[Bell Historians] The closure of the Bagley foundry in Chacombe

Andrew Wilby andrew at wilby.me.uk
Thu Feb 11 12:18:51 GMT 2021

There is a story the Matthew Bagley died in the massive explosion at the Aldgate Foundry where he was casting bronze cannon for the King.
This resulted in the relocation of the Foundry to Woolwich [Arsenal] and led to the Arsenal Football Club of today.
I cannot find the original info at the moment but the story was that two Bagley's died at Aldgate and that this led to the closure at Chacombe. The link below gives a clue.

It is nice to think that a bellfounder indirectly caused the existence of one of the most famous football teams in the world! 

On 11/02/2021 09:15:31, David Bagley <david at bagleybells.co.uk> wrote:
I'm not sure of what happened at Chacombe in 1687, but the Bagleys carried on for some years after this.

>From Jackson's Oxford Journal, 8 April 1769

1769: CHIPPING NORTON, April 8 1769. Whereas it hath been by some evil-minded Person or Persons maliciously (and much to my Injury) reported that I MATTHEW BAGLEY of Chipping-Norton, was either dead, or had left off Business: This is therefore to acquaint all Gentlemen, Parish Officers, and Others, That I now carry on the Business of a Bell Founder, in all its Branches, at my Foundery in Chipping-Norton: where, among a great deal of other Work, I have lately run the three following Tenors, viz. Duns Tew, Chipping- Norton, and Enstone, which are all exceeding good Bells. All Gentlemen &c. that shall please to favour me with their Commands will be duly waited on, and may depend on having their Work executed in a neat good Manner, and their Favours will be gratefully acknowledged by their obedient humble Servant, MATTHEW BAGLEY.

He died in Chipping Norton, and was buried at Chacombe on 27 February 1785 aged 85.

I think the above must have come from correspondence I had with Chris Pickford some years ago, so the credit is his!

I have not yet found a link between myself and the bell founding business, but there is a faint possibility that this is the case. My family came from the High Ercall area (near Shrewsbury) and I have found a line back to 1809. In the latter part of the 19th C there is a George Bagley living in that area, having married an Elizabeth who was born in High Ercall. Although I have not found a link between myself and George and Elizabeth, they are living in the same area as my ancestors, and there aren't all that many Bagleys around the country at that time. The interesting thing is that George Bagley was born in about 1832 at Warkworth, which is only a few miles from Chacombe. It would be nice to know.....!


-----Original Message-----
From: Bell-historians On Behalf Of Richard Smith
Sent: 10 February 2021 22:33
To: Bell Historians Mailing List
Subject: [Bell Historians] The closure of the Bagley foundry in Chacombe

Does anyone know the circumstances behind the closure of the Chacombe foundry in 1687, which resulted in Henry Bagley I's sons, Henry II and Matthew I, parting company to set up their own foundries in Ecton and Evesham, respectively?
Was there a falling out? Financial difficulties?


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