CROPREDY  CHURCH   BELLS
 
Officials and Ringing Arrangements
     
Tower Captain
Andries Bosland
01925 750468
Tower Secretary
Jon Beer
01925 758221
Co-ordinator of Bell Appeal
Brenda Day         e.mail: days@gatrell.org
01295 758782
     
Practice Night
Monday 7.00 - 8.30pm
 
Service Ringing
45 mins before the start of each service. Service times may vary - see: Services for 2009
 
Special Ringing
Contact the Vicar (Pat Freeth 01295 750980), Tower Captain or Tower Secretary to arrange ringing for special occasions - weddings etc., A modest charge is made.
 
Visitors and Beginners
Always welcome so please contact us or just come along.
 
 

Latest: A new DVD of the Restoration and Augmentation (see below) is now available. The film shows the bells coming out of the tower, the new (2) bells being cast, the bells (8) being returned, blessed and rededicated. It features music by Fairport and their concert in the Church. Look to see if you had a bit part. To purchase contact: Brenda Day on 01295 758782 - only £5.00.

 
*     *     *     *     *     *     *
 
Restoration and Augmentation of the Cropredy Bells
 
Cropredy is blessed with a particularly fine set of bells, cast by William Bagley of Chacombe between 1686 and 1690. Essential work must be done to keep the bells ringing. The bells must be turned, have new headstocks, bearings and other ringing fittings. In other words complete refurbishment. This must be done because  * The thinning of the bells will lead to them cracking and make them unringable. It would be unforgivable for us to let that happen.  * The current bearings are worn out and the seals are broken. This makes the bells very difficult to ring and gravely affects the quality of the ringing. Having bells which are difficult to ring, discourages people from ringing in Cropredy and makes it hard to teach learners. We do have an enthusiastic band of ringers but to keep ringing alive it is very important to foster new ringers as well as keeping old ones.  * The proposal is to restore the current ring of six bells and add two new treble bells to make a ring of eight.  * The reasons for augmentation are 1) The frame which was replaced last century was made to take a ring of eight bells. This means we are part way there. 2) Two lighter bells would make it much easier to teach new ringers. 3) Two lighter bells would encourage a number of people, particularly women and children who find our current bells too heavy to properly handle. 4) A ring of eight bells would engender interest from the ringing fraternity which would encourage more ringers.
 
The work will be done by Whites of Appleton Ltd - Church Bellhangers.  They are local and their main bell hanger already rings with us in the Banbury Branch of the Oxford Guild. The new 'Fairport Bell' has now been cast.
 
Funding the project.  * The bellringers have already raised some substantial funds and have grant applications in hand together with plans for fund raising.

Progress so far.  * 1.  The Faculty has been obtained from the Diocese.  This gives us permission to carry out the project. 2.  The response to the Appeal has been quite overwhelming and we are delighted to say that we have sufficient funds to plan and go ahead with the Restoration after Easter next year.  This means that we are now saving for the new bells! Since we launched the Appeal  in January we have had a wonderful number of donations from small to very considerable.  We have raised £35,000 of the £37,000 so far.  We must not let our enthusiasm flag as it is a very worthwhile project, so we are asking you all to give us as much support as you can manage. We would like to thank all of you for the generosity shown so far.

 
UPDATE.  Cropredy’s New Bells Cast

On November 24th, the day before Fairport gave their benefit concert in the church our two new bells were cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the oldest in the country, established in 1570. It was a very exciting day. We went up to London to the foundry on the corner of Whitechapel Road and Plumbers Lane. Our bells were to be cast at 3.15pm and we waited in the museum until the metal had reached the correct temperature when were all ushered in to stand a few feet from the moulds. We knew that at this point the inscriptions were all set in the moulding loam ready for the hot metal. The new treble is named “St Mary” and inscribed “Cropredy Villagers gave me” in recognition of the wonderful support of the village to the Bell Restoration and Augmentation Appeal. The new second bell is inscribed “Fairport Convention Festival Bell” to acknowledge the long association of both the Fairport Band and Festival Goers with the village and their support for the appeal. All stood in silence, the men from the foundry around the furnace and the Cropredy Band near the bells as Nigel in a wonderful silver space suit and visor checked the temperature of the metal once again. It was deemed ready and we watched it pour from the furnace into the crucible. The crucible was then carried by a hoist to the waiting moulds. The orange glowing metal was poured first into one bell and then into the other, finally they were topped up and left with flames from the top and the sides of the moulds eerily lighting the gloom of the foundry. The new bells are slightly smaller and lighter than our current treble and will therefore be higher in pitch. They form the last two notes of the octave. The bells in the tower are scheduled to be taken out on April 16th and removed to Whites of Appelton where they will be given new headstocks and other ringing fittings. Here they will meet up with the two new bells and all will have their mechanisms fine-tuned before returning to the tower some three to five months later. As you saw in last month’s Crier we have nearly reached our target figure for the appeal. We shall not know the final cost until all the work is done and donations are still being gratefully received.

