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Church Bells

The Church of St John the Baptist has a peal of six bells. There is a record of at least three bells in the tower in 1432, but none of these exists today. The oldest surviving bell dates from 1549.

Details of Plymtree Bells

Church Bells – Plymtree Village Website

DiameterWeightCwt qrs lbsInscriptionMakerDate
Tenor4’ 43811 0 8(1240lbs)(recast)EDWARD OFFSPRING HOLWELL, MINISTER JOHN DIMOND, BENJAMIN PARIS, CHURCH-WARDENS J MEARS OF LONDON FECIT 1829 Thomas Mears II, London1829
5th2’ 11”7 2 23(863lbs)JOHN TILLEY CHRISTOPHER BAKER CHURCH-WARDENS. T P XON 1669Thomas Pennington III, Exeter 1669
4th2’ 8”6 0 18(690lbs)AVE MARIA GRATIA PLENIA, RSRoger Semson, Ash Prior1549
3rd2’ 7125 3 4(648lbs)EDWARD OFFSPRING HOLWELL RECTORTHOMAS MEARS OF LONDON 1826WM BRICE, EDWARD MIDDLETON CHURCH WARDENS ERECTED 1826 Thomas Mears II1826
2nd2’ 5184 3 23(555lbs)(Recast from previous bell 648lbs)CONCORDIA RESONATEDWARD OFFSPRING HOLWELL RECTORT. MEARS OF LONDONCHARLES HARWARD,THOMAS GRIFFINCHURCH WARDENS.ERECTED AND RAISED BY SUBSCRIPTION AD 1826 Thomas Mears II1826
Treble2′ 4144 2 14(546lbs)MEARS & STAINBANK WHITECHAPEL FOUNDRY, LONDON 1895Mears & Stainbank, London1895

Bell Frame

(The following description is taken from a report by Whitechapel Bell Foundry, 11 June 2009)

The bellframe is of oak and was manufactured by Harry Stokes of Woodbury in 1895. It stands 3’9″ high and is of conventional design and construction incorporating horizontal top and bottom timbers with diagonal braces and queen posts between. Due to lack of space within the belfry gallows ends have been incorporated at the north ends of the 5th and 4th pits, the west end of the 2nd pit and the east end of the treble pit.

The frame is designed to accommodate the six bells upon one level with the tenor, 5th and 4th bells swinging north/south whilst the 3rd, 2nd and treble swing east/west (the strong way of the tower).

The bell frame takes its bearing upon the belfry floor which comprises 2″ thick timber boards spanning the tower north/south plus five beams spanning east/west running from the principle foundation beams to wall plates resting upon an off-set on the east and west walls.

Vertical tie bolts have been fitted down through the main diagonal braces to hold the joints into compression and angle plates and strap bolts have been fitted adjacent to other joists for the same purpose. As it was not possible to insert vertical tie bolts through the frame side adjacent to the south wall a series of ingeniously formed strap bolts and dogs have been attached in place.

These were refurbished in 2011 – see details of the work undertaken. The photos below show some of the parts awaiting refitting, and then the completed work.

For information about the bellringers please see Bellringers.