Knapton’s Church Bells – the Ring of Five

In 1881 the architect, Sir Gilbert Scott, was brought in to arrange for the restoration of the Church.   As a result of his inspection a great number of projects were undertaken but no work was carried out on the bells.   The Church was reopened on Sunday, September 9th, 1883.

50 years after this restoration work was carried out the bells were sent to bell founders, Messrs. Gillett & Johnston.   Their Croydon factory was one of the first steam-powered clock factories in the world and in 1868 the well-known clock tower at the factory was built as a working advertisement.   They are now in Bletchingley.

The three trebles were recast in 1932 and were rehung on a steel frame for six bells.

5 bells 2 image

Knapton – Norfolk
Ring of Five

The weight and inscriptions of the bells are as follows

  1. 3 cwt  2 qtr 14 lbs   T Mears of London fecit 1804
  2. 4 cwt  0 qtr 10 lbs  T Mears of London 1825
  3. 4 cwt  1 qtr 22 lbs  T Mears of London 1825
    with the names of the Church Wardens inscribed – Sam Baker and John Cooper
  4. 4 cwt  1 qtr 13 lbs  Anno Domini 1565  R.B. and I.B.
  5. 5 cwt  2 qtr 10 lbs Facta Erata Nodmi. Isgzrb
    i.e. Facta Erat Anno Domini 1592

for comparison…
1 cwt = 112 lbs = 50.8 Kg
1 quarter = 28 lbs = 12.7 Kg

The Sixth Bell

A sixth bell was cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry on the 20th December 1990 from a bell metal of copper and tin and weighing 3 cwts 1 qtr 13 lbs (171 Kg).

Installed on the 16th June 1991, the bell was a donated by a lady in remembrance of her Grandfather and has an inscription cast on the bell.

In Memory of Arthur Thomas King I.S.O. 1845 – 1922  President of the Middlesex Association of Ringers 1913 – 1922
(Foundry Mark) 90.  Whitechapel

The Bells today
Norwich Diocesan Association of Ringers

According to Dove’s Guide for Church Bell Ringers, the authoritative source for current information about rings of bells since 1950, we have 6 bells in fine working order.

It shows various details of the bells, including their weight, note, diameter and who the founder was.
Apparently they were last overhauled and tuned in 1932.

There is also a recorded list of all the peels rung, recorded by the Felstead Database, whose aim it is to list brief details of every towerbell peal that has been rung by recording historical evidence received, or obtained from, current sources such as BellBoard, The Ringing World and PealBase.

It shows that Knapton has 14 valid pealsthe oldest dating back to 1934 and the most recent dated 5th January 2019.

St Peter & St Paul’s is affiliated to the Northern Branch of the Norwich Diocesan Association of Ringers (NDAR) which promotes bellringing throughout the diocese by:

  • organising a wide variety of ringing events
  • providing advice and training on  aspects of ringing from basic handling skills to bell maintenance
  • providing assistance with funding for restoration and augmentation
  • keeping bell and peal records

The branch publishes a newsletter called Soundbow, periodically and you can download all the editions dating back to 2005 by clicking here.   Enjoy!

Bell Ringing at St Peter & St Paul’s

Practice times
Usually every 1st, 3rd and 5th Monday of the month at 7:30pm.
Please check with Andrew for any changes or additions to this schedule.

The number of members has slowly dwindled over the years, from twelve in 2002 down to six in 2018, so it’s very likely that any budding campanologist showing interest in becoming involved would be welcomed.

Contact details
Andrew Lubbock
Tel: 01263 722929
Post: 4 Wilds Way, Knapton, Norfolk NR28 0RU

Isn’t a bell-ringer a campanologist?   Well, in a word… no!

  • A bell-ringer is a person who rings a bell, usually a church bell, by means of a rope or other mechanism
  • The term campanologist is popularly misused to refer to a bell ringer, but this properly refers to someone who studies bells, which is known as campanology.

It’s estimated there are about 40,000 bell ringers ringing on rings of bells in England.   A ring of bells is the name bell ringers give to a set of bells hung for English full circle ringing. The term peal of bells is often used, though peal also refers to a change ringing performance of more than about 5,000 changes.