Our Church Bells

Thanks to Brian Hullah - one of our Churchwardens and the Tower Captain at All Saints Church, Shouldham - for pulling this information together.

If you want to know any more information about our churches and their bells, or if you want to contact the Tower Captain's for Shouldham, Fincham, or Watlington, please contact us via our online form.

St Martin's Church, Fincham

St Martin's Church, Fincham

6 bells – Tenor (largest), 7cwt, 0qtr, 15lb (362kg), note B flat.

The old six bells of 1844 were recast in 1975 by John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough and rehung with new fittings in the ancient oak frame. They are bright, modern peal, rung from an upstairs room.

There is an active band of ringers at this tall tower.

Holy Trinity Church, Marham

Holy Trinity Church, Marham

6 bells – Tenor, approx.12cwt (610kg) in G.

Four of these bells were cast by Thomas Osborn at his Downham Market foundry in 1802; the other two are by another, unidentified founder.

Whilst the timber frame and fittings are in quite fair order, the bells have not been rung for many years because the floor timbers of the bell-chamber are weak with age and decay. Regular ringing, from an upstairs chamber, ceased soon after the Coronation in 1953 and the bells are now classified as “unringable”.

St James's Church, Runcton Holme

St James's Church, Runcton Holme

3 bells – Tenor, approx. 7cwt (360kg) in G.

A small peal from the Downham Market foundry, cast by William Dobson (grandson and successor to Thomas Osborn, above) in 1810.

Formerly hung for full-circle ringing, they are now only swing-chimed for services.

All Saints Church, Shouldham

All Saints Church, Shouldham

6 bells – Tenor, 11cwt, 0qtr, 10lb (563kg) in A flat.

There were four bells here until the great Victorian restoration of the church in 1869/70. These remain as the heaviest of the present ring, three having been cast by John Brend II at Norwich in 1652, and one by an itinerant founder, Austen Bracker from Ely, about 1556, which is now listed for preservation.

Two lighter bells were added in 1870, cast at the Cripplegate, London, foundry of John Warner & Sons, and the whole peal hung in a new oak frame. In 2008, the bells were completely refurbished by Whites (Bellhangers) of Appleton, Oxfordshire, and rehung with modern fittings in the strengthened frame.

There is an active band of ringers here, who ring at ground floor level.

Holy Trinity Church, Stow Bardolph

Holy Trinity Church, Stow Bardolph

8 bells – Tenor, 10cwt, 0qtr, 5lb (510kg) in F#.

Here, the ring consists of bells from six different founders, of which the oldest (1601) is the work of Thomas Newcombe of Leicester and Bedford and also listed for preservation. There were six bells in the tower until 1870 when John Warner & Sons were commissioned to add the two lightest in a “rider” frame joined high above the original timber frame.

The bells must have been awkward to ring and fell silent after WW 2. A major overhaul took place in 1974 when John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough completely renovated the installation, carefully tuning the peal, and rehanging the bells in a new cast iron frame beneath the ancient one, which remains in situ for historic reasons. The bells are rung from the ground floor, but there is no regular band here – a pity, as they are a very tuneful, light octave.

St. Peter & St. Paul's Church, Watlington

St. Peter & St. Paul's Church, Watlington

6 bells – Tenor, 8cwt, 2qtr, 2lb (433kg) in B flat.

Until the early 1900s, there were five bells in the tower. Then, in 1910/11, the three lightest were recast and an additional Treble(lightest and shrillest) added. The founders were John Warner & Sons of London. However, the two heaviest of the old ring were retained, being of rare, historic interest.

They are Pre-Reformation bells (c. 1460), the work of Johanna Sturdy, whose London foundry was located in the parish of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate. A remarkable businesswoman, she was twice married to bell-founding husbands and continued their trade throughout two periods of widowhood. The bells hang in an excellent oak frame by George Day & Sons of Eye, Suffolk. This was strengthened in 1996 when the bells were rehung on ball bearings by the Whitechapel Bellfoundry.

Ringing takes place at the ground floor level and there is an active band here.

St Mary's Church, Wimbotsham

St Mary's Church, Wimbotsham

3 bells – Tenor, 7cwt (360kg), note unknown as it had long been cracked .

Unfortunately, all three bells suffered disastrous cracking in a devastating fire in September 2019. Nos. 1 & 2 are 15th century bells by Norfolk founders and all are currently stored, awaiting a decision on their futures. Modern technology means their tone could be restored by welding.

St Mary's Church, Shouldham Thorpe

St Mary's Church, Shouldham Thorpe

2 small chiming bells, hanging in the open bell-cote.

They were cast by John Taylor & Co., the larger bell weighing 1cwt, 2qtr, 8lb (80kg).

The Loughborough Foundry archive shows that the bells were ordered by the then Vicar of Shouldham and Shouldham Thorpe, Reverend William Maxey Allen, and were despatched from the works on 1st October 1856.

St Peter's Church, Stowbridge

St Peter's Church, Stowbridge

1 small chiming bell in the low West tower - probably contemporary with the church built in 1907.


St. Botolph's Church, Tottenhill

St. Botolph's Church, Tottenhill

1 bell hung for chiming.

It was cast at the Whitechapel Foundry in 1842, so replacing a predecessor which had been stolen in the 17th century

St Michael & All Angels and the Holy Cross Church, Wormegay

St Michael & All Angels and the Holy Cross Church, Wormegay

1 bell, cast by John Draper of Thetford in 1636 and weighing about 4.5cwt (225kg).

It hangs in its original 17th century oak frame, complete with a modern replica half-wheel (the forerunner of full wheels on today's bells).

This bell cracked in the 1990s, but was successfully welded and restored to use.