Cost of 1669 Bell Metal.

Brian Meldon CanewdonBells at
Thu Feb 17 09:38:28 GMT 2011

At Canewdon we have a couple of documents that show the amount given by bellfounders for bell metal. Although they are 18th rather than 17th century they may me of intrest.

The first is a July 10th 1707 document written in John Waylett's hand that includes his signature and that of court clerk John Morington. It is a separate receipt for bell metal that was left over when Waylett re-cast the tenor bell for Canewdon a few miles away at Rochford. Canewdon churchwarden's arranged all the transportation.
Waylett allowed £3 for 1 cwt. of bell metal.
Waylett charged £25 15s in total less the £3 for the extra metal to re-cast the bell. But he never received the full payment and the reason for the separate receipt document and the signature of the court clerk on it was that there was a dispute between Waylett and the Canewdon churchwardens over payment. But that's another story.

The next document that we have that lists the cost of bell metal is dated 29th September 1724. This time the cracked second bell, a 1636 Miles Graye bell that weighed `about 4 ¾ cwt', was taken to Richard Phelps' foundry in Essex Street Whitechapel and on the invoice for casting the replacement bell £24 15s 8d was allowed for the metal from the old bell. A further £9, 15s, 7½d was also paid to Phelps for the replacement bell that included a new clapper. Again transportation by cart to Leigh, boat to London and cart again from the jetty to the foundry was all paid for by the Churchwardens. But in this case there is no cost listed at all for the return transportation of the new bell so it is possible that this was included in the foundry price or it was a gift to the church.

Brian Meldon 


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