[Bell Historians] An anonymous bell from 1675

Carl S Zimmerman csz_stl at swbell.net
Sat May 14 03:35:09 BST 2022

George, Peter, et al,

Here is a description: 

   "The bell itself measures 14” in diameter at thebase, is 11' high and 8” in diameter at the crown. It bearssix small and four larger cherub faces and flower and foliage around the crown.This casting lies above the Latin motto that should read “SI DEUS PRO NOBUSQUIS CONTRA NOS” (If God be with us who can be against us), but which, due to apoor laying out of the letters (possibly by someone not fluent in Latin)reads  SI DEUS PRON BUS QUISCONTRA NOS. This motto is a from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans viii31, 33."

The unsubstantiated story of the origin of the bell is that it was on a ship that foundered off the coast of Massachusetts.  The captain was a Dutchman, and his widow (also Dutch) supposedly gave the rescued bell to a church in thanksgiving for their having decently buried all of the bodies that washed ashore from the wreck.  The subsequent history of the bell is well documented.

This tale fits with your attribution of the bell to a Dutch or Flemish founder.  I shall have to contact my Dutch & Flemish colleagues to see whether any of them can attribute the ornamentation and/or the style of lettering to a particular founder of that era.
Thank you all for your attention to this question.

    On Friday, May 13, 2022, 02:59:19 PM CDT, Peter Rivet <peter at plrivet.plus.com> wrote:  
Do you have the full text of the inscription?  I agree that it could well be a Dutch or Flemish bell; my knowledge of Dutch bells is very limited, but it might provide some clues.


Peter Rivet


From: Bell-historians <bell-historians-bounces at lists.ringingworld.co.uk> On Behalf Of georgebellringer at gmail.com
Sent: 13 May 2022 20:12
To: 'Bell Historians Mailing List' <bell-historians at lists.ringingworld.co.uk>
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] An anonymous bell from 1675


I would have thought that its Dutch, but no sufficiently versed enough as to the founder.




From: Bell-historians [mailto:bell-historians-bounces at lists.ringingworld.co.uk] On Behalf Of Carl S Zimmerman
Sent: 12 May 2022 19:58
To: Bell Historians Mailing List
Subject: [Bell Historians] An anonymous bell from 1675


Dated 1675, and carrying a Latin religious inscription but no identification of its maker, this bell was reported as having been a ship's bell before it came ashore in Massachusetts in 1702/3.  Certainly it was used thereafter as a church bell and then as a courthouse bell; it is now a museum piece.


See the bell at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Captain_Peter_Adolph_Bell.jpg

Click on the photo for a larger version; then click again for a super-large version.

Follow the "file usage" link to learn more of its post-arrival history.


Would anyone care to speculate on a possible maker, or even just a probable country of origin?


Carl Scott Zimmerman, Campanologist 
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA -
 - 19th c. home of at least 37 bell founders or resellers 
Tel. +1(314)821-8437 
Webmaster for www.TowerBells.org
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