[Bell Historians] Reading the national bell register

David Willis dcwillispiano at t3hzE2f3_ngVkTswu5QfQhOixaK-ProvQXKxFTGsJ2lGRsu2D9QBckFS8tvs2oAc9hXYPLPDE3SdriJnxtOrAQ.yahoo.invalid
Sun Oct 19 18:39:56 BST 2008

Thank you for your explanations .I have now downloaded to read 
" The Conservation and repair of bells and bellframes " .
It shows clearly that the door has closed on the type of restoration
carried out at Sonning in 1912 and with it a particular expression
of the bell tuner's art . I am so glad Sonning got through that door
first !

--- On Sat, 10/11/08, David Bryant <davidbryant at qhlRtAsKXFN3Bpt04OS0nxkZjmBX_W0mEV6Y-5pP9mej1KvdTZ-8zn4v6_fmDGXvL-Dw46ScH4FQLvpArfRhfZbK.yahoo.invalid> wrote:

From: David Bryant <davidbryant at qhlRtAsKXFN3Bpt04OS0nxkZjmBX_W0mEV6Y-5pP9mej1KvdTZ-8zn4v6_fmDGXvL-Dw46ScH4FQLvpArfRhfZbK.yahoo.invalid>
Subject: RE: [Bell Historians] Reading the national bell register
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Date: Saturday, October 11, 2008, 5:00 PM

“My first home tower , Sonning , has 4 Ellis Knight tenors dated 
and under the LIST column of the register "yes" is entered against
each bell . I presume that this is a preservation order . Isnt it the 
case though that any bells of this age have to be preserved intact ?”
Bit late responding to this one, but it’s anything pre-1600 which is automatically listed. In practice anything cast before 1700 is unlikely to be scrapped but it does happen occasionally – the 1630 9th of the old 12 at Kettering was scrapped in 2004. Unlike, for example, listed buildings, there are no legal implications where listed bells are concerned and the lists are merely advisory.

“If this is not so , are Sonning any more worthy of preservaton than
Ellis's heavier tenors at Reading SMV , Oxford SMV and Bray , also 3
of the 10 at Magdalen College .”
The lists to some extent can be a bit arbitrary due to being put together over several decades and with input from a number of people. I would guess that the four at Sonning are listed because they are a set of four (presumably the tenor was replaced the year after originally cast due to a fault). If bells form sets like this, they will often be listed in preference to odd bells by the same founder and of a similar date.

“For another comparison , 5 of the back 6 at Thatcham are listed ( 
Ellis's tenor has been recast ) but the back 6 at Hurst of mixed
earlier dates are not and Fred Sharpe found 2 maiden bells there .”
I would guess that the back six at Hurst are not listed because they are not a contemporary set. That said, there could well be a case for listing them anyway. It rather depends on other surviving bells by that founder, and obviously it isn’t desirable to have a large proportion of bells listed. As it is some counties (I believe Gloucestershire is one) have a higher proportion of listed bells than is the norm – not because there are more of interest than in other areas, but because bells have been listed which might not have been elsewhere.
There often seems to be the assumption that no changes can be made to listed bells, but this is not correct. It is extremely unlikely that canon removal would be allowed (except possibly if the canons were badly damaged anyway), but tuning is not out of the question if a good case can be made for it. After all, it’s better to tune an old bell so that it can continue to form part of a ring than ‘retire’ it simply because it’s too sharp.
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