birstwith St James  SE 239595

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History

Built in 1856-57 with west tower and broach spire.

Bells

A peal of eight bells hung for full-circle ringing.  They are rung from the ground floor ringing chamber.  Previously there was a peal of six bells from the Warner foundry the Ellacombe rack of which survives as a switch gear cupboard!  It has a plaque which reads "BELLFOUNDERS TO HIS MAJESTY" - and therefore most probably dates from the addition of the sixth bell in 1905.

Bell Founder Date Cwt-Qtr-Lb Diameter Note
1 John Taylor of Loughborough 1933 3-3-25 25" G
2 John Taylor of Loughborough 1933 3-3-15 25.5" F sharp
3 John Taylor of Loughborough 1933 4-0-14 26" E
4 John Taylor of Loughborough 1933 4-1-20 28" D
5 John Taylor of Loughborough 1933 4-3-6 29.5" C
6 John Taylor of Loughborough 1933 5-2-27 31.125" B
7 John Taylor of Loughborough 1933 7-3-27 34.9375 A
8 John Taylor of Loughborough 1933 11-1-14 39.375" G

Inscriptions

1    IB:    * CAST BY JOHN TAYLOR & CO * FOUNDERS * LOUGHBOROUGH * 1933

2    IB:    * CAST BY JOHN TAYLOR & CO * FOUNDERS * LOUGHBOROUGH * 1933

3    IB:    * RECAST BY JOHN TAYLOR & CO * FOUNDERS * LOUGHBOROUGH * 1933
    Waist:        CAST BY // JOHN WARNER & SONS // LONDON 
    Reverse:                            D.D.  C.R.B.  1905

4    IB:    * RECAST BY JOHN TAYLOR & CO * FOUNDERS * LOUGHBOROUGH * 1933
    Waist:        CAST BY // JOHN WARNER & SONS // LONDON // 1859

5    IB:    * RECAST BY JOHN TAYLOR & CO * FOUNDERS * LOUGHBOROUGH * 1933
    Waist:        CAST BY // JOHN WARNER & SONS // LONDON // 1859

6    IB:    * RECAST BY JOHN TAYLOR & CO * FOUNDERS * LOUGHBOROUGH * 1933
    Waist:        CAST BY // JOHN WARNER & SONS // LONDON // 1857

7    IB:    * RECAST BY JOHN TAYLOR & CO * FOUNDERS * LOUGHBOROUGH * 1933
    Waist:        CAST BY // JOHN WARNER & SONS // LONDON // 1857

8    IB:    * RECAST BY JOHN TAYLOR & CO * FOUNDERS * LOUGHBOROUGH * 1933
    Waist:        CAST BY // JOHN WARNER & SONS // LONDON // 1856

Frame and Fittings

A low-side cast-iron frame in a 2-4-2 layout with cast-iron headstocks, ball bearings and all modern fittings, including Hastings stays, by Taylors dating from the 1933 recast.  The bell chamber is open to the large spire which gives a superb resonance to this peal of bells.

Previous Peal

Bell Founder Date Cwt-Qtr-Lb Diameter
1 John Warner & Sons of London 1905 5-3-19 30.25"
2 John Warner & Sons of London 1859 6-0-11 31"
3 John Warner & Sons of London 1859 7-1-13 33.5"
4 John Warner & Sons of London 1857 9-1-9 35.75"
5 John Warner & Sons of London 1857 10-1-22 37.25"
6 John Warner & Sons of London 1856 12-0-24 40.75"

The Bells (taken from www.harrogate.co.uk/stjames/history.htm)

When the church opened there were three bells. Two were given by the Founder and the third by the Rev. Staniforth whose bell was discovered already cast as a model for Great Ben in the houses of Parliament. Two more bells were added by the founder in 1860 and the sixth by the Rev. Baskett in 1905. They were all cast and hung by Warners of London. The six bells had an Ellacombe chiming apparatus in which six ropes, from hammers for each bell, ran to an operating box in the Belfry. In this way the bells could be run by one person. The box is still in the Belfry acting as the master electric switch box. It has six holes in the top that used to take the hammer ropes.

These six bells were not in perfect tune and the decision was taken in 1933 to have them recast into the existing set of eight bells. The work was given to Taylors of Loughborough. The bells were rehung in a new metal frame and have been kept in excellent condition. They are favoured by visiting teams of ringers and the peals often ring out up and down the valley.

Bellringing is a hobby that has varied in popularity over the years and is one that demands dedication and practice. Even so, there is an ongoing interest in bell-ringing in Birstwith and the bells of St Jamesís ring out before every service and on special occasions.

Sources

ARA visit August 2003

Francis Frith's Around Harrogate - Clive Hardy

Communication from Chris Pickford

www.harrogate.co.uk/stjames/history.htm