[Bell Historians] Re: Worcester Cathedral

'David Beacham' david1.beacham@virgin.net [bellhistorians] bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Tue May 31 20:38:22 BST 2016

Steve – I’m pleased that you found that of interest. 


As to the Bourdon – if you have a look at the Cathedral website homepage again (http://worcesterbells.org.uk/ringing-towers/worcester-cathedral/) you will see a photo of the 1869 bells standing on the floor of the north transept with the Bourdon in the background, hung in its frame. You will also see a swing-chiming lever attached to its headstock.  It was, and still is, hung in “knife-edge” bearings. It was the first bell to be cast (1868) and Canon Cattley, the driving force behind the project, had it hung in the transept so that its sponsors could see – and hear! – something for their money.  As you noticed, the lever has been replace by a strap to prevent the bell from swinging; whether or not it was ever swung, once hung in the tower, I don’t think anyone today would know.  For tolling purposes it has a lever-topped clapper, the rope for which descends to the ringing chamber and we do sometimes toll it.  As hung, however, we find that the clapper swings rather too quickly to sound “right” for its weight and so we miss out every other “dong”; but when we do that it then (in my opinion) sounds too slow!


The rope that you remember that descended to ground level in the north transept was that of the flat 8th, which was used and tolled by one of the vergers as the “five-minutes” bell before the service.  With a “draught” of 150 feet we often wondered what it would be like to try ringing it full circle! It was difficult enough just to chime it, although the vergers had acquired the knack.  It was replaced by an electrically-operated chiming hammer about thirty years ago.




From: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com [mailto:bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com] 
Sent: 31 May 2016 19:57
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Subject: RE: [Bell Historians] Re: Worcester Cathedral



Thank you for all the fascinating information about the tuning intervals. I've yet to hear the Harmonic Minor Ten live but fully intend to at the next opportunity. As said, they sound hauntingly beautiful in the recording.


Referring back to the photograph I mentioned earlier, I note that the Bourdon, although clearly equipped with bearings, has a metal strap restraining any possible movement, thus effectively rendering it hung dead.


I have read somewhere that it does have (or once had) a clapper that could be operated via a rope. I do vaguely remember a rope that came right down to ground level (in the North Transept I think).


This raises some more questions:


Has the current Bourdon ever been swing-chimed as appears theoretically possible if the strap were removed?


Am I correct about a clapper rope? 


If yes, would that have been the ground-level rope I recall or if no, then what was that rope for (if it's not a figment of my imagination)?






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