Beedon Tower - About Us


The bell ringing group
Unfortunately we do not have a team of ringers at Beedon. When we need ringers we call upon neighbouring towers.

Visitors
Visiting groups of ringers are always very welcome at Beedon by contacting the Tower Captain.

The tower
There are 6 bells and access is very easy, as you ring from the floor of the nave. There are no steps or stairs to negotiate. It is ideal for people who do not like spiral stairs or are disabled.

History of the tower
St Nicholas Church dates from 1220. The first belfry was located at the western end of the Chancel, above what is now the chancel arch, and the marks of the bell ropes can still be seen on the arch inside the chancel. The present tenor bell may have hung here, and would have served as the Sanctus bell, being rung during the service of Holy Communion, at the consecration of the bread and wine, informing those who were unable to attend that the most solemn part of the service had been reached.

An inventory of the church goods made in 1552 mentions three bells, but the foundry where they were cast is not recorded. It seems probable that they were the work of the Knight family of Reading, who were bell founders for many years from 1552, and who moved their foundry to London in 1710. The Knights were an industrious family whose name is associated with the bells of many Berkshire churches, and they were certainly involved in the production of three of the existing bells, although there is no way of telling if these were made by re-casting some of the original bells.

The present tenor bell was cast by Henry Knight I in 1615, and the fifth in today’s peal by Henry Knight III in 1675. Another member of the Knight family, Samuel, was responsible for the third bell, which was added in 1682, whist the fourth bell, dated 1662 is probably one of the original three which was cracked in 1683 and was re-cast by Mears and Stainbank in 1922.

At the time of the restoration in 1882 these four bells were taken down while the new belfry was being erected. They were then re-hung and tuned by Messrs White of Besselsleigh, near Abingdon, at a cost of £50.00. Alfred White was the founder of this business, and it was probably his son Frederick who was responsible for carrying out the work.

The fifth bell by Mears and Stainbank, of the Whitechapel iron foundry in London, was added in 1899, to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and in 1922 the same firm was responsible for overhauling the bells and fittings, and for adding the treble bell to complete the present peal.

Contact us
If you would like to find out more, or come and try church bell ringing, contact the Tower Captain.

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