[Bell Historians] Orsett

Philip Denton philip_denton at yuy7v6iBGE6BJVKvzQePj-VB8DtqsXGk-H3r4JcTfT96p-iTfzSE9b05u_pk_Cpl2RCfWIemil05fwAS1yLOeavc.yahoo.invalid
Sat Feb 6 19:14:01 GMT 2010

Hello Ted,

It was good to see you at Orsett on Thursday; thanks for coming along to help. Here is the history of the bells.

Church records for the year 1792 show that the existing three bells (of which nothing is now known) were sold for £122, and replaced with a new ring of five bells, installed in a new wooden frame, at a cost of £260 4s 6d. Each of the bells bears the inscription


As they are dated the year before the new ring was ordered by the parish and there is nothing on the bells to suggest that they were cast for Orsett, they were most likely provided from foundry stock.

In 1886, Mears & Stainbank replaced most of the ringing fittings and re-hung the bells on new plain bearings. A new treble was provided, the original frame being extended for this. An Ellacombe (now defunct) was also provided. These renovations cost £151 18s 1d. The treble inscription reads


Ringing ceased in the 1930s, owing to the poor condition of the frame and fittings. In 1958, Mears & Stainbank strengthened the frame with vertical tie rods and angle plates. The cast-in crown staples were drilled out, the bells were quarter-turned and re-hung on ball bearings. This work cost £441 14s. Shortly afterwards, the ringing chamber was moved from the ground floor (where the rope guide may still be seen) to the first floor clock chamber.

By 2007 the bells were becoming awkward to ring. The fittings, especially the pulleys, were becoming very worn, and the roping arrangement was much less satisfactory from the upstairs chamber than it had been from the ground floor. In 2007, Whitechapel re-hung the bells on new ball bearings, replaced the pulleys and modified the roping arrangment. The result is not perfect (the bells are rather loud in the ringing chamber, and there are still minor roping oddities) but it is much better than it was. In my opinion they would be much better rung from the ground floor, but that is now the choir vestry...

The bells have not been removed from the tower since their installation, so preserve their original tuning (!)

The standard format late C19 Whitechapel notice in the ringing chamber incorrectly gives the date of the back five bells as 1798.

Best wishes,


--- On Sat, 6/2/10, Ted Steele <ted.steele at Oo7pPqD8tHZe8g6cAl7zbeuwir5UnCphamCvDlzpzlTDaptumiuTHP5OggU10P1UBKA7UBICfRxNeA.yahoo.invalid> wrote:

From: Ted Steele <ted.steele at Oo7pPqD8tHZe8g6cAl7zbeuwir5UnCphamCvDlzpzlTDaptumiuTHP5OggU10P1UBKA7UBICfRxNeA.yahoo.invalid>
Subject: [Bell Historians] Orsett
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Date: Saturday, 6 February, 2010, 17:04



      I was pleased to have a ring at Orsett in Essex the other day. Now back 

home I checked the churches web site. It says?

"There are eight bells, three of which were there in 1792 when members 

of the vestry purchased five new bells made by Thomas Mears of London".

This is clearly not the case as they are a six, although according to 

Dove five of them are indeed by Thomas Mears with date given as 1792, 

with a much later treble. Can anyone explain this rather odd error? Did 

the new five perhaps replace an old three? Have they ever been an eight?






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