Huntsham - History of the bells

On the right is the campanula window at the western end of Huntsham church. Detail of the top section is shown below.

Campanula window, detail

Campanula Window, Huntsham

1553 - 1856

Three bells are listed in the church inventory of 1553 and three bells summoned the parishioners to worship in their restored church on Sunday 2 November 1856. Each of the divisions in the tracery of the west window to the tower has three bell flowers, campanulas, designed by Arthur Troyte to illustrate the three bells in the tower restored by him between 1854 and 1856.

Only one of these bells, cast in 1663 by John Pennington of Exeter, remains. This bell is listed for presevation by the Council for the Care of Churches. Little is known of the other two bells, now sadly lost.

1866

Arthur Troyte's eldest son Charles inherited the estate in June 1857 on the death of his father at the age of 46. Charles was 15 years of age when he inherited Huntsham and for several years managed the estate under the supervision of his uncle Sir Thomas Acland of Killerton. In 1866 Charles Troyte arranged for Taylors of Loughborough to augment the ring of three into a ring of six bells. One of the pre-1856 bells was lost in this process. In 1866 the ring of six bells was as follows:

 

Tenor

9-2-0

John Taylor

1866

 

5

6-3-0

John Pennington

1633

 

4

? ? ?

pre

1856

 

3

7-0-0

John Taylor

1866

 

2

6-0-0

John Taylor

1866

 

Treble

4-0-0

John Taylor

1866

All six bells were hung on one level in a new timber frame with all the bells swinging N-S.

1874

Within eight years the Huntsham band had rung extents of Grandsire Doubles and Minor and of Kent Treble Bob Minor and Charles Troyte's interest turned to ringing on eight bells. He commissioned Taylors to augment the ring of six into a ring of eight with a heavier tenor. This Taylors did by casting a new tenor bell and a new treble and by re-casting the existing 4th bell. This gave a ring of eight with the following details:

 

Tenor

12-0-0

John Taylor

1874

 

7

9-2-0

John Taylor

1866

 

6

6-3-0

John Pennington

1633

 

5

7-0-0

John Taylor

1874

 

4

7-0-0

John Taylor

1866

 

3

6-0-0

John Taylor

1866

 

2

4-0-0

John Taylor

1866

 

Treble

3-3-0

John Taylor

1874

The back six bells were re-hung in the 1866 wooden frame. This necessitated some fairly drastic cutting away of the frame sides and the stonework in the bell chamber to enable the bells to swing full circle. The two trebles were hung in a new wooden frame located above the 1866 frame. In this arrangement all eight bells swung N-S but the roping down of the treble proved difficult, and was achieved only by bringing the rope down within the thickness of the tower wall to enable it to pass the lower frame.

In September 1874 the first 'peal' was rung on the new eight by an all-Devon band. However, the quality of the ringing was not good enough for Charles Troyte's band and this 'peal' was not counted as such. The first peal by an all-Devon band was rung on these bells in February 1875.

2004

The eight bells have been re-modelled and re-hung by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry to enable as many as possible of the older bells to be retained and to provide an easy-going light ring of eight. The 1874 tenor and the 1874 fifth bell have become the property of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry who have undertaken to find new homes for them. The basic details of the new ring are as follows:

 

Tenor

8-0-27

John Taylor

1866

Tuned (Ab)

 

7

6-2-15

John Pennington

1663

Uncut

 

6

4-2-20

John Taylor

1866

Tuned

 

5

4-3-4

Whitechapel

2004

New Bell

 

4

4-0-25

John Taylor

1866

Tuned

 

3

3-2-14

John Taylor

1866

Tuned

 

2

3-1-19

John Taylor

1874

Tuned

 

Treble

3-0-27

Whitechapel

2004

New Bell

The details of the two new bells are as follows:

The Presidents' Bell

The new fifth bell is the The Presidents' Bell and carries the following inscription in relief:

 

THE GUILD OF DEVONSHIRE RINGERS

THE PRESIDENTS' BELL

 

CHARLES A.W. TROYTE 1874-1896

REV. MAITLAND KELLY 1896-1924

REV. EVERARD S. POWELL 1924-1933

REV. ERNEST VIVIAN COX 1933-1961

REV. JOHN H.B. ANDREWS 1961-1973

BRIAN PIDGEON 1973-1986

REV. ROBERT A. SOUTHWOOD 1986-1998

GEORGE E. MUDGE 1998

 

The Troyte Bell

The new treble bell is The Troyte Bell and carries the following inscription in relief:

 

CHARLES A.W. TROYTE

1842-1896

AUDI, VIDE, TACE

 

The Latin quotation is taken from the preface of the first edition of Charles Troyte's book Change Ringing and freely translated reads: "Keep ears and eyes about you, and hold your tongue".


