[Bell Historians] Old bell at Lanhydrock

Richard Smith richard at ex-parrot.com
Mon May 2 23:53:23 BST 2022

Does anyone anything about the old bell at Lanhydrock?  Dove 
lists its diameter as 23.88" and says it was cast c1599 
(which would typically mean 16th century) by an unknown 

Dunkin's 1878 'Church Bells of Cornwall' says [p49]: 'The 
single bell which hangs in the tower of this church, 
evidently bears an inscription around the haunch, but owing 
to the corroded state of the metal, the characters have not 
been deciphered.  The diameter at the mouth is 23¾ inches.' 
It seems pretty clear this is the same bell.  Dunkin 
mentions no other bells, and the present ring were not yet 

I have just been reading a 1901 paper 'Bells and Bell Tones' 
by W W Starmer and he says 'The oldest bell in England 
appears to be that lately removed from Lauhydrock [sic] 
Church, Cornwall, on which is the inscription : "The gift of 
Athelstan for his soul."'  Starmer was not interested in 
bell archæology, so I'm sure his information is secondhand, 
though he does not cite a source for the information.

'Lauhydrock' is evidently a typo for Lanhydrock, and it's 
hard to see how this bell could be anything other than the 
one bell Dunkin records.  If the Athelstan in question is 
the English king, the inscription (if not the bell) must 
date to the early 10th century; but even if another man is 
meant, it's hard to see the inscription could be later than 
11th century as these Saxon names died out rapidly following 
the Norman Conquest.

Has anyone investigated this?


More information about the Bell-historians mailing list