We’ve Found an Old Church Bell…
October 11, 2008 at 7:30 pm #10985AnonymousInactive
I live in a the Town of Half Moon Bay, CA. in the early 1800’s it was called Spanish Town. There was large Mexican Land Grants given out. Tiburco Vazques who came from the Mission Dolores was given a grant called Corral De Tierra Pablo. Vasques gave a portion of his land to build Church and a cemetery. Called Pilarcitos Cemetery, they build the Church in the middle.
In 1870, the Church burned down. The Cemetery got full and a new one was started on the hill behind town, and another Church was built in a different location.
We think we found the old Church Bell in the weeds at the newer cemetery on the hill behind town. Someone must of brought it there back in the 1870’s. We found it last month. A old custodian said it was from the Pilarcitos Cemetery.
The Bell is cast iron the cradle arms of the crown are snapped off about 5″ out each side. There is heavy corrosion all over it. I dug under it to see the clappers. It looked like the clapper arms are warped from a fire and one ball may be missing. We haven’t lifted it yet to see inside. The bell is 21′ tall and 32″ diameter across the lip. The only number I found on top is a 2 the numbers
ahead of it are corroded off.
The Bell has not been moved yet because I want to take proper precautions not to damage it any further. I will have photos soon. Can anyone help me with what to do? I have permission from the local Priest to take and restore it but they want it for the Church “Our Lady of The Pillar’ Catholic Church.
If you can help, please post a response.
This inquiry was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.
October 11, 2008 at 9:53 pm #14152lucky13Member
Sounds like a cast iron or steel bell from one of the several American bell foundries in the east and midwest. If you have not tested the bell itself with a magnet do so. It might be bronze (more valuable). The magnet will not adhere to bronze. If it measures 32 inches then the number on the yoke (not cradle) is 32. One of the clapper balls is probably part of the tolling hammer, an accessory on a larger bell used during a funeral. I would not risk swinging a bell this large on an old repaired yoke. When bells are sent to restorers such as Verdin in Cincinnati all the old mounting hardware is scrapped and replaced with steel components for safety but this is very costly. I would remove the yoke and mount the bell on a 4X4 wood beam. It will be stationary and can be rung by attaching a rope to the clapper or if the tolling hammer is still functional it can be rung in that manner. Am anxious to see a photo.
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