[Bell Historians] Ancient bells - spreadsheet

Peter Whisker peter at whisker.org.uk
Wed Dec 15 11:59:38 GMT 2021

Hi Chris

You must know that you can now query Dove for all their listed bells by 

1001-1100 : 2 bells
1101-1200 : 32 bells
1201-1300 :  137 bells
1301-1400 :  927 bells

I wonder if it would be worth merging all those into your spreadsheet as 
a starting point for gathering more information?



On 15/12/2021 11:25, c.j.pickford--- via Bell-historians wrote:
> Thanks to Phil Watts and Bill Hibbert for their additions, and to 
> Richard Offen for some extra information. I’ll add them, of course, 
> but I’ll delay a while just in case anyone else wants to contribute.
> Perhaps worth saying that the spreadsheet was a fairly “quick and 
> dirty” exercise to collect in one place a lot of stuff that was 
> previously only to be found in many places. It can now be improved and 
> developed further. I particularly wanted to preserve George Elphick’s 
> dating suggestions, keeping them distinct from dates suggested by 
> other people, which is why (confusingly, I admit) there are multiple 
> date columns. I’ve also used a system that allows dates to be sorted 
> in a number of ways, standardising on quarters by century (C13-3 etc) 
> and having approx dates (c.1260 etc) in a separate column. That may 
> have been obvious, but perhaps worth explaining just in case it wasn’t.
> The other thing to say is that the primary purpose of the exercise was 
> to identify and place in a dating sequence all bells thought to be 
> pre-1300 – but it’s useful to have later examples (especially blank / 
> uninscribed ones) too. But there is a definite pecking order – a bit 
> like judging a 12-bell eliminator where the order below the qualifying 
> places is less important! I’d expect there to be quite a few more 
> post-1300 bells that still need to be added.
> If anyone wants to contribute further examples or fill gaps in the 
> available information, they key things to record are:
>   * Accurate measurements (in Metric or Imperial – though the
>     spreadsheet formulae to calculate relative height etc use
>     Imperial) for
>       o Mouth diameter
>       o Shoulder circumference (measured under the shoulder curve but
>         as close to the top of the main bell)
>       o Tangent (literally straight line from the lip to where the
>         tape touches the shoulder)
>   * Soundbow type – VERY important (see the Elphick sketches on the
>     Intro worksheet)
>   * Other details less important although useful (canon type, moulding
>     wires etc
> George Elphick saw nearly all the very early bells himself and made 
> sectional drawing for many of them too. He was therefore in an 
> excellent position to make comparisons. Thus his typography was based 
> on a close study (admittedly over several decades) coupled with a 
> practical man’s understanding of manufacturing techniques. A while 
> back, Richard Johnston rightly queried on this list whether a 
> typological dating sequence could really hold good, given the scope 
> for regional variation, time-lag, ‘rogue exceptions’ etc. I accept 
> that totally (as with architecture, technology and a great deal more), 
> but I also feel that the main narrative suggested by Elphick holds 
> good for what one might describe as “fully typical” early bells of 
> different dates. I also believe that because of his method of study 
> his ideas and conclusions are unlikely to be improved upon without a 
> huge amount of revisiting and/or through the application of some 
> method of scientific analysis as yet unknown. Richard’s caveat would 
> still apply, all the same.
> */Chris Pickford/*
> Kinver (UK)
> e-mail: pickford5040 at gmail.com
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