Cosgrove Church Bells

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The Sanctus bell is rung from the porch
Bell Chamber
God Save Ovr King 1632
Recast by Bowell of Ipswich 1913

Bells hanging in the Church of St Peter & St Paul Cosgrove
Diagram of how the bells are hung in the tower

Bob Minor
Click on the bars above to hear the individual bells or hear the whole team play Bob Minor


Bells in the 18th century

The Ringers and bells were clearly a highly regarded part of Cosgrove village life during the eighteenth century.. There were four official, national ringing days. King Charles II Restoration day was still being celebrated 150 years after the event. Gunpowder Treason Day, November 5th was still a national holiday and the bells were rung. The current monarch’s “Crownation” day was annually marked by ringing the bells and the actual Coronation day was marked by bells “by order”. A midnight peal on Christmas Eve was also rung during this period although change ringing had only just been introduced. Other ringing took place when there was a special event to be notified or celebrated – “vicktorie” over the French in various skirmishes was an example. Weekly ringing on Sundays probably occurred but, as today, the Ringers were not paid for these.

Maintaining the bells was a constant headache for the Cosgrove Churchwardens and Ringers. Bells had to be “oyled” regularly and components of the bells and frames needed much renewal. The story of the making of the Great Bell is revealed in the account for 1707 when the founder’s estimate is sought, the old bell taken to be recast and the new bell finally hauled up to the belfry again. Metals were weighed and accounted for by the pound, as were bell “Roopes”. In the days before lorries and cranes, haulage and “drawing” on carts were a significant cost.

In the accounts, some terms are clearly specific to bells and their Ringers and not all are clear. What were “keys” and “ferrils”? Why were bell brasses “runed” or “rimmed”? We can read selected passages from the accounts below.

Cosgrove Church Bells

being some notes thereon complied & printed by the Reverend William Milner Atkinson, M.A., LL.B.

COSGROVE, NORTHANTS.

MCMXIII [1913]

The Tower of Cosgrove Church contains five bells and a small "sanctus bell." The earliest record states that in 1552 there were "iij bells A sanct' bell and ij handbells." In the same yaer the parishioners bought another bell, and a chalice was sold to help to pay for it, as a memorandum shews:

"Md. A chalyce sold by the concent of the pishe for iiij) vj s. viijd. the last day of May last past towards the beying of A bell." ("pishe" means "parish")

Of the present bells the oldest is the 3rd. The date of it is unknown, but it is certainly earlier than 1550.

The following are the inscriptions on the bells, though the first is not certain as it is much abraded :—
1. ROBERT ATTON MADE ME THE TREBLE BEL FOR TO BE 1624.

2. & 4. GOD SAVE OVR KING 1632.

3. S + M + A + R + I + A (i.e. St. Mary)

5. RICHARD CHANDLER MADE ME 1707 ROB ROND WILLIAM TVRVET CHVRCHWARDENS.

The following is an account of the re-casting of the tenor bell in 1707, compiled from the Churchwardens' accounts:

In the year 1707 the Churchwardens, Robert Rond and William Turvey, decided to have the tenor bell re-cast; and two bell-founders came to inspect the bell, as the following entries in the account-book shew:-

April ye 19th spent at €dward Lambert's wben Bagley ye
Bellfoundcr came to take ye Great Bell to Chast
5: 0

Spent more at Ed. Lambert's when Richard Chandler of
Drayton Paslow came ye Great Bell to Chast

4: 0

Though they speak of coming to cast ("chast") the bell, it is obvious that they only came to inspect and estimate for the work. Subsequently some ill report reached the ears of the Churchwardens about Chandler—
Spent when Will Turvey and I went to prove a rumor about
Richard Chandler ye bell founder
6
and for my hors
1: 0

However, the matter was apparently cleared up to their satisfaction, for Chandler's tender was accepted and the work went forward-

Spent when William Turvey went to bargain with Rich.
Ricket of Brawton to stock ye Great bell and take ye
bell down and draw her up againe
2: 0
and for ye Artickles between ye Bellfoundry & ye Parrish
13: 8
and other charges
Paid to Edward Lambert for helping down with Great bell
and his boys help and for Alle
5: 0
paid to Too Earll for helping down with the bell
8

The Church wardens went to the foundry to see the bell cast,

for our charges when Wee went to cast our Great bell 12:6 Paid to Richard Chandler for runing ye Great bell brasses ye old brasses was 13 pound and he put in nine pound of new mettell
15: 6

The brasses are the sockets in which the gudgeons or axles of the bells swing.

paid to Ricbard Ricket for lettingdown ye Great bell and
drawing her up againe and stocking her
1: 5: 0
for my hors two days & one night when ye bell was cast
2: 0
Spent on ye ringers and other people for helping unload ye
Great bell & for drawing her up into ye Steepell
8: 0
paid to John Warner for half one dayes work when ye bell
wass drawn up
4
paid to John Warner for the new bell rops six pence ye
pound and they wayed 34 pound
17: 0
for drawing the bell to be cast
12: 0
for ye bell stock
7: 0
for bringing ye stock hom and charges in drink
1: 7
Paid to Richard Chandler for chasting the Great Bell and
for new mettell added to her
16: 7: 0
Spent ye same time at Lambert's and John Archer's and
for our Judge's diner
17: 0
for a peece of beefe wayed 17 pound
2: 10
paid John Franklin for keeys & ferriels to keep ye Great
Bell up againe
3: 7

Unfortunately Chandler's work has not proved satisfactory, the tenor being poor in tone ; and as it has now (1913) become necessary to re-hang the bells, it is proposed to take the opportunity to re-cast the tenor.


Restoration of Cosgrove Parish Church Bells Dec 1914
List of Subscribers
 
 
 
 
£
s
d
Mr & Mrs Atkinson
40
0
0
H Grant Thorold Esq
34
5
10
Rev M Graham
30
0
0
Rev W M Atkinson
20
0
0
Girls' Friendly Society
10
0
3½
Offertory Choral Festival
7
19
9½
Mrs H Grant Thorold
7
0
0
Offertory Dedication of Bells
6
3
11
E Hayes Esq
5
5
0
H Patman Esq
5
0
0
Anonymous
4
4
0
Mr F D Bull & Family
4
0
0
Per Mr R Penson - Whist Drive
4
0
0
W W Dickens
3
3
0
Per Mr Dicks - concert
3
0
0
Per F Pearson - dancing class
2
10
0
Per Miss Adams - social
2
2
0
J Adams
2
2
0
Per Miss Clarke - concert
2
2
6
Per Mr Dicks - concert
2
2
0
Rev F Rumsey, Calverton
1
1
0
S W Parrott
1
1
0
Northampton Brewery Company
1
1
0
W W Meadows
1
1
0
Mr Weston Yardley Gobion
1
1
0
Mrs Alderton
1
1
0
Rev R S Mylue, Furtho
1
0
0
W Webb
1
0
0
Stony Stratford Social
1
0
0
E Higgs
 
15
0
Stony Stratford Bellringers
 
8
0
Mr J Smith
 
5
0
Mr & Mrs T Seymour
 
5
0
Mr Eves
 
5
0
Wolverton Bellringers
 
3
0
Mr W Jelley
 
2
6
 
206
9
10
 
 
 
 
Bell Account
 
 
 
Alfred Bowell restoring bells
159
14
4
J Cowley & Son repairing Tower
46
15
6
 
206
9
10
 
 
 
 
W A Maudell Chairman April 9th 1915
 
 
 

Dedication of the 6th (Jubilee) Bell Sunday, January 17th, 1937