The Bells

The bells of St. Mary's are named in Latin. Translated into English, they are as follows, starting with the treble (the lightest) and ending with the tenor (the heaviest): Justice, Fortitude, Humility, Faith, Temperance, Patience, Holy Fear, Devotion, Hope, Peace, Joy and Charity. The bells include six of the seven virtues (Justice, Fortitude, Faith, Temperance, Hope and Charity). The missing one is Prudence.

The original bells were the gift of the first Dean of St Mary's, James F Montgomery and were dedicated  on 29 October 1879. All of the bells were cast at the Loughborough Bell Foundry, the original ten bells by John Taylor & Co in 1879, to weight ratios defined by Lord Grimthorpe, the leading bell designer of his day. This is one of only a few complete Grimthorpe rings still in existence. The bells were refurbished and retuned on the Simpson Principle, and Spes recast, in 1935. Patientia was recast in 1982 by John Taylor & Company (Bellfounders Ltd). The new trebles, Justitia and Fortitudo were cast by Taylors Eayre & Smith Ltd in 2008 and the full ring of twelve was dedicated on 12 November 2009.

The names are cast into the waist of each bell. The treble also carries the inscription

In Loving Memory of
Kate Branson
1912 - 2001
All of the bells are tuned on the Simpson Principle. Headstocks are cast iron with roller bearings. Wheels, stays and sliders are traditional oak & ash. The original (back) ten bells are housed in a freestanding oak frame bolted through to the timber foundation joists and the two trebles in a cast iron low-side frame.

The NW tower holds a single bell, the “Dean Wilson Bell” cast in 1919 by John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough and installed in 1920. It is 34 ½  in diameter & weighs 8-2-11 in the note of A#. It carries the inscription

John Skinner Wilson
Dean and Provost of this Cathedral
1897 – 1919

It is hung for full-circle ringing in a cast iron low-side frame, cast iron headstock with plain bearings (Heywood lubricators) and a Hastings stay. The bell is regularly chimed from the verger’s office for weekday services.

© Bill Brotherton 2012