Database of Bell Founders Waylett and Keen.

Brian Meldon CanewdonBells at
Tue Oct 30 22:40:02 GMT 2012

Thanks for posting a link to this new database Peter.

I do have some additional information in the Canewdon documents that may be of intrest. It show John Waylett, prior to 1707 came from Roydon in Essex and also that he was casting bells in Rochford Essex in 1707.

There are at least three generations of the same family in Roydon at this time all with the name `John Waylett'.

With this information in mind the enigmatic inscription on a 1705 Waylett bell at St. Peter's Roydon `THO HILL TRVSTE EAST FROM MEE' makes a lot more sense and places Waylet in the area that is now Roydon Mills.

Now here comes the bit I can not yet prove and it is circumstantial as best, but it does appear to fit with what is known, or more accurately what is not known:

It is known that in 1699 Richard Keene had relocated from Woodstock in Oxfordshire. It is `tradition' that he moved to Royston in Hertfordshire, however there is no documentary evidence of Keene, other than the bells he produced during this period, until he returned home to Woodstock in 1702 and died there in 1703. However if you look at the geographical spread of the known Richard Keen bells in this period, Roydon in Essex is almost exactly in the centre!
Keen was an old man by 1699 so he would have had to have help casting bells in this period and it is my opinion that this help was from none other than John Waylett in Roydon. Although the two founders used different fonts for their inscriptions there are similarities between the later Keen bells and the early bells cast by Waylett, the first of these appears just after Keen had passed away in 1703.

So it looks like John Waylett was an Essex man and I believe that he learnt his craft from Richard Keen.

Just for the record we also have a couple of documents with Waylett's signature on them and one of these (a credit for unused bell metal) is written in Waylett's own hand, so he was defiantly not illiterate.

Brian Meldon


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