Framland tower information

Barkestone le Vale, Unfortunately the 4 bells of SS Peter and Paul have been unringable for a number of years because the fittings are in poor condition.  The tenor weighs about 9cwt and the treble is the oldest, coming from the Oldfield Foundry in Nottingham in 1639.  Many remember Fred Musson of Barkestone who rang and looked after the bells for many years. It was his wish that the bells could be restored and possibly augmented to five or six. To do this a new frame would be needed, probably lower in the tower than the current one, and the bells rung from the ground floor rather than from a tower room.  The cost of this would be very significant, but perhaps one day, when more pressing maintenance jobs have been completed, the bells of Barkestone could again ring out across the vale.

Bottesford St Mary’s has a magnificent ring of 8 bells, the largest (the tenor) weighing over 22cwt. The bells are of mixed ages, the oldest being cast in London in about 1490 and the three youngest in 1903.  They are perfectly tuned to produce a wonderful sound.  There is a competent band of ringers that meets every Wednesday evening.

Harby St Mary has 5 bells rung from the ground floor.  The tenor weighs over 8cwt and three of the bells were cast by Henry Oldfield of Nottingham between 1610 and 1614, whilst the most recent is by Taylors and hung in 1887.  Unfortunately there is no resident ringing band at Harby now, so the bells are only rung by visiting ringers.

Hose St Michael, where the tenor weighs over 8cwt.  These pleasant bells were all cast in 1938 by Taylors and they are rung from the ground floor.   There is no resident band at Hose but the Long Clawson ringers keep a watching eye on the 5 bells.

Long Clawson St Remigius, also has a ring of 8 bells. Unlike Bottesford where the bells are rung from a room in the tower, Long Clawson has a central tower so the bells are, unusually, rung from the chancel, in full view of the congregation. The tenor weighs over 17cwt and remarkably the seventh bell, weighing 14cwt, was cast in about 1400 by Johannes de Yorke, of Leicester, over 600 years ago.  Three of the bells are nearly new, being cast in the 1990s by Taylor’s Bellfoundry at Loughborough.  The bells are a rewarding challenge for novice ringers because of the long ropes without guides, but Long Clawson has an experienced team of ringers that meets every Tuesday. 

Muston, St John the Baptist has an interesting set of 4 very early bells. Two of the bells date from about 1540 and 1580, and the other two from 1601 and 1605.  The tenor is fairly heavy at 14cwt. Unfortunately these bells are almost unringable and the frame and fittings are in need of restoration.  There is also a Sanctus Bell in the tower (a smaller bell rung during the communion service) that is still in use for chiming only.  The bells were rung during an inspection of their condition in 2002 and it was felt by the visitors that these are arguably the finest sounding ring of four bells in Leicestershire.

Plungar St Helen there are just 2 unringable bells.  The tenor weighs approximately 4cwt and both bells were cast in 1747 by Thomas Hedderley.  The bells have not been rung full circle for many years but are occasionally chimed for services. It is likely that the bells could be made ringable with some attention.  There is a belief that a bell that used to hang in the tower, which was without a clapper and uninscribed, was removed in 1829 to the neighbouring village of Barkestone

Redmile St Peter, there are 3 bells.  They have been unringable for many years.  The tenor weighs 7cwt.  The treble was cast in 1613 by Henry Oldfield. A complete renovation is required to make these bells ring in full circle again. 

Stathern St Guthlac is another ground floor 5-bell tower with the tenor weighing over 9cwt. The three heaviest bells are dated 1607-1613 and also came from the Nottingham foundry of Henry Oldfield.   Until 1990 there were 4 bells but the treble, cast by William Noone of Nottingham, was of poor tonal quality and even had a misprint in its inscription (the word ‘GOD’ was printed backwards as ‘DOG’). This bell was removed and the other three bells augmented by two new bells cast by Taylors.  The original dangerous and disintegrating timber frame was also removed and replaced by a steel frame.  There is a keen band of ringers who meet on the first and third Thursdays to practise.

Thanks to Roger Hawkins for the above information.

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