David Bryant davidbryant at h...
Sun Jan 9 08:57:58 GMT 2005

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Further to Alan's email, here is some further information.

Baldersby church is an estate church, and was built to the designs of Willi=
am Butterfield in 1856-8. It has a south porch tower which is effectively f=
ree-standing, being butted up against the south passage aisle. Inside, the =
church it high and dark, which much use of structural polychromy.

The tower is quite small in plan, probably about twelve feet square. It is =
quite tall, however, and has a high spire which can be seen for miles aroun=
d. Some cracking is visible in the walls from both inside and out, and the =
keystone over the main south dooway has dropped several inches.

The ground floor of the tower has a vaulted ceiling: brick webs and stone r=
ibs. There is no bell-hole, so the bells must have gone in through the larg=
e louvres. A spiral staircase leads to the ringing chamber, an elegant room=
with a stone floor and a large window looking to the west. Eight ropes han=
g in a circle (a remarkably good circle considering the three-level frame),=
put there fairly recently to recreate the original feel of the chamber. Th=
e tenor box also remains, and the functioning Ellacombe is played from here=
. The eight clappers are mounted on the wall. Three of these (1, 6 and 7) a=
re the originals of 1857, the others are replacements of the 1870s or 80s, =
of which more later. There is also a small bellwheel mounted on the wall, g=
iven recently by David Town. A solitary handbell hangs on a hook by the win=

The spiral staircase goes on up further, into the former intermediate chamb=
er. The ropes are tied off just above the ceiling, but the rope chutes and =
drawing pulleys remain in place. The chamber is lighted by two small window=
s in the south face, and through an open trapdoor in the ceiling the treble=
and its electromagnetic clapper can be seen. A modern timber staircase lea=
ds to the next floor, where the treble hangs between two substantial timber=
beams. It retains its ringing fittings, although the wheel is partly broke=
n. The bell has cable-patterned radial canons, and original fittings includ=
ing hoop gudgeons.

A ladder leads up to the next tier of bells, in high-sided cast iron frames=
. They are the back three, and all appear to have been cast without canons.=
They too have their original fittings.

Another ladder leads to the top tier. This is a lowside frame, and contains=
mixture of composite oak heads and cast iron braces, and framesides which =
are solely of cast iron. It contains bells 2-5, and clearly these were rehu=
ng in the 1870s or 80s by Taylor's. Their canons have been removed, and the=
y had new fittings including plate gudgeons. The clappers were also replace=
d, as was that of the tenor (see earlier note). Gouging in the wall shows t=
hat there has been some reorganisation fo the frame, but exactly what happe=
ned is not clear. There is a deep cut-out which looks like it is for a bell=
to swing just above the level of the top tier, and away from any of the be=
lls. It is not high enough for another bell to have hung above those in the=
top tier. All eight bells retain parts of the wheels, with that to the 7th=
being the most complete.

Unfortunately, there was a power cut so the electric hammers couldn't be us=
ed, but we did chime the bells on the Ellacombe. The tenor is a very impres=
sive sounding bell but, as I had been told before, they are not all good - =
the 5th and 7th are not particularly good sounding bells, but the others al=
l are and the effect of them chimed in rounds is quite fine.

Despite being unringable, these bells are well looked after. We were shown =
them by the chap who looks after them, and he is clearly aware of their sig=
nificance and obviously looks after them well - the tower is clean and all =
metalwork recently painted.

More research is definitely needed to establish exactly what changes have b=
een made to the installation since originally installed. The story is not s=
imple, of that I am sure.

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