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    • #10489
      Peter Hyde

      Historic bells stolen from church
      Two historic church bells, worth £30,000, have been stolen from a village church.
      Police fear the 13th and 17th Century bells could be sold for scrap.

      The artefacts were stolen by up to four people from St Michael’s Church, Quarley, near Andover, Hampshire, on 5 or 6 July, said police.

      Officers believe the gang burned through rope pulleys to remove the bells from their casing, then lifted them onto a van or 4×4 vehicle.

      Those responsible knew what they were doing

      Pc Bill Williams

      The 13th Century bell is marked with a small black S and inscribed with the words “Santa Maria ora pro nobis”.

      The other bell dates back to 1635 and has the words “Love God” inscribed on it.

      Pc Bill Williams said: “Those responsible knew what they were doing, and I would urge any scrap metal dealers or individuals in the area, who may have been offered these items to buy, to get in contact.”

      Report on BBC website.
      No truth in rumours that the ABA was involved!

    • #12830

      It would sure be nice if the church had pictures of the bells they could circulate. The bells’ size isn’t even listed in the article. The bell that’s said to be “13th C.” probably isn’t, I don’t know of a single bell that old in this country, but then I don’t know that much. I would bet it is a larger bell with the weight numberals, perhaps 13 hundredweight plus, listed on it which someone at some time mistook for a date. Anyway just to be safe I won’t buy any 13th C. bells for a while.

    • #12831
      Peter Hyde

      I wonder how many organisations and indeed individuals keep photos of valuable items they own?

    • #12832

      I read that post too quickly. Looking again:

      >St Michael’s Church, Quarley, near Andover, Hampshire

      it is now obviously in the UK. I read it quickly thinking “Andover, New Hampshire, USA.” Wrong.

      Since it is UK, they could I guess have a 13th C. bell, and it would be quite valuable.

      Just for the sake of my education, what are the earliest Western bronze church bells known in the UK? I have no idea when church bells became commonplace in the Western world. I know some of the great cathedrals date from the 12th-13th C. but did they have bronze bells installed at that time?

    • #12833
      Peter Hyde

      I had a look at my books and did a little research. This little quote may be of interest:

      The Guinness book of Records states: “The oldest tower bell in Great Britain is one of 50kg (1cwt) at St Botolph, Hardham, Sussex, still in use and dated AD 1100. The oldest inscribed bell is the Gargate bell at Caversfield church, Oxfordshire and is dated c1200-1210. The oldest dated bell in England is one hanging in Lisset church near Bridlington, East Yorkshire bearing the date MCCLIIII (1254)”

      I would imagine that these would all be made from bronze or bell metal although the actual proportions of copper and tin may have varied. Bellfounding in Britain had monastic origins before passing into the hands of independent craftsmen who set up small permanent foundries.

    • #12834

      Thanks for the information.

    • #12835
      Neil Goeppinger

      My memory is that I read some time ago that large bells came into use by Christian churches between 400 and 600 A.D.

    • #12836

      Bad idea is how they inserted the VALUE in the article- a nice red flag to every thief around to think “HEY!! those old bells are worth a fortune!!! bet an antique shop would pay big!!!”

    • #12837
      Peter Hyde

      I have several bells displayed outside my home – a particularly interesting one on the side of my garage which is close to the road.
      Friends often ask if I’m worried about the risk of theft. Since there is no possibility of these large bells being kept indoors I either accept the risk or simply don’t have them.

      So far, no problems. Have any ABA members any sad stories to tell about theft or vandalism from which lessons might be learnt?


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