The Bells

 

All Saints Church has six bells in its tower: four of them date from 1622 in the reign of James I, one dates from 1683 in the reign of Charles II, while the last bell was added as recently as 1993 in the reign of our present sovereign. I gather that a minimum of six bells is needed for a proper peel of bells and so it seemed like a good opportunity to obtain a new bell when an appeal was launched in 1992 for the urgent repair of the tower and spire. When the essential work was completed, I knew there would be little evidence of the work to be seen and so why not have an object that could at least be heard regularly even if not seen. The chairman of the appeal, the late Paul Morgan, who set the Ilmor Engineering Company in the village, was in full agreement with this idea and told us to "go for it".

For those interested in the intimate details of our bells, such as their weight, diameter and place of origin, there is a chart below which also includes a record of the inscription (usually in Latin) found on each bell. It was common for bells to be named and christened (as it were) before being hung but this didn't happen at Brixworth since all the bells date from after the Protestant Reformation.

What is of particular interest, I think, is the timetable for the ringing of one or more bells recorded in a book entitled "The Bells of Northamptonshire" by Thomas North published in 1878. He tells us "there is a daily bell rung at 4.00am from 25th March (Lady Day) until September 29th (Michaelmas Day); at 5.00am from September 29th to November 6th and from the 2nd February until 25th March; and at 6.00am from 6th November until 2nd February (Candlemas Day). There is also a bell rung daily at noon and the Curfew is rung daily (summer and winter presumably) at 8.00pm. All these tollings are omitted on Sundays."

 

On the death of a villager three tolls were given for a male, apparently, while only two were given for a female. On Sundays, the first bell was rung for a period at 7.00am while the first and second bells were rung at 9.00am.

 

Presumably, the tolling of the bells was usually carried out by the sexton and there are some who have lived here most of their lives who can remember the Curfew Bell being rung at least until World War II.

 

 

Bell

 

 

Diameter

 

Founder

 

Date

 

Weight

Cwts. Qrs. Lbs

 

Inscription

Treble

2ft 8inch

White Chapel, London

1993

   7          0       21

GOD SAVE QUEEN ELIZABETH II IN THE YEAR OUR LORD. ONE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED AND NINETY THREE

2nd

2ft 10inch

Hugh Watts II of Leics

1622

   7          2        5

GOD SAVE THE KING

3rd

3ft

Hugh Watts II of Leics

1622

   8         0        22

CVM. SONO. NON. VIS VENIRE. NVMQVAM. AD. PRECES. CVPIES. IRE {Translation: If you won't come when I ring, you will never want to come to your prayers}

4th

3ft 1inch

Hugh Watts II of Leics

1622

    9         1       24

CELORVM CHRISTE PLATIAT TIBI REX SONVS ISTE {Translation: Christ, King of Heaven, may this note please}

5th

3ft 5inch

Hugh Watts II of Leics

1622

   12        2       14

IH: NAZARENVS: IVDEORVM FILI: DEI MISERERE: MEI {Translation: Jesus of Nazareth, King of Jews, Son of God, have mercy upon me}

6th

3ft 9inch

Henry Bagley I or II of Chacombe

1683

   16        0        10

PRO REGE ET ECLESIA HENRICVS BAGLEY 0 0 0 ME FECIT (ROYAL ARMS) {Translation: For King and Church Henry Bagley made me}

 

 

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