Hidden Gems

Hidden Gems

Towers, Bells & the Clock

Church Tower

The church tower is home to some of the gems of this historic church. Over the centuries the stone steps have borne the feet of many individuals, wending their way up to wind the clock and maintain the bells in the bell room.

The condition of the staircase is such that it is impossible, at this time, to allow visitors to tour the tower to see these gems for themselves.

We trust you can appreciate the beauty, history and significance of the bells and the turret clock from the pictures and the narratives. You may also want to view our 360 image taken in side the church tower, over on our 360 pages (click to visit).

The bells are still rung today for weddings, celebrations services, visiting ringing teams and practice sessions, which are open to all who may wish to ‘have a go’.

Extracts from church records found in the Village Book compiled by Rev C.P. Disbrowe. Rector 1900—1915.

The Bells

“In 1553 there were iiij (alt form of iiii) gret bells in the steeple”. Extract from North’s church bells of Lincolnshire.

1662 The bells had been silent under the Puritan rule. The first thing the Churchwardens did was “to buy a Great rope for the Bell.”

The following year £91 was spent on “the cost of the hang of the bell”.

1717 The installation of 2 new bells, (the 2nd and 5th) to make the number up the current 6, and 2 new frames.

1836 An entry in the vestry book 10/- to be paid annually to the ringers, “Oil for the bells”. The ‘Oil’ which the ringers of the bells used was generally found in pewter pots at The Bell Inn!

1867 A new ‘1st bell’ was installed.

1894 During the restoration works the bells were rehung.

In addition to the 6 Great bells is a ‘ting-tang’ bell. This is rung prior to a service. These are also known as Sanctus bells.

A picture of the church circa 1930s shows a bellcote on the newly built vestry, presumably housing a Sanctus bell. This bellcote no longer exists so perhaps the Sanctus bell was the one now located in the bell tower?

Report of May 1970 tells us the “priest’s bell was quarter turned and rehung. Rather a rough casting with a tall crown. Date 18th century, possibly Henry Penn of Peterborough”.

Sanctus, ting-tang or priest’s bell in the bell room.

1935 Following inspection of the bells and the framework by Taylors of Loughborough – Church bell experts since 1784 – it was found that the whole of the framework needed to be removed and a whole new metal framework installed. Death watch beetle had ‘ravaged the woodwork’ making it unsafe to continue to ring the bells.

The bells were also to be taken down and partly turned so that the clapper would strike on an unworn surface.

Letters were sent out around the parish requesting donations for the work, to cost around £400. Following a concerted effort and the generosity of the parishioners the work was able to go ahead, and in 1938 the bells were rung for the first time in three years.

20th February 1938

A Thanksgiving service for the re-dedication of the bells and the Dedication of the electric light was conducted by the Lord Bishop of Lincoln Diocese, Nugent Hicks.

The ‘order’ on the day tells us that:

Rector requests the Bishop to re-dedicate the Bells

Procession to the Belfry

The Bishop holding the rope to the Tenor bell shall bless the Bells.

The Bishop handing the rope to the Rector commits the Bells to the Rector’s care.

The Rector hands the rope to the Captain of the Belfry who tolls thrice, and then the Halton Ringers ring seven rounds.

It must have been quite an occasion, not only the bells ringing out over the parish once again, but also electric lighting.

One of the bells that is part of the clock chiming system, the striking hammer is visible on the right.

One of the bells that is part of the clock chiming system, the striking hammer is visible on the right.

Details of the Church Bells

Explore our bell tower in 360. Click the play triangle icon to explore the 360 image. Once you’ve clicked play, you can click the square icon (bottom right) to view fullscreen. On desktop, use click and drag the image to explore different viewpoints. On phone or tablet, use your finger to drag the image, or move the device itself to view the scene from different angles.

The Clock.

The clock was given by the Rector Rev Drummond Rawnsley in 1867 and has been much appreciated by many generations of parishioners during the years.

An entry in the Village Book tells us “…it has generally been a little fast but then the Parish has never been behind the times, so it is natural for the clock to be affected by the local atmosphere…”

Click any gallery image to see the images full screen, as a slide show.

In modern times we are very thankful for the volunteers who faithfully wind and maintain the clock, and they now take great pride in keeping the clock ‘to time’.

“It is, like it’s twin in Spilsby, a top of the range Barnard Cooke three train ting tang chiming clock. Like the other, the clock winder here has also two winding handles to use when winding the clock”.

Image and quote reproduced by kind permission of Steven and DarlahThomas, authors of ‘Turret Clocks of T Cooke of York’.

Clock dial restoration

In 2012 the tower was undergoing repair works to the leaded roof, together with an element of stonework replacement. In order to capitalise on the installation of the substantial scaffold the opportunity was taken to arrange for the restoration of the clock dial.

Time Assured Ltd, of Mansfield were contracted to carry out the work.

The dial, 6 feet in diameter, made from flat copper sheet had become badly worn and faded. The hands, made of wood had also lost their protective coating of paint and gold.

In keeping with the original colour scheme blue paint was applied to the face and hands, prior to the finishing of the hands, numerals, and minute markings with 23½ carat double thickness English gold leaf.

The turret clock face is once again looking resplendent and attending to everyone in a timely manner.

Images reproduced by kind permission of Time Assured Ltd.  Click any gallery image to see the images full screen, as a slide show.