[Bell Historians] Request for info: women in bellfounding

oliver Lee oliverbellringer at outlook.com
Sat Apr 3 18:07:02 BST 2021

Hi all,
One particularly notable female bellfounder I can think of is the 15th century London founder Joanna hille whose bells can be mostly found in Essex and other parts of the country, additionally there was also Joanna sturdy who also appears to have been  active around the same period. With regards to carillons Nora Johnston of Croydon had a close involvement in the running of Gillet and Johnston (as she was the sister of the foundry’s owner Cyril) but she appears to have mostly served as an inhouse carilloner (having learnt at melchen during the 1920s).
I hope this can help some of your research
Oliver lee

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From: Neal Dodge<mailto:gtbartonbells at gmail.com>
Sent: 03 April 2021 16:28
To: Bell Historians Mailing List<mailto:bell-historians at lists.ringingworld.co.uk>
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] Request for info: women in bellfounding

Hi Scott,

Although not connected to carillons, and a lot earlier than the 20thC, there's Alice Brend of the Norwich Brend foundry dynasty. Not sure of the level of her involvement with bell founding but her name is attributed to 90 bells cast between 1589-1633 that are hung for change ringing along with her husband William Brend. https://dove.cccbr.org.uk/bells.php?founder=465
When William died in 1634 he left his foundry to their son John but half of the debts owed to him along with half of the bell metal was given to Alice. Pages 32-37 https://www.whitingsociety.org.uk/old-ringing-books/lestrange-norfolk-01.pdf <https://www.whitingsociety.org.uk/old-ringing-books/lestrange-norfolk-01.pdf>
Seemingly none of the other Brend family, before or after William, included their wives names as part of their inscription on the bells they cast, perhaps indicating a greater role for Alice in the business?
Attached is a drawing of the shield William & Alice cast onto their bells.


On Sat, 3 Apr 2021 at 11:06, Scott Allan Orr <orr.scott at gmail.com<mailto:orr.scott at gmail.com>> wrote:
Hello all,

Prof Tiffany Ng (University of Michigan) and I are running a small project to document and promote early contributions of women to the carillon art (early being interpreted primarily as the first part of the 20th century, but also more broadly to include notable instances outside of this time frame). We welcome any information relevant to women who contributed to bellfounding and related activities, but especially with connections to firms or installations of carillons.

For example, we are already familiar with contributions of Gwendoline Taylor in Loughborough (although this requires more archive work to fully understand), Sidonie and Marie Causard in France (early 20th century), and a successor to a branch of the Hemony foundry being taken on for a short time by a woman relative of one of the brothers.

All my best,

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Many Thanks
Neal Dodge

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