Bells of Liverpool
..
Samuel M Austin



Hale, St Mary
8 bells, 8-0-0
Grid Ref.: SJ472820

Frame: Metal. Merseyside Bell Restoration Group, 1980s. Formally wooden before fire.
Retuning: 1, 2 & 4: Never subsequently retuned, 3, 5-8: Wilton & Willasey 1983
Ringing room: Upstairs, Formally downstairs before the fire.
Sound: All 8 – E, back six only – B. The two trebles do not fit in at all and sound like cutlery being dropped, though the back six by themselves are pleasant
Go: B+

The original six bells cast by William Dobson of Downham Market in 1814 were destroyed by fire on 19th October 1977. The present ring of eight bells was installed in a new frame with new fittings by the Merseyside Bell Restoration Group, assisted by other local firms. The back six of the ring, originally installed at Christ Church Bootle were transferred to Hale after being tuned. Two steel trebles were installed alongside the six but these proved unsatisfactory so two new trebles were cast by Eijsbouts in Holland in 1987. These bells hold two records. They were the first ring of steel bells to be successfully tuned and the first ring of steel bells to be augmented.

Bell

Diameter

Weight

Note

Founder

Metal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treble

22.1875"

2-2-15.

A

Eijsbouts 1987

Bell metal

2nd

22.8125"

2-3-13.

G#

Eijsbouts 1987

Bell metal

3rd

27.75"

3-1-26.

F#

Naylor Vickers & Co. Sheffield 1866

Steel

4th

29.66"

3-2-0.

E

Vickers & son & co Limited Sheffield 1866

Steel

5th

29.625"

3-2-4.

D

Vickers & son & co Limited Sheffield 1867

Steel

6th

31.875"

4-1-0.

C#

Vickers & son & co Limited Sheffield 1868

Steel

7th

36.166"

6-0-18

B

Vickers & son & co Limited Sheffield 1867

Steel

Tenor

40"

8-0-20.

A

Vickers & son & co Limited Sheffield 1867

Steel

 

Inscriptions

Treble      Eijsbouts Astensis me fecit Anno MCMXXXVII . RA . NPAG . NCW . JHW .

2.              Eijsbouts Astensis me fecit Anno MCMXXXVII . AM . AW . TW . HC

3.              Naylor Vickers & Co. Sheffield 1866 Patent cast steel

4.           Vickers & son & co Limited Sheffield 1866 Patent cast steel 4011

5.           Vickers & son & co Limited Sheffield 1867 Patent cast steel 4816

6.           Vickers & son & co Limited Sheffield 1868 Patent Cast steel 4930

7.           Vickers & son & co Limited Sheffield 1867 Patent cast steel 4309

Tenor:     Vickers & son & co Limited Sheffield 1867 Patent cast steel 4916

The steel bells have the Royal crest after the patent number; they also have rubber bungs and springs in their clappers - like handbells. In the ringing room, there are several interesting features. One is the bent clapper fixed to a frame which is mounted on the wall. This is the clapper of one of the Dobson bells that bent in the heat of the fire. Another is the steel bell in the corner. It came from Loyola hall in Rainhill. It was an experiment to see if steel bells would tune. It has a collecting box on top. The third is a rope in the corner. This is connected to a service bell. It is hung on the North side of the tower and is hung dead. 14” diameter in G#. Downstairs, in church by the entrance to the tower door, is a small bell with a donation box on top. It was a fire bell in Hale Hall cast in 1593.

The particulars of the old peal are as follows
 

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Key

Founder

 

 

 

 

 

Treble

4¼cwt

26”

F

William Dobson, Downham 1814

2

4¾cwt

27”

Eb

William Dobson, Downham 1814

3

5½cwt

29”

Db

William Dobson, Downham 1814

4

6cwt

30”

C

William Dobson, Downham 1814

5

7cwt

32”

Bb

William Dobson, Downham 1814

Tenor

9cwt

36”

Ab

William Dobson, Downham 1814

Inscriptions on Old Bells

Treble.    THE GIFT OF JOHN WATKINS ESQ. CAST WITH METAL FROM THE CHEADLE COPPR WKS 1814

2.            WILLIAM DOBSON FOUNDER DOWNHAM NORFOLK 1814

3. z         H. LAYLAND CHAPELWARDEN. T. GRACE SIDESMAN 1814

4.            CHURCH AND KING. JOHN WATKING ESQR DITTON 1814

5.            REVD JOSPEH HODKINGSON, B.D. MINISTER: REVD WM STEWART CURATE 1814

6.            JOHN BLACKBURNE ESQR M.P. LORD OF THE MANOR OF HALE 1814

These bells hung in a wooden frame and were rung from the ground floor.

Historical Events & Dates

• 1552: “Three bells.”
“There were two bells here weighing 7cwt at 120lbs per cwr., which were taken away, their value being £5. 5s.” (Gastrell, Notitia Cestriensis)
• 1814: A ring of six installed by William Dobson, Downham.
• 1925: First peal on the old six
• 1974: Last peal on the old six.
• 1977: Church destroyed by fire on October 19th.
• 1988: New bells dedicated
• 1989: First peal on the new octave.

HALE, LANCASHIRE
The Lancashire Association
On Saturday, January 31, 1925 in Two hours and Fifty-Seven Minutes
At the church of St. Mary

A PEAL OF MINOR 5040 CHANGES;
Being three 720’s each of Kent Treble Bob and four 720’s of Plain Bob. Tenor 10cwt
Treble Peter Boardman*
2 Ernest L. Humphriss+
3 Thomas Hammond
4 Arthur Lintott
5 George R. Newton
Tenor Edward Chaunce
Conducted by George R. Newton
This is the first peal on the bells which were cast by Dobson in the year 1813. *First peal on six bells. +First peal away from treble.

THE LANCASHIRE ASSOCIATION
Hale, Cheshire, St. Mary
Thursday, Dec 26 1974, 2h47 9cwt

5040 Minor (3 extents Cambridge Surprise, 2 each of Kent and Oxford T.B.)
Treble James Dunbavin
2 Imelda Paten
3 Anne Hennin
4 Nigel Goulding
5 Christopher Ridley
Tenor John Ridley (cond)
First in 3 methods – 5. In memoriam W. Hichmough, former Mayor of Hale.

This was to be the last peal on the bells before they were destroyed by fire.

THE LANCASHIRE ASSOCIATION
Hale, Cheshire, St. Mary
Sat, Oct 14 1989, 2h47

5040 Grandsire Triples
Comp. A. S. Burbidge
Treble John S. T. Willasey
2 Hilda C. Ridley
3 John H. Wilton
4 Roy Glover
5 Nigel P. A. Goulding
6 Nicholas C. Willasey
7 John R. Ridley (C)
Tenor Graham K. Austin
First inside - 4
First peal to be rung on these 8 bells.

Sources

www.hibberts.co.uk

and thanks to Ruth Hilton.

Visited 1996

Details of the bells from a card in the ringing room.

Pictures


Photo: Ruth Hilton
www.bellsofliverpool.co.uk