Bells have been rung in churches since the middle ages, to mark the passing of time for field labourers, the start of the market, the curfew, the hours of services. St Mary’s has a magnificent ring of 8 bells, the largest (the tenor) weighing over 22cwt. The bells are of mixed ages, the oldest dating from the 15th century and the three youngest from 1903. They are perfectly tuned to produce a wonderful sound. The ‘Great Bell’ at Bottesford was used as a call to arms or to mark a victory. The owner of Staunton Hall was obliged to supply a new rope for it annually. In 1715 it broke when used to celebrate the defeat of the Jacobites.
The oldest of Bottesford’s bells is the 6th bell, listed by the Council for the Care of Churches as one worthy of preservation. It bears a mark referred to as the “brede mark”. This indicates that it was cast by a London founder around1490.
Change ringing, ringing in complicated mathematical patterns, developed in the C17th and, as can be seen in the photographs, has a proud local history.
Today a band of ringers meets every Wednesday evening to practise their art and ensure that the bells ring out on Sundays and for national and village events.
Bell Founder Weight Date
Treble John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 5 cwt. 1903
2nd John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 6 cwt. 1903
3rd John Briant, Hertford 8 cwt. 1810
4th Abraham Rudhall I, Gloucester 9 cwt. 1713
5th Henry Oldfield II, Nottingham 11 cwt 1615
6th (possibly) John Danyell, London 14 cwt. 1490
7th John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 15 cwt. 1903
Tenor John Briant, Hertford 22 cwt. 1809
Each of the bells has an inscription giving its date and other details, for example the 4th bell says ‘Peace and Good Neighbourhood’.