Bells filled with ale

Sue Marsden erincaters at
Fri Mar 4 10:48:18 GMT 2011

Was this mentioned here a while back? I was flicking though a little
booklet called 'Brinkley Recollections this morning and came across
the following paragraph: (no pagination so can't give a page ref)
" The Hart family are still remembered with affection for their long,
distinguished service to Brinkley....During the 19th century an
extensive agricultural machinery business (later they became involved
with the reapir of machines)........The local belief that the Harts
had once operated a bellfoundry is firmly denied by the family. The
legend is possible based on the fact that they cast and shaped bronze
bearings for bell mountings and steam engines. But as was the custom
in medieval times, some early bells may well have been cast in the
village by itenerant bell founders, using the lost wax process. The
Harts' concern was with the hanging of bells, itself no mean feat, and
the occasion for great rejoicing. When the treble bell, cast by
William Dobson of Downham Market, was delivered to the HArt workshop
in 1820, it was inverted 'and filled with ale for the benefit of the
villagers before it was hung in the tower'.
Unfortunately no references were given. The following page has a photo
of someone called Peter Hearn (no further details as to who was) in
front of 16 handbells mounted on a stand. It is an outdoor photo and
looks to be early 20th C. The Brinkley ringers website says they use a
set of 18th C refurbished handbells so possibly these are the ones
they now have.
I rang it what we claimed at the time was the first peal on the bells
in 1985 after they were restored and augmented but I see now from
Felstead that there was a peal of Doubles  (no methods given) in
1787(Cambridge Chronicle & Journal CCJ 13.i.87) so I shall have to get
the footnote amended. Was this a quite early peal of Doubles? There
does not seem to be a way of finding this from Felstead, apart from
individual methods which would not have found this one. The first of
Grandsire Doubles was 1777 and Plain Bob Doubles in 1782.



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