Axbridge Church Tower & Bell Ringing
The 100 foot central tower is one of the grand perpendicular towers of Somerset, typical of the Cheddar Valley type, built around 1380.
The original date for the bells is unknown but historical records show that in 1598 Thomas Spencer, Axbridge's Sexton, was told to ring the curfew bell at seven in the evening and "fower" in the morning. Axbridge folk were early risers in those days!
An entry in the well preserved Churchwardens' accounts notes that in 1644, 12 shillings was paid to Richard Stroude for beer for the ringers (some things never change!) at the coming of the Queen to Axbridge. The Queen was Henrietta Maria, the French wife of Charles I.
In 1723 the five bells were recast into six by the famous Bilbie family of bellfounders at Chewstoke.
The bells were then recast again at various dates - the Treble (lightest bell) was recast by Thomas Mears of London in 1800, the 3rd and 5th were recast in 1844 by C & G Mears of London, and lastly the Tenor (heaviest bell) was recast in 1850 again by C & G Mears.
In 1925 all six bells were recast again into the current famous ring by John Taylor's of Loughborough. The Tenor now weighs 19cwts. - 3 qrs. - 14 lbs. in the key of E flat.
There has been a clock in the tower since 1659. The present one was installed on 23rd December 1892 at a cost of 126 pounds and 10 shillings.
We ring the bells regularly every Monday evening from 8pm to 9pm, and on Sundays when there is a service in church. We are always looking for new recruits, and I can assure you that you would be made most welcome. If you are interested, or just want to find out more, then please contact our Tower Captain - Roy Shallish on 01934 732 137.