Tuning Details

The seventh bell, cast by John Pennington in 1663, is a listed bell and could not be tuned. Fortunately, the hum note was only a little sharp of an octave below the strike note and the second partial was only slightly flat of the strike note. The tonal quality of this bell was quite good and therefore retaining this in an untuned condition did not greatly jeopardise the overall musical result although it did restrict the extent to which the notes of the remaining bells could be flattened. Working to the nominal of the Pennington bell, Whitechapel calculated the nominals for the remaining seven bells choosing the just diatonic scale partly because this is an authentic temperament for old rings of bells and partly because it maximised the required flattening of the nominals in the remaining bells

The 1866 tenor bell, now to be restored once again as tenor, w as also close to the “Simpson” standard when received at the foundry, and Whitechapel were able to align all three notes to the true octave positions. Whitechapel then cast the two new bells using their Mark 1 family of Simpson guages and these were also tuned to the Simpson standard. Finally, the four remaining bells were tuned so as to minimise the extent to which their second partials were further flattened, as they were already flat of the octave position, and simultaneously bring the hum notes into a similar relationship with those already existing in the Pennington bell.

 

Bells as received by Whitechapel

Bell Tenor 7 6 5 4 3 2 Treble
Diameter 3'-61/8" 3'-19/16" 2'-87/8" 2'-815/16" 2'-61/2" 2'-43/8" 2'-29/16" 2'-11/4"
Weight 12-1-23 8-2-4 6-2-15 6-0-14 5-0-16 4-1-16 3-3-8 3-2-13
Hum 197.5 220 247.4 382.5 310 337.5 369 393
2nd Partial 582.5 439 468.2 457.5 515.5 610.5 636 651
Third 460 517 572.9 600 689 753.5 859 905.2
Fifth 577 666.5 752 827 903 1023 1073.5 1173
Nominal 763.5 854.5 956 1007 1150 1311.5 1447 1544
(Strike Note) 381.75 427.25 478 503.5 575 655.75 723.5 772

 

Bells as despatched by Whitechapel (December 2004)

Bell Tenor 7 6 5 4 3 2 Treble
Diameter 3'-15/16" 2'-87/8" 2'-61/2" 2'-415/16" 2'-37/8" 2'-23/16" 2'-1" 1'-115/16"
Weight 8-0-27 6-2-15 4-2-20 4-3-4 4-0-25 3-2-14 3-1-19 3-0-27
Hum 212.9 247.4 278.5 283.2 328.4 354.3 398.5 424.15
2nd Partial 425.5 468.2 501.2 586.4 613.2 636.4 678.6 848.3
Third 506 572.9 635.3 673.1 760.8 839.3 885.6 1012.6
Fifth 648.5 752 822 856.9 997.5 1022 1165.5 1286.2
Nominal 848.5 956 1063.9 1133 1271.8 1416.5 1591.7 1696.6
(Strike Note) 424.25 478 531.95 566.5 635.9 708.25 795.85 848.3

Ab International (A=440) 415.3Hz
Ab Old Concert Pitch (A=454) 428.5Hz

 

Note to Frequency Table

 NOTE    FREQ      FREQ      FREQ     FREQ  
 C      130.81    261.62    523.25   1046.50
 C#/Db  138.59    277.18    554.36   1108.73
 D      146.83    293.66    587.32   1174.65
 D#/Eb  155.56    311.12    622.25   1244.50
 E      164.81    329.62    659.25   1318.51
 F      174.61    349.22    698.45   1396.91
 F#/Gb  184.99    369.99    739.98   1479.97
 G      195.99    391.99    783.99   1567.98
 G#/Ab  207.65    415.30    830.60   1661.21
 A      220.00    440.00    880.00   1760.00
 A#/Bb  233.08    466.16    932.32   1864.65
 B      246.94    493.88    987.76   1975.53

Frequency to Note Calculator

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