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The Bells at All Saints

The tower was built some time around 1450. In 1556 there were four bells in the tower, but we know nothing about them. It seems fair to guess that they might have been cast by the Wokingham Bell Foundry, about 10 minutes walk from the church. The first bells we know anything about are the ring of six bells, which Samuel Knight of Reading hung in a timber frame in 1704. We still have two of Knight's bells (see inscriptions ) though after tuning in 2004 they sound far better than he would have imagined. None of the other four remain, and we can only speculate on their quality, since Thomas Mears recast two of them in 1814.

The other two were recast during the augmentation from six to eight, in an iron frame  supported on steel beams, in 1903 by Webb & Bennett of Kiddlington. When the original wooden frame was replaced, it was discovered that the supporting beams that were almost completely rotted away. The previous half a century had seen much repair and renovation to the rest of the church building, including the nave roof and chalk pillars .

In the 2004 restoration , four of the bells were replaced, and all tuned to modern standards, to give a much improved sound .


Details of the bells

In the table below, the inscriptions on each bell are in date order, and do not replicate the physical layout.
Key: [@] = Whitechapel symbol, [#] = Knight's shield.

Bell Diameter Weight Note Inscriptions on bell Plaque on headstock
1 28.8" 5-2-7 E CELEBRATING COMMUNITY APPEAL
RECAST 20 [@] 04 WHITECHAPEL
MEARS & STAINBANK. FOUNDERS. LONDON. 1903
Headstock donated in memory of Eleri Siân Goyder
2 29.75" 5-3-3 D# ALL SAINTS BELLRINGERS
 RECAST 20 [@] 04 WHITECHAPEL
MEARS & STAINBANK. FOUNDERS. LONDON. 1903
Headstock donated by John and Jan Douglas
3 31.5" 6-1-25 C# TELL OUT MY SOUL THE GREATNESS OF THE LORD
RECAST 20 [@] 04 WHITECHAPEL
T. MEARS OF LONDON FECIT 1814
Headstock donated by Eve Reader
4 33.75" 6-2-14 B RECAST BY MEARS & STAINBANK LONDON. 1903
S [#] K 1704
Headstock donated by John Reader
5 36.25" 8-0-7 A RECAST BY MEARS & STAINBANK LONDON. 1903
S 1703 K  
6 37.7" 10-0-5 G# GIVEN BY JOHN & ANNE HARRISON
RECAST 20 [@] 04 WHITECHAPEL 
T. MEARS OF LONDON FECIT 1814
7 43.2" 13-3-10 F# JOHN HAWES ROBART HUNT CW
1704 S [#] K
Headstock donated by Esme Few
8 46.4" 15-2-11 E JOHN HAWES ROBART HUNT CW
SAMUEL KNIGHT MADE THIS PELE 1703
Headstock donated by Margaret and Arthur Moss

The two additional bells in the tower are:

Bell Location Diameter Weight Note Inscription
Service bell In bell chamber, above the main bellframe 23.9" 4-0-0 A flat TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN MEMORY OF CANON BERTRAM LONG, RECTOR 1904 - 1933 AND OF MABEL HIS WIFE RECAST IN 1952 AND GIVEN BY THEIR CHILDREN AND PARISHIONERS MEARS & STAINBANK
Clock bell On roof 18" 2-3-0   (none)

See also ... Timeline of bells and fittings 


Pictures of inscriptions on 1703 & 1704 bells

1703Inscrip.jpg
Casting date: 1703
CWInscription.jpg
'CW' (Church warden) with image of a man
OakLeaves.jpg
Oak leaves and acorns
ShieldB.jpg
'SK': Samuel Knight's sheild

If you visit the church, you will find an informative 3-fold leaflet about the bells.  

See also - Timeline of bells and tower. See - Pictures and details of the bell chamber. See - How bells work . How bells are made. See - Pictures of the clock .


Did you know? : Eddie Whittingham was All Saints' longest serving ringer, from 1903 to 1968.


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