[Bell Historians] Lulls in bellfounding activity

Cathryn Corns cathryncorns at gmail.com
Tue Dec 29 09:20:48 GMT 2020

There was widespread economic depression after the Napoleonic wars which led to a downturn in many industries, which may have contributed to the decline in the 1830s.  This was particularly marked in rural areas. 
Cathryn Corns

Sent from my iPhone

> On 29 Dec 2020, at 02:54, Richard Smith <richard at ex-parrot.com> wrote:
> I've been analysing the Dove database looking statistical trends in year in which surviving bells were cast.  I'm only including in the analysis bells where a precise date is known to avoid bias from estimated dates.
> The number of surviving datable bells starts to climb rapidly at the start of Elizabeth's reign and within a decade it is clear this is not a statistical anomaly. Unsurprisingly levels have varied over the centuries since then, and there are some interesting trends which I'm still analysising.
> One of the most striking features of the data is that there are five or six periods since Elizabethan times when founding has dropped off significantly.  Some are obvious, but not all of them, and that's the purpose of this email. The six periods in question are:
> (a) 1642-1646
> (b) 1688-1692
> (c) 1794-1802
> (d) 1832-1838
> (e) 1914-1918
> (f) 1940-1945
> Four of these are wars: (a) is the first phase of the English Civil War; (c) is the French Revolutionary Wars; (e) is the First World War; and (f) is the Second World War. It is easy to see how these would have lead to decreased bellfounding activity.
> However I'm at a complete loss to know what the other two are.  1688 is, of course, the year of the Glorious Revolution, but I struggle to see why that have a pronounced effect on bell founding.  I have even less idea what the 1832-38 dip could be.  Possibly they are not genuine declines in founding but instead represent periods where fewer bells were cast with dates or where an above average number have been lost.  The latter could happen if the dips coincided with a prolific yet poor founder who was preceded and followed by better founders, but there's no obvious candidate.  C & G Mears were a decade later!
> Can anyone offer any insight?
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