CASTING

THE NEW BELLS

24 NOVEMBER 2006

'St Mary'
'Fairport'
The bells are now at Whites of Appleton, the Bell Hangers.  They will be held there until they are joined by the bells from the tower on 16th April.  Then all the bells will be fitted with the new headstocks, wheels and the other ringing fittings.  We shall not know until much later how long the job will take at Whites.  The headstocks are iron and all individually cast.  The one for the tenor has been done already. Please note:  The Bell called 'St Mary' is the new treble and inscribed "Cropredy Villagers Gave Me". The 'Fairport' bell is the new second and inscribed "Fairport Convention Festival Bell". The donation appeal is still on-going as there are some unforseen 'extras' that have to eventually be paid. See details for this at the bottom of the page.

 

The Departure of The Bells for repair - 19th April 2007

 

The Return of The Bells - 24th June 2007
The Bells were returned from their term of restoration on Friday 22 June. In fairly foul weather they were transported from the Village Green, along Church Lane and thence into the Church itself. They were blessed at the Sunday morning service and work will start on Monday 25 June to haul them up into the tower.
There is now a 'ring' of 8 bells - the original 6 plus the 2 new ones - 'St Mary' and 'Fairport'. It will take about a month to re-hang these before they are ready for the first 'new ring'. At this time the Church Clock will be restarted. The date of this event will appear here - so be sure to watch this space for that exciting event!

 

Blessing of the bells - Sunday 24 June 2007
                                

The new treble

ST. Mary

Rick, Simon & Chris with the new 'Fairport' bell
(Chris Leslie Photos)
Blessing the bells - Sunday 24 June 2007

 

RAISING THE BELLS TO THE TOWER- 25 JUNE 2007
BELL RINGERS - THE 'FULL EIGHT'- 11 JULY 2007

 

St. Mary the Virgin, Cropredy  -   The Bells
 
Frame: Cast-iron side-pattern (for 8), Warner 1913.
Gear: Elm headstocks, Plate gudgeons, Plain brass bearings. Self-aligning ball-bearings 6, Taylor (c1950), Traditional English-type wheels, Traditional stays.
a ring of 6, tenor 16-0-0#, diameter 45½", tuned to E
             
bell
weight cwt-qr-lb 
strike note
date cast
founder
foundry location
inscription
             
Treble
5-1-0 #
C#
1690
William Bagley
Chacombe
CANTATE [A9] DOMINO [A9] CANTICVM [A9] NOVVM [A9] WILLIAM [A9] BAGLEY [F1] MADE [F1] MEE [F1] 1690 [F1]
2
6-2-0 #
B
1686
William Bagley
Chacombe
WILLIAM [A9] BAGLEY [F11] MADE [F11] MEE [F11] 1686 [A9]
3
7-3-0 #
A
1689
Matthew Bagley I
Chacombe
MATTHEW [A9] BAGLEY [A9] MADE [A9] MEE [A9] 1689 [F11]
4
8-2-0 #
G#
1689
Matthew Bagley I
Chacombe
FEAR [F11] GOD [F11] AND [F11] HONOR [F11] THE [F11] KING [F11] 1689 [F11]
5
11-2-0 #
F#
1689
Matthew Bagley I
Chacombe
RICHARD [F1] HICHMAN [F1] SOLAMAN [F1] HOVSE [F1] IOHN [F1] HVNT [F1] IOHN HASLOR [F1] C [F1] W [F1] 1689 [F1] [double band of A9]
Tenor
16-0-0 #
E
1689
Matthew Bagley I
Chacombe
CALCOTT [F1] CHAMBERS [F1] OF [F1] WILLSCOTE [F11] GENT [F11] GAVE [F1] MEE [F1] 1689 [F1] [Band of A9] [Royal Arms]
New Treble
St Mary
 
2006
Whites
Appleton
'Cropredy villagers gave me'
New second
Fairport
 
2006
Whites
Appleton
'Fairport Convention Festival Bell'
*     *     *     *     *     *     *
 
BELL RESTORATION APPEAL
 
1. The last major restoration when the bells were turned, took place between 1908 and 1913 when a new     Frame for eight bells by Messrs. Warner was installed.
2. New Bearings were fitted by Taylors in the 1950s
3. The bells are now thinning so need to be turned again. To do this they must have new headstocks and     bearings and other ringing fittings. In other words a complete restoration of the peal.
4. The Frame which was installed in 1913 was made to take 8 bells so this is an ideal time to Augment to 8.
 
If you are unaware of why the Curfew Bell is rung every Tuesday and Thursday - we suggest you make a visit to the HISTORY page where all will be revealed.
 

Any enquiries about this appeal should be directed to: Brenda Day, 2 The Plantation, Cropredy, Banbury, Oxon. OX17 1PN. Tel: 01295 758782 or e-mail: days@gatrell.org. Donations may also be forwarded please to the same address - Cheque's should be made payable to 'Cropredy PCC'.

 
A Service of dedication and re-dedication of the Bells by The Right Reverend John Pritchard - Bishop of Oxford - was held on Sunday, 17th February 2008.
(Brenda Day Photos)

 

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