Smisby Village

St James' Church Pages

The Bells


Bell Installation

 

There are two bells installed in the tower of St James church. The bell chamber is located on the second floor of the tower and has louvred openings on each side of the tower. It measures 135 inches by 129 inches at the widest points and in 184 inches high.

 

Different founders manufactured the bells some 45 years apart as follows:

 

 

Bell 1

Bell 2

Bell Diameter (inches)

28 ½"

31 ¾"

Wheel Diameter (inches)

68"

75"

Weight

514 lbs

690 lbs

Date

1617

1662

Founder

H Watts

G Oldfield

Inscription

GOD SAVE THE KING

1617

GOD SAVE KING CHARLES THE SECOND 1662

Up until 2007, the bells were mounted in their original orientation and had not been turned to present an unworn surface to the clappers. They were suspended from the headstocks on their original cast canons, the cast loops at the top of the bells. When the bells were manufactured, the standard method of providing a clapper pivot was to cast in an iron loop from which the clapper was suspended, these are known as “cast in crown staples”. Over time these could rust and cause the bells to crack.

 

In 2001 the bells and headstocks were found to be in such a worn state that they were considered too dangerous to use and they were taken out of commission. In 2007 the bells were removed from the tower and taken to local bell founders Taylors Eayre & Smith in Loughborough. There the old cast crown staples were removed and new clappers fitted to independent staples. The bells were mounted on new headstocks and refitted for swing chiming on new bearings in the old bell frame.

 

The frame itself is made of oak although the supports have been replaced at some stage with metal beams that are grouted into the tower walls. The oak frame itself is suspended from the beams by clamp plates and bolts around the frame lower cills. When the bells were taken out the old metal beams were replaced with galvanised steel beams and the frame refixed.

 

 

4th February 2009.