[Bell Historians] Re: Woodchurch etc

Andrew Bull a_m_bull at y...
Sun Feb 27 18:38:07 GMT 2005

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The discrepancies with some of the Taylor weights are for different reasons,
and it is to Andrew Higson's great credit that he not only generously allows
access to Taylor's business archives for serious research, but also bravely
permits the correct details to be published. Worcester Cathedral tenor is a
case in point. Many members of this list might have noticed that, while some
details may be missing from recent bell surveys, concise and correct details
are now invariably given for Taylor jobs, and this reflects much credit on
John Taylor & Co as a company.

The differences in weights given for Gillett jobs between the tuning books
and the tower notice is a well-known phenomenon, and I believe that someone
has compiled a list. I have never seen an explanation for this, however.

Chris Pickford's point about "exact" weights may be demonstrated in
instances where it is possible to compare "as supplied" weights with
"scrapping" weights. To give two examples, both weighed by Taylors:

Worsley, Lancs

Retuned 1912 Scrapped 1935

1. 6-1-27 6-1-18
2. 6-3-25 6-3-16
3. 6-1- 4 6-0-18
4. 6-2-21 6-2-10
5. 9-0- 7 8-3-16
6. 11-1- 8 11-0-21
7. 13-3- 4 13-2-17
8. 21-0-14 20-3-11

Walton-on-the-Hill, Lancs

Retuned 1900 Scrapped 1953

1. 4-0-25 4-0-21
2. 4-0-22 4-0-23
3. 4-1- 1 4-1- 1
4. 4-1-21 4-1-21
5. 6-0-21 6-0-16
6. 8-1- 2 8-1-16

Which would be regarded as "correct" as the weights of the old ring? In my
county "lists" that can be found elsewhere on Bell Historians, I try to give
details of the ring which preceded a "modern" ring. Where available, I give
the scrapping weights, but instances such as the above present something of
a dilemma.

Andrew Bull

-----Original Message-----
From: David Cawley [mailto:dcawley at w...]
Sent: 27 February 2005 17:18
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] Re: Woodchurch etc

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

WHITSTABLE St Alphege Seasalter. On 1st August 1969 we took delivery from
Whitechapel 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
"-From metal provided from Tottington Church bells, casting a peal of six
with 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
typist's error or what? I have not examined the settings or tuning records.
All 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
weighed in. I did not query it then as the total weight charged for was as
set with the 3-1-13 tenor.
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

Next one is G&J. We have already discussed St Nicholas Leicester (Tower
record 22.0.14; tuning books 22.0.0.; invoiced weight 22.0.14). But go to
Tunbridge 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 library and what is in the framed record in the tower. It would
be interesting 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
record. Other examples have been identified. An interesting one is the
ex-Bishop 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 show "Woodchurch" type discrepancies:

Sent Off Nett
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
might test the accuracy of WBF/JT scales by sitting on each and seeing which
side went down furthest in each case!


----- Original Message -----
From: CHRIS PICKFORD <mailto:c.j.pickford.t21 at b...>
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com <mailto:bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com>
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 clear
in my answer, and I agree with him that this is nothing about history proper
(i.e. interpretation, use of evidence to make sense of things). It's simply
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 physical
data about a bell.

Others (Mark Regan, for one) have already made the point on this list that
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 make
the activity any less valid. We need an accurate record of what exists, and
the Woodchurch debate sits very comfortably in this context as we're trying
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 weights
is that they represent an actual weighing on scales - never mind the issue
of accuracy for a moment - at a particular point in time. For me, there are
a couple of main points:
* If a weight is quoted, I want to know the source
* 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)
* If a discrepancy is found, then I want to try and establish the
correct information by checking at source (and in the majority of cases this
produced 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
would 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
explanation. Nigel?

Chris Pickford

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