Gransden Church Bells & Training Centre


Little Gransden Church Bells

 


      Church of St.Peter & St. Paul

Little Gransden, Cambridgeshire

Bells: 3,  in A (approximate)
Derelict / Unringable

OS Map Ref: TL270551


(Photo: church from the south west) 
       

The church of St. Peter & St. Paul is in the county of Cambridgeshire, seperated from its larger neighbour St. Bartholomew's church Great Gransden by a short walk across the Dole field which also crosses the historic county boundary with Huntingdonshire, the latter now being part of the administrative county of Cambridgeshire. Details of the bells of Great Gransden can therefore be found in The Rev T M N Owen's The Church Bells of Huntingdonshire (1899), and those of Little Gransden in The Church Bells of Cambridgeshire by J J Raven (1869). The parishes became a united benefice in 1928.

There are three bells hung for full circle ringing but the installation is now derelict and it would not be safe to attempt to ring them other than by chiming. Even then, the wheels of the treble and second are broken and frail. It is not known when they were last rung full circle but the presence of a warning bell in the clock room suggests that they were rung from here. Indeed to ring them from the ground floor would have presented a major challenge it being some 50 feet below and absent of any rope guides.

The bell frame has four pits, but there does not appear to ever have been a fourth bell. The frame has a date carved on the end frame of the tenor bell. It appears to read T 1657, but it is very feint and it could be another date. However, it is possible that this is not the original bell frame as one of the bells is dated 1616 and another is believed to be early 16th century, and the bell frame design is typical for the early/mid 17th century. Using Chris Pickford's publication "Bell Frames" (1993) as a guide, the reader can assess that the bell frame truss type is 6.B.

Extensive restoration work to the tower in 2011 included effective bird proofing and the belfry is in a very clean condition allowing good access to the bell frame and bells. A visit to the belfry can be arranged for specialists but the tower is not open to the general public as access is rather tight and includes a steep spiral staircase.

Details of the Bells

Treble (diameter 28")
The inscription has been defaced but is possibly:
......GL...E..W........TA (in Longobardic character).
Founder: Unknown. This bell is believed to be 17th century
 
Second (diameter 31.5 ")
Inscription: Sancte necolane ora pro nobis
Founder: Ascribed to Thomas Bullisden of London and bears his foundry mark
 
Third (diameter 34") Note: approximately A
Inscription: Non clamor sed amor cantat in aure Dei, "Not noise but love makes music in God's ear"
Founder: Probably by Tobie Norris of Stamford.

More details can be found on the Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers website at http://dove.cccbr.org.uk/detail.php?DoveID=LITTLE+GRA#frames

 The Treble Bell
 
     
     
 The Treble from the s.w. entrance
   Part of the Inscription (defaced) on the Treble
   Treble from the south east
 
           
           
 Treble clapper
   Crown of Treble bell
   Crown staple of Treble bell
 
           
           
 Treble bearing
   Treble from the s.w.
     
           
 The Second Bell
 
           
 Second bell from the s.w.
   Second bell from the Treble frame side
   Headstock of the Second bell
 
           
           
 Thomas Bullisden founders mark on the Second bell
  Diagram of the founder's mark from Raven's Church Bells of Cambridgeshire
   Second bell clapper   
     
     
The Third Bell (Tenor)
 
           
 Tenor bell from the entrance
  Tenor bell from the s.w.
  Part of the inscription on the Tenor bell
 
           
           
 Shake in the Tenor headstock
  Tenor headstock - general view
  Tenor clapper
 
           
           
 Part of the inscription on the tenor showing the founding date
         
           
 The Bell Frame
 
           
Empty pit between No 2 and No 3 bells
  Date on the bell frame on entrance to the belfry from the s.w. turret stairs
     
           

The Bell Frame of Little Gransden Church
Hand written diagrams of the bell frame were sketched many years ago. For the purposes of reference these have now been dated 8/13 and are included here in pdf format. Please note that the drawings are not accurate and are intended only as a rough guide to the bell frame.





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