed again, the result w=
ould probably be neither 4-0-3 or 3-3-27, of course). As I've said, I hope =
that Whitechapel can clarify. It may turn out to be a simple error in that =
the wrong weight was entered in the book - but there may be another explana=
tion. Nigel?
Chris Pickford

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