Southwark cathedral

nigelsdtaylor nigeltaylor at k...
Tue Jan 25 13:52:58 GMT 2005

>Was the work done in the tower? If so, the exact weights given for 
>six, presumably from the 1947 retuning, will no long be correct.

Over to Nigel for this one, but I think it highlights a potentially 
problem with quoted weights. Many bells have had their canons removed 
been rehung in the tower without being weighed. I believe that at one 
Whitechapel regularly rehung bells in situ and even offered churches a
discount if the bells didn't need to go to the foundry.

The problem arises because ringers seem to like quoting 'exact' 
rather than
estimated weights, and will often continue to quote pre-canon removal
weights even when they are obviously incorrect.


It is true to say that if the bells were not being tuned, it was 
common practice to leave the bells in the tower. In the case of 
Southwark, the weights of the front 6 are now lighter than quoted. I 
suppose that the trebles would have had canons weighing around 20 
pounds, and incremented up to around 40 pounds for the 6th. 
Usually, the canons were cut off and collectively dumped into a 
basket, so identifying which loops came from which bells was not an 
option when the loops were delivered to the foundry. When bells are 
brought in for tuning and the removal of canons, we weigh the canon 
sets individually and record the received weight of the bell 
including the weight of the canons, weight after removal of canons, 
and tuned weight. Occasionally, bellhangers have packed and 
identified canon sets separately, but only in recent years.
Regarding false staples, this was a common practice amongst 
bellfounders and hangers until the early 20th century, although 
Taylor's appear to have discontinued this practice somewhat earlier. 
Bowell rarely if ever drilled a centre hole in new bells or old, and 
often fitted false staples which were suspended from bell bolt 
extensions. I have seen jobs he did in the 30's where this has been 
carried out.
Nigel Taylor

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