[Bell Historians] Request for info: women in bellfounding

Peter Rivet peter at plrivet.plus.com
Sat Apr 3 19:26:19 BST 2021

There is a nineteenth century woman bellfounder who doesn't get mentioned
much, though I don't know whether she had much active involvement: Frances
Blews of Birmingham.  William Blews died in 1887, at the age of 59 (see vol
III of Chris Dalton's Bells and Belfries of Dorset).  The bellfounding side
of his business was sold to Charles Carr of Smethwick in 1891.  During the
four year period between these dates his widow Frances appears to have run
it, though I am not sure how many bells the firm produced then.  Dalton only
mentions a single bell at Bournemouth St John the Evangelist of c.1890.


Peter Rivet


From: Bell-historians <bell-historians-bounces at lists.ringingworld.co.uk> On
Behalf Of oliver Lee
Sent: 03 April 2021 18:07
To: Bell Historians Mailing List <bell-historians at lists.ringingworld.co.uk>
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] Request for info: women in bellfounding


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

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,




+44(0)7541 486816

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Many Thanks 
Neal Dodge


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