Bell-ringing practice takes place every Wednesday – new ringers always welcome!
The bells were rededicated on 15th September 2002 following a major renovation.
THE BELLS OF ST ALDHELM’S:
Bell: Diameter: Weight: Note: Date: Founder:
Treble 33 3/4″ 7-3-26 B 1704 Thomas Purdue & Thomas Knight, Closworth
Second 33 5/8″ 8-1-4 A c1490 Bristol Foundry
Third 38 3/4″ 9-1-10 G 1760 Thomas Bilvie, Chewstoke
Fourth 41 5/8″ 12-2-11 F# 1611 Richard Purdue I
Fifth 44 5/16″ 12-3-10 E 1618 Unknown
Tenor 50 15/16″ 20-0-14 D 1828 John Taylor, Oxford
The treble wsa cast at the Closworth Foundry (near Yeovil) owned by Thomas Perdue. Thomas was the last of the Perdue bellfounders, and he died in 1711 at the age of 90. For the last 20 years of his life he seems to have been in retirement, with the business being carried on by Thomas Knight, who was probably his son-in-law – hence both names appear on the bell’s inscription. The Closworth Foundry was in operation at least as early as 1590, and continued until the end of the mid-18th Century.
The second, a pre-reformation bell, came from the famous medieval foundry at Bristol (as evidenced by the style of the inscription). It dates from somewhere between 1485-1500, however it cannot be assigned to any particular founder, as no initials appear in the inscription.
The third is typical of the work of Thomas Bilbie, the most famous of the Chewstoke founders.
The fourth bell, dated 1611 may have been cast by eithe Roger Perdue of Bristol, or his elder brother Richard of Glastonbury – most likely the latter.
The 5th is a curiosity, a far from perfect casting with very rough lettering, and by no known founder.
Finally, the tenor is an early example from the Oxford foundry of John Taylor before he became established at Loughborough, and would have been a recasting of an earlier bell.