The Bells

The Brentor Bells

The Brentor Bell details

Bell 1 is located above the west window, the remainder numbered clockwise.

*In the 1909 recasting, bell 4 received the earlier medieval inscription Gallas vocor ego, solus per omne sono and the Tenor the 1668 TPI Colling W Nichol H Davis Wardens 1668.

Contact the Tower Captain

Visiting ringers are invited to contact the Tower Captain:

Carol Sargent,

Tel: 01822 810433

Their History

An inventory of church goods by command of King Edward VI, in 1553, was made by Sir Peter Carew and others, and specifies under the parish of Brentor: “belles yn the tower their and one chalice committed to the custody of John Roundell and John Nicoll and other parishioners by indenter”. These two bells were the work of a fourteenth- to fifteenth-century founder and on one of them was the inscription Gallas vocor ego, solus per omne sono (I am called the cock, and I alone sound above all). A third bell, by Thomas Pennington of Exeter was added in the seventeenth century, inscribed TPI Colling W Nichol H Davis Wardens 1668. In 1909 all three bells were recast and two more added to the ring. When there were three bells Mr. R. J. French Smith, the vicar, used to say, that they sang out “Come to church, Come to church”.

The medieval inscription was put on the fourth bell, and the tenor was given the 1668 inscription. The work was carried out by Mears and Stainbank of London, and W. Agget of Chagford, who made the bellframe and hung the peal, which was dedicated by Bishop Archibald Robertson on 20th August 1909. The girders securing the bells were entirely renewed in 1958 and the bells were rehung on new bearings in 1963, and again in 2019. The heaviest of them weighs only six hundredweight.

In addition to being rung for divine service and other events of life with which the church is naturally associated, the bells have been rung, at least since the Reformation, on national occasions such as the birthday, accession or coronation day of the sovereign, and in 1746 the bells were rung to mark the ‘ending of the Rebellion’

The bells were also rung on Restoration Day (Royal Oak Day) 29th May, when 2s. 6d. was paid to the ringers, and on what was regarded as a much more important day, Gunpowder Pl Day, Sth November, when the ringers received 5s. Od. plus 5d. for ‘oyle and cande but it is now a century and a half since these celebrations verty discontinued on ths ground that they were conducive to intemperance and disorderly conduct. Another occasion when the bells were rung was ‘when the bishop past on his way to an engagement in some other parish, which appears to have been an annual event.

In recent years, the bells have been rung for the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the coronation of Charles III; they are also rung every other Sunday for evensong, as well s for weddings.