Bellringers

The following brief history of the Thornbury Bells and Bellringers and the photo of the Belfry at St Mary’s Church are taken from the former Thornbury Bells website.

‘The tower of St Mary’s Church contains a ring of eight bells, the largest weighing some 18½ cwt.  Their early history is not clear: the oak bellframe, hung high in the tower at the level of the louvres, is of traditional 17th century Gloucestershire style and appears to have been constructed as one unit, suggesting that there were eight bells originally.  But the six heaviest bells, all from the Gloucester Rudhall foundry, range in date from 1698 to 1828 and, although the fourth bell of 1698 bears the inscription ‘Abr Rudhall cast us all’, there is no mention of Thornbury in the catalogues of bells cast by the foundry between 1684 and 1830.  Also, the two bells dated 1698 bear different names in their inscriptions’.

We are very grateful to David ‘Arch’ Andrews, the Captain of the Tower Bells for sending us several photos of the various memorial boards which are hung in the bell tower and a photo of the bell ringers taken in 1897.

He has also added to their website the following information about the present bells which mention several of the people of the Town.

Click on each of the thumbnails shown below to see a larger image.​​​​​

Board commemorating the ringing of the bells on 29th December 1856 by eight of St Mary Redcliff Ringers assisted by one of the Thornbury Ringers (whom we assume to be Nathaniel Bartlett Junior).  Mentions Vicar, Revd. M. F. S. Townsend and Churchwardens James Willshen, Robert Screen and Arthur Screen.
  Board commemorating the Jubilee Peal on 24th April 1887 by J. Davis, W. Sevier, G. Daltry, G. iles, J. Hinton, H. Mitchell, F. Howell and J. Phillips.  Also mentions Vicar, H. B. Hodgson and Churchwardens, J. Y. Sturge, J. H. Thurston and T.D. Till 
  Board commemorating the ringing of the bells on 19th January 1901 by W. Stowell, F. G. May, J. Thomas, W. Knight, J. J. Poole, H. W. Fussell, H. T. Howell and F. K. Howell.  Also mentions Vicar, Revd A. W. Cornwall and Churchwardens H. H. Lloyd, H. P. Thurston and J. B. Till,
Board commemorating the ringing of the bells on 9th June 1901 by T. Alsop, W. Somerville, C. Gordon, H. Fussell, F. K. Howell, J. Poole, W. Stowell and H. Howell. 
  Board commemorating the broadcasting of the bells by the B. B. C. on Christmas Day 1946.  The ringers were W. G. Symes, J. Collins, A. Burrows, S. Poole, R. Poole, J. King and W. Poole.  Also mentions Vicar, R. G. Rawstone and Churchwardens R. A. Bennett, S. W. G. Dennis and L. J. Hawkins
  A group photograph of the Thornbury Society of Change Ringers taken on 28th June 1897 – specifically T. Alsop, J. Phillips, F. Poole,  A. B. Phelps, C. Eddington, F. K. Howell, W. Davis (Captain) and J. Poole