Friends of The Church on the Hill

Edlesborough Church Bells

The old bells were destroyed in the fire of 1828.  Roy Tricker's guide 'Exploring Edlesborough's Church, (1994) gives more information:

"On Friday 28th March 1828, between 3-4pm, the crown of thorns and weathercock at the top of the lead-covered spire which crowned the tower was struck by lightning and burst into flames. The Vicar, several parishioners and fire appliance from Ashridge, Dunstable and Ivinghoe, tried to put the fire out but could not get to the top of the spire where it was gradually taking hold, fanned by a westerly wind. Eventually the whole spire was a mass of flames, with molten lead pouring down in streams. The spire, bells and everything combustible in the tower was destroyed. The bells, which had become red-hot, crashed to the ground, bringing with them the tower floors and setting fire to the lower parts of the tower. It was thanks to the skill of the fire-fighters, parishioners and people from neighbouring villages that the fire (which burned until 5am the following morning) was prevented from spreading to the body of the church."

An earlier guidebook, undated, but probably 1970s vintage, says:

"The bells consist of a ring of six and a small call bell, all recast after the fire from the old five bells and call bell, by Thomas Mears the younger of Whitechapel in 1828. In 1954 his successors Mears and Stainbank rehung the bells in the 1828 frame. The clock dates from 1828"

Mike Pearson, Bell-Tower Captain at Edlesborough Church, tells us:

Bell ringing at Edlesborough Festival 2014

In 1953, the bells were taken to The Whitechapel Foundry, where they had the canons removed; they were then re-tuned and rehung on new headstocks mounted on ball bearings and when fitted to the headstocks in the bell chamber, they were quarter-turned from the 1828 position so that the clapper hit the bell at 90 degrees from before. The frame is 1828, the bells are 1828 but most of the rest of the fittings are 1953. There has been some maintenance and repair work carried out since and I continue to check them over and carry out work as and when necessary.”

Listen to the bells