The Bells of St Peter's Church

According to a return of 1550 the tower then contained five bells (noted in Hutchins' History of Dorset). A ring of eight was cast in 1734 at a cost of £191 4s. 6d., by Thomas Bilbie, whose foundry was at Chewstoke. (This, according to Dalton, [see Bibliography] is despite the inscription on the tenor, which mentions only six bells.) The same founder re-cast the treble in 1750; the 2 was re-cast in 1803 by Thomas Castleman Bilbie of Cullompton.

These would have been the bells ready to ring a warning of an invasion by Napoleon, and in celebration of victory at Trafalgar.

In 1889, three bells (the 4, 6, and 7) were re-cast, and the whole peal was re-hung by John Warner and Sons of Cripplegate, London at a cost of £300. John Taylor of Loughborough fitted ball bearings to the bells in 1937, and the same firm has undertaken most of the repairs and replacements since then, the last major works being in 1986.

The bells are set between the keys of E natural and E flat and have the following diameters and approximate weights:

 

Bell

Diameter (in)

Weight (cwt.)

Founder

Date

Treble

31

6

Bilbie

1750

2

32

6 1/2

Bilbie

1803

3

33

7

Bilbie

1734

4

34 1/2

7 3/4

Warner

1889

5

37

9

Bilbie

1734

6

40

12

Warner

1889

7

43

14

Warner

1889

Tenor

49

20 3/4

Bilbie

1734

 

The bells carry the following inscriptions:

Treble

Mr. John King and Mr. Thomas Jones, Churchwardens, 1750. T. Bilbie fecit.

2

This bell was re-cast in the year 1803. George Frampton and John Cooper, Churchwardens. T. Bilbie, Cullompton, fecit.

3

The gift of Robert Brown, Esq.

Althou' my sound it is but small,

I will be heard among you all.

Mr. Daniel Arden and Mr. Joseph Gigger, Churchwardens, 1734. T. Bilbie fecit.

4

Mr. Daniel Arden and Mr. Joseph Gigger, Churchwardens, 1734. T. Bilbie fecit.

Bells no. 4, 6 and 7 re-cast, and the whole peal re-hung by public subscription at a cost of £300 0s 0d, A.D. 1889. A. H. Lock, Mayor. J. Warner and Sons.

5

Mr. Daniel Arden and Mr. Joseph Gigger, Churchwardens, 1734.

George Richards, Esq., Mr. Renaldo Knapton, Mr. Thomas Loder, Mr. Thomas Cooper, Mr. William Bryer, Bilbie fecit.

6

Re-cast by John Warner and Sons, London, 1889 (on waist).

Re-cast 1889. J. Marvin Lock, Robert Holland, Churchwardens.

God send us good luck.

7

Re-cast by John Warner and Sons, London, 1889 (on waist).

Re-cast 1889. Rev. Thomas Kingdon Allen, Rector.

Come let us go up to the house of the Lord.

Tenor

Mr. Renaldo Knapton saw me cast the 21st September, 1734. Mr. Daniel Arden, Mr. Joseph Gigger, churchwardens. Thomas Bilbie cast all these six bells.

Ring to the praise of God.