The casting of the first two bells

Thursday November 17th 2016.  The video was taken on an iphone5 from the viewing gallery at the foundry.


A bell foundry in action.

The images in the gallery are from raw film footage taken by camera operator Callum Macdonald (Dip Creek Productions) and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of our HLF project. The film forms part of the documentation of our project and will be directed by Blake Byles.



 The bells of 2017


Removal of the 1904 ring of eight and its frame

The replacement of the old bells and frame took place during the spring of 2017. The new bells had been cast at the foundry of John Tayor and Co, in Loughborough. Assisted by many local volunteers the bellhanger from Taylor's removed the bells and frame. The images below show some of the work during tht time. The main focus is on the first bell to be removed, the oldest in the tower, the Seliok Bell from c1500. This was mainly because it was immeduately above the trapdoor and would be lowered down to the church floor first.

John Taylor’s bell hanging expert is removing the wooden blocks securing the bearing housing of the old sixth, the oldest bell in the tower, the Seliok bell of 1499-1523. As this bell was above the trapdoor in the floor of the bell chamber it was the first to be removed to provide space for the others to go down to the Church below. The chains of the motorised block and tackle used to haul everything up and down the tower can be seen behind the bell hanger.


The same bell being gently lowered through the floor of the bell chamber.


And now coming out of the tower through the hole designed to allow this to happen, As this hole was part of the tower when it was built, in the early 1400’s, it is clear that bells have been part of the church since the beginning.


The same bell now approaching the floor of the church. Dr Elizabeth Foster, local bellringer and project manager of the HLF project can be seen guiding the team as the bell approaches the floor of the tower.


The Seliok bell, the first to be removed, safely on the floor with two of the local ringers and the bell hanger inspecting it.


Each of the 8 bells was removed and lowered to the floor of the church in the same way and then all of the wooden frame was removed and lowered to the floor, preparing the way for the new frame and bells to be lifted up the tower and installed.


All of the old bells on the church floor



The old frame with no bells left and just the main frame without the side frames from which the bells hung.


Ready to go to the Foundry along with their wheels, clappers and other fittings.


The new bells were cast in late 2016 in two batches. Many members of the church attended the casting and observed at first hand the medieval process of bell casting still practised at bell founders in England. The ladle is used to pour molten bell metal into a mould buried in the sand of the floor of the foundry.

The casting of the first two bells, Thursday November 17th 2016. Video taken from the gallery overlooking the foundry on an Iphone 6 by Alex Slade

A bell foundry in action

The images in the gallery are from raw film footage taken by camera operator Callum Macdonald (Dip Creek Productions) and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of our HLF project. The film forms part of the documentation of our project and will be directed by Blake Byles.


After the metal is poured into the mould the foundry man de-gasses the metal by moving a stick made of willow wood up and down in the casting. Willow contains salicylic acid which helps to remove hot gasses in the molten metal as it starts the three day cooling process.

After casting, cooling, removal from their moulds and ‘fettling’ (the removal of odd bits of metal left over from the casting process), the bells are ready for tuning. The new bells are in the tuning shop at the foundry with the Managing Director of Taylor’s, Andrew Wilby, and the tuner, Gurda Singh.


Gurda has already tuned the bells to their proper strike note, the fundamental, and the 5 harmonics. He did this by mounting each bell on a vertical boring machine and electronically sampling the fundamental and harmonic oscillations of each bell and taking small slivers of metal from several places from the inside of each bell to bring them into perfect tune.


The new bells, cast in 2016, are now in their new frame and have most of their fittings in place. The picture was taken in the foundry of John Taylors & Co, Bellfounders, at Loughborough, during the process of assembling the frame and bells to check that they will fit in the tower.


If you look carefully you will see that only one of the bells, the 2nd, has its wheel fitted, the others were fitted before the frame and bells were dismantled and sent to Richmond for installation in the tower.

The five old bells, prepared for preservation in the tower, have been transported to Richmond and await erection in their frame above the new ringing bells.

The new bells arriving in Richmond and being unloaded from the truck.




Images from the erection of the new frame and bells. 



The bells now hanging in the tower of St Mary's Richmond are a completely new ring of 8 in the key of G.

Cast by Taylors of Loughborough in November and December 2016 they hang in a new, single level frame in approximately the same place in the tower as the lower tier of the 1904 ring.

 The New Bells

 Bell  Cwt-Qtr-Lb  Diameter  Note Inscription
 Treble  3-1-18  24.53"  G

Shoulder: Helping young disabled people to fulfill their dreams

Waist: The Paul Curran Celebration Trust

 2  3-2-5  24.96"  F#

Shoulder: God Grant Grace

Waist: The gift of the people of Richmond, its Council and Guilds. Recognising the support of Lawrence Mark Dundas, 4th Marquess of Zetland whose gradndfather donated the original second bell in AD 1904

 3  3-3-15  26.46"  E  In memory of Lucy Eleanor Sunley 19.11.21-24.12.68
 4  4-2-24  28.54"  D

Shoulder : Praise Him upon the Loud Cymbals: Praise Him upon the High Sounding Cymbals

Waist: The Gift of Richmond Bellringers. Susan Welch Tower Captain and Rinign Master 2007

 5  5-2-3  30.51"  C

Shouder: My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord: and my Spirit hath Rejoiced in God my Saviour

Waist: The Gift of the congregation of St Mary's Church

 6  6-1-4  32.05"  B  Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers Founded 1875
 7  8-1-20  35.51"  A  Alexandra, Princess of Wale's Own Yorkshire Regiment
 Tenor  11-1-2  39.57"  G

Shoulder: Gloria in Excelsis Deo et in Terra Pax Hominibus.

Waist: The Gift of the Slade family ringers at this church

Andrew & Elizabeth

Alexander & Eleanor

Andrew Slade Ringing Master & Tower Captain 1980-2007

The Heritage Exhibition 

In addition the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th bells from the 1904 ring; the five historic bells, hang in a frame above the current ring. They are accessible via a walkway above the new bells from which the new ring can be observed in safety.

These form part of the permanent exhibition installed on the walkway as part of our heritage project. The details of these bells can be found in the exhibitions section available HERE

Hear the new Tenor being swung up for testing.

Our new ring of eight cast to the classic Taylor profile of the late 1920s early 1930s

Not change ringing yet but certainly some sounds from our new bells. The key is G, as expected, and the rounds are performed by Andrew Wilby (Director of Taylors) bells 1,2,3 Girdar (the tuner) bells 4 and 5 and Andrew Slade bells 6,7 and 8. The audio and pictures were taken by Liz Foster on an iPhone 5.

The new bells ringing 8 spliced surprise major

This is a recording from the churchyard of part of a peal rung by the Ancient Society of College Youths of London.

One of the ringers was for a long time the Tower captain of Richmond.

8-spliced surprise major