The Bells

The 5 and the Tenor

The Vale church has a ring of six bells, the largest now weighs 6cwt 2 qr and 23lb, is 34 inches in diameter, and has the note Bb. They all have the inscription “RECAST BY JOHN WARNER & SONS LONDON 1891”.

The bells were recast from three pre-reformation Exeter foundry bells at the expense of the then Rector, Dean Bell, in memory of his son who had died the previous year in Exeter where he was a surgeon. A ringing chamber was arranged in the space below the bells, accessed by a ladder up the outside of the church.

The bells are hung in a cast-iron frame in the base of the spire. In 1970 they were retuned and rehung on ball-bearings with new fittings. Seven years later the ringing chamber was abandoned and the ringers were moved to the ground floor around the font.

The clock

In 1999 the bells were again removed from the frame while it was painted and support provided to the foundation beams, which were being affected by beetle and rot.

In 2001 a 1¼ cwt chiming bell, cast at Whitechapel in 1778, was installed for use when the other bells were not rung and as a sanctus bell.

The clock with Westminster chimes was installed in 1898 as a memorial of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was electrified in 1970.

J D 9/11/09