The Village Bells

Bells have rund in Braunston for a long timeBells have rung in Braunston, Northamptonshire for a long time. A survey of 1552 states that there were four bells in the tower and a sanctus bell. The latter, usually a small bell, was sounded during the Communion Service.

In 1672 these four bells were cast into a ring of six by a Woodstock bellfounder. This recasting cannot have been very successful because the third was later recast, possibly by one of the Bagley family of bellfounders at Chacombe. Then in 1811 (not a long time for bells) the entire ring was again recast by John Bryant of Hertford, a founder of considerable repute, and these bells still serve us today, 200 years later.

It is probable that these bells were transported from Hertford by canal; if so the last half mile must have been the hardest part of the journey!

In 1849 the bells were rehung in the new church, apparently still using the same wooden frame (which had cost us £60) and remained so until 1922 when they were retuned and rehung by Taylors of Loughborough in an all metal frame with modern fittings. This included the use of ball bearings which considerably reduced the effort of ringing. The total cost of this operation was £484; one wonders whether today this would have covered the cost of transport to and from Loughborough.

The kneeling stool, made from timber of the old bell frame, is the only reminder of the earlier installation. (Thanks to John Caunt for this information.) So, when you hear the bells sound their message over the village, reflect that this same metal, with some extra metal added, has been sounding out over the village for several hundred years.

Click here for information on bellringing at All Saints'.