The bells of St.Mary’s Church, Alderley, have been rung for nearly five hundred years apart from the gap during the war years when all church bells were kept silent. There is nothing more English than the sound of church bells ringing across the countryside.
Our tower was built in approximately 1540 and by 1549 we had a ring of four bells. This time also coincided with a new way of hanging church bells. They were mounted on a wheel with the rope passing around it which gave more control of the bells’ movement. This allowed sets of bells (rings) to be rung in systematically changing patterns. We call this change ringing.
Two further bells were added much later.
The present bells are a ring of six by C & J Rudhall dated 1787 with the 5th bell being recast in 1847. The Rudhall foundry was established in Gloucester in 1684 until its closure in 1830.
Their inscriptions read:
“Come away make no delay” 1787
“Prosperity to this Parish” 1787
“Cast at Gloucester by Rudhall” 1787
“C&J Mears Foundry” Aug 23rd 1847
“I to the Church the living call and to the grave do summon all” 1787
The oak frame dates from at least 1787 when the new ring of 6 bells were installed and it is very likely that some of the timbers came from a much earlier frame.
An appreciable load is put on the frame and approximately 100 years ago a report was written that stated a new bell frame was desirable. By the mid 1990’s it was realised that a new frame had become inevitable.
English Heritage opposed the removal of the old frame due to its historical importance so in the year 2000 the bells were taken down and temporally stored in the Mausoleum. The old wooden frame was then raised nearer the roof of the tower and a new steel frame was fitted below.
After the bells were re-hung the old frame was lowered to rest on the new steel one where it will remain as an historic item of St.Mary’s Church.
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