Five Bells for Boothby Pagnell

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In 2005 the church of St Peters at Aisthorpe, in Lincolnshire, was being considered for redundancy. St Peters had 5 bells, which, it seemed, would never be rung again for service and it was decided to try to find a new home for them, if at all possible, within the Diocese.

At the same time, the Friends of St Andrew’s Church, Boothby Pagnell was looking at a programme of works to refurbish the church.  A recent legacy from villager, Bob Leeson, coupled with a donation from John Greenhough, an enthusiastic bell ringer, had enthused the villagers to see if they could obtain a peal of 5 bells to go into the existing frame (for 5 bells) that had been built in 1897.  Therefore, the fact that the Aisthorpe bells were available and a perfect fit for the existing frame at St Andrew’s, meant that it was quickly agreed to support the transfer of the five bells from Aisthorpe.

The three existing bells at Boothby Pagnell could be dated, the smallest one from the mid –fifteenth century, the two larger ones were inscribed 1594 and 1606.

They were rehung in 1897, in a new oak frame, during the refurbishment of the church by Mrs Annie Thorold.  They had been silent for 30 years until ringers from Grantham rang them in 1987 and over the next ten years a total of 10 quarter peals were rung on them.

Guy Riley and Mike Collier from Boothby Pagnell were part of a team from Taylors, Eayre and Smith, Bellfounders from Loughborough, which removed the five bells from Aisthorpe in 2006.

These bells were then taken to the foundry in Loughborough to be retuned.  In conjunction with this, Juliet Riley, as the  secretary of the Friends of St Andrew’s at this time, took the lead in weaving her way through all the obstacles in the path of the project.  As a result, approvals were obtained from the Diocese to carry out strengthening works to the bell tower in Boothby Pagnell and to install the bells.

Finally, on Dec 1st 2008   the three existing bells were carefully removed from the bell tower and 2 of them were placed on display in the ringing chamber. The smallest of the existing bells will be rehung in the belfry for use as a Service bell and fitted with an electro magnetic hammer and tolling unit.

On Dec 2nd the retuned 5 bells were transported from Loughborough to Boothby Pagnell, by flat bed lorry, and with the help of Andrew Usborne, Guy Riley, Mike Collier, Pam Collier, John Hodson, Mark Hodson, Ernie Roberts, Percy Hunt, Robert Cornford, plus lots of cake and tea from the ladies in the village, they were transferred into the church and winched up into the bell tower of St Andrew’s.

During the next week the volunteers, under the guidance of Steve Westerman from Taylor’s, helped to hang the five bells into position with new canon retaining fittings.

On Dec 18th they were rung for the first time, on the occasion of the Carol Service at St Andrew’s.

The five bells were originally cast by J Taylor & co. Bellfounders of Loughborough in 1867, so in effect they ‘went home’ to be retuned.

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The details of the bells after retuning are;


1.         Dia. 29 ¾”                  weight              5cwt 3qrs.26lbs.          Note E

2.         Dia. 31”                      weight              5cwt 3 qrs 20lbs.         Note D sharp

3.         Dia. 32 5/8”                 weight              6cwt 3qrs   8lbs.          Note C sharp

4.         Dia. 34 ½”                  weight              7cwt 2qrs   6lbs.          Note B

5.         Dia. 39 5/8”                weight              9cwt 2qrs 0lbs.            Note A


For more history of St Andrew's Church click here