The original 4 bells at St Mary’s Tilston were broken up and recast and another two added to make the current ring of 6, by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough. This recast and augmentation took place in 1925 together with the addition of a rope guide above the ground floor ringing chamber at the west of the church.
We believe that there was originally a ringing chamber that was accessible from the outside of the tower, but no pictures exist and it appears that this was removed before the earliest pictures we have which are dated around the turn of the century.
With the ringing position moving to the ground floor as it is now, the draft of 33 feet (10M) to the clock room would be challenging without a rope guide and this was installed to help reduce rope movement.
The bells have been well used in their primary duty of service ringing. There have been 35 recorded peals (greater than 5000 changes of bell order), the first being on 23rd February 1926 consisting of 4 methods of Minor, 720 of Double Oxford and two 720’s each of Kent Treble Bob, Oxford Treble Bob and Plain Bob, the band were from across the Diocese and contained some eminent local ringers of distinction.
Specific bell information can be seen below:
Bell Weight Note Dia Cast Foundry
1 3-0-8 G 24.13″ 1924 John Taylor & Co
2 3-2-3 F 25.50″ 1924 John Taylor & Co
3 3-3-22 E♭ 27.00″ 1924 John Taylor & Co
4 4-2-0 D 28.50″ 1924 John Taylor & Co
5 5-3-20 C 31.25″ 1924 John Taylor & Co
6 9-1-12 B♭ 36.13″ 1924 John Taylor & Co
The inscriptions on the bells are a mixture of the original inscriptions on medieval bells and the ones added when the bells were recast in 1924. From these inscriptions, we can deduce that 3 of the 4 medieval bells were recast by Cliburys and the fourth (that was known to be in the tower at the end of the 17th Century) was recast by Warner in 1852.
Treble: CLAUDE CROSSLAND TAYLOR OF CHESTER GAVE ME TO TILSTON 1924
Bell 2: I CALL WITH MY WHOLE HEART 1924
Bell 3: RICHARD TAYLOR RANDEL TONNA C W 1678 RECAST 1924 H C
Bell 4: + GOD SAVE THE KING R B T L CHVRCH WAR 1665
Bell 5: EDWARD MATTHEW PICKFORD A.M. RECTOR
JOHN HURLESTON LECHE ESQR. DONOR
JOHN WALLEY & JOHN FAULKNER CHURCHWARDENS 1852
JWARNER & SONS FOUNDERS LONDON
TENOR: LAVDATE DOMIͶVM * QVIC QVID * SPIRAT T C
The third bell carries on the waist the foundry mark of Henry Clibury (1673-82) of Wellington, a shield on which are his initials and representation of a bell. A band of ornament runs completely round the bell below the inscription. The fourth bell, originally by the second Thomas Clibury (1650-1673) has an initial cross and the cable border above and below each word in the inscription.
Taylor’s have reproduced Warner’s poor type of lettering on the fifth bell, each letter being built up from large dots.
The foundry mark of Thomas Clibury II, the shield, initials and bell, as well as two impressions of a well-worn ornament stamp not previously met with are on the Tenor (indicated by * above).
The two smaller bells are inscribed in good Roman capitals. On the treble a band of ornament encircles the shoulder with the inscription on the waist, while on the second, similar decoration has been used after the lettering.
Taylors circular mark and date of casting or recasting appears on the waist of each bell.
We are very proud of our bells at Tilston, they are exceptionally nice sounding and although the long draft can make the lighter bells a bit “flightly” they are lovely to ring and experienced ringers have reported that they “go” extremely well.
Between January 2021 and April 2021, the bell frame and fittings were refurbished by our Steeplekeeper and his wife, our Tower Captain, this was a major undertaking, but as there was no ringing at the time due to the Covid Pandemic, it was the perfect opportunity, we now have some of the best sounding and best looking bells in the area !