All Saints had 3 bells positioned at the base of the spire which could only be chimed. Thirkleby Bell & Tower Project 2014-2015 involved augmenting these to a full Ring of Six. This now allows the bells to be used for change ringing. Anyone in the community who is reasonably fit can learn and it’s free!
A team of Thirkleby Bellringers undertook training at St Oswald Sowerby before having their own set of bells. Our thanks to John and Heather Limbach for their kind and patient tuition.
The original 3 Bells
Lady Frankland-Russell instructed John Taylor & Son Bell Foundry (Loughborough) in 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition, to cast 3 bells.
Treble (No 1 bell): 3.5cwt Key of F Inscription: ‘John Taylor and Son of Loughborough made me AD 1851. Gloria in Excelsis Deo’
Second bell: 5 cwt D# Third bell: 6 cwt C#
The cost was £6-6s-0d per cwt and the 3 bells cost a total of £81-18s-0d. The total cost including hanging the bells was £121-18-0d, paid on 11 March 1852. (Taylors Archives)
When the bells were hung on wheels for full-circle ringing at the base of the spire, there was provision made by way of extra framing for a fourth bell (possibly one that Lady Frankland-Russell had from somewhere else), although this was never installed.
Two of the bells, but not the treble, have a monkey cast on them near the crown of the bell.
This seems to be a feature unique to Thirkleby bells.
History of Church Bells The earliestbells (c.AD 1000) in monasteries and churches were hung from a static hook and tolled. In the 1500s, with the dissolution of the monasteries, many bells were also removed from churches and scrapped. When Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 the country enjoyed a period of prosperity. The Church of England became the national church, and gradually bells were restored to churches. An important development took place at this time, and a new way of hanging bells was devised so that they could be rung with more control and ‘full-circle’. This was achieved by mounting them on a wheel, and the bell rope passed round it. It was now possible to ring a bell slowly or quickly, and enable bells to be rung in different order, that is, to change places.
This led to the development of change ringing. it soon became a popular hobby for men. It was only when many village men went off to war in 1914 that women learnt to ring.
Hear the bells of Westminster Abbey on the day of the Royal Wedding April 2011: