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The Bells of St Paul's Church

by Evelyn Brown

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When St Paul’s Church was first built it had only one bell, which was made by Thomas Mears, master founder at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London. It cost just over £35.

The present-day peal of six bells was hung in 1904 to commemorate the life and reign of Queen Victoria. The bells were cast at the John Taylor Bell Foundry in Loughborough, and cost around £245, including the inscription on the tenor bell, plus £141 for fixtures and fittings.

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The inscription on St Pail's tenor bell

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Casting a bell at the John Taylor bell foundry

To cast a bell:
Bronze is melted in a furnace and then transferred to a bell mould, buried in sand, and allowed to cool for several days.
After casting the bells are shaved to reduce their thickness in places, and achieve ‘perfect tuning.’ In 1904 this would have been done with hammer and chisel.

The new peal was so heavy that the upper part of the church tower had to be rebuilt and made higher

The £880 needed for bells, tower, and a new clock, was raised by public subscription, with donations from the ‘gentry’, tradespeople and shopkeepers. Mrs Sophia Perry-Herrick of Beaumanor gave £150, and Robert Martin of the Brand, £100.

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The original bell tower

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The raised bell tower - 2004

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The bells were dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Peterborough on 17th October 1904.One of the hymns contained the following verse:

Each bell, in size and tone apart,
Doth its own tale repeat;
And all attuned in order form
One harmony complete.

In 1905 a set of 19 hand bells was bought, to help the bell ringers practise their peals.