Article from The Ringing World

This is an article which was written by a member of the band to mark the restoration of the bells in 1992. It appeared in The Ringing World in on 19th February 1993.

Major work completed at Pattingham

These bells were made for walking - and that's just what they do!
These bells were made for walking – and that’s just what they do!

Records show that there has been a church in Pattingham since Norman times and possibly before. The Domesday Book records a priest at Pattingham in 1086. The tower is of the Decorated period 1330 to 1380 and the spire was added in 1871 by the Dartmouth family.

The earliest record of bells and their related costs at St. Chad’s, Pattingham is obtained from the church wardens’ accounts.

item: we gave unto the Ringers upon the queenes (Elizabeth) day
item: our charges at Wellington about the castinge of the seconde bell, four men and four horses
4s. 8d.
item: To Thorn. Hardwicke of Nurton for carryinge the bell thither 6s. 1d.
item: for drinke at the hanging ofthe bells in their places against Whysuntyde 7d
item: for tymber to make ye frame under the leadinge bell 6s. 6d.

In 1724 records show that there were six bells in the tower. In 1864 the original six were returned to London for retuning and two new bells were added, the work was carried out by George Mears. In 1897 the bells were rehung to commemorate the reign of Queen Victoria and in 1928 records show that the bells were rehung with certain new fittings by Gillett and Johnston of Croydon. The Whitechapel foundry turned the bells and rehung them with new headstocks in 1957.

In recent years cracks in the fabric of the tower had become a major cause for concern and could not be ignored. Following a survey it was felt continued ringing might cause further substantial damage to the structure. At the same time the bells in their wooden frame were becoming increasingly difficult to ring. Estimates indicated that approximately £60,000 would be required to strengthen the tower, and a further £30,000 was quoted to renovate the bells. This included retuning, renewing and renovating the fittings, and constructing a new metal frame which would also serve to strengthen the tower.

After much consideration the PCC decided to mount a fund raising campaign to obtain the necessary funds both for the tower restoration and for renovation of the bells. Over a three year period from November 1989 a series of concerts, balloon races, raffles and the now famous “Bells of Pattingham Cross Country Run” all helped to swell the fund, together with donations from local benefactors and well wishers. The target was reached by the end of December 1991.
On the 8th September 1992, following the necessary restoration to the tower, staff from Whitechapel foundry arrived to begin to remove the bells and dismantle the old frame. Just two months later on the 16th November 1992 the bells were returned in all their splendour. In the space of three cold damp weeks, the frame was carefully erected piece by piece and set into the structure of the tower. The bells were gently hoisted to the belfry and installed, and the wheels were reassembled with all the necessary fittings. Finally a smart coat of cherry red paint was applied to the frame. The first tentative trial ring took place on Wednesday 9 December, the local band eager to put the bells to the test.

The new recorded weight of the tenor being 12-3-6 in the key of F.

Members of the band have now undertaken to clean and redecorate the ringing chamber hopefully completing the work in time for the rededication which will be undertaken by Christopher, Bishop of Wolverhampton on 2nd March 1993.

We would like to thank our fitters from Whitechapel for all their help and particularly for their patience with the local photographers. A special thank you is also extended to the Trysull and Claverley ringers who kindly allowed us to ring their bells whilst our own were out of action.


This is an article which was written by a member of the band to mark the restoration of the bells in 1992. It appeared in The Ringing World in on 19th February 1993.