Skip to: ContentEnd


My home on the Web

Bristol Branch
Bristol (St Nicholas)

Name or Dedication: St Nicholas

Location: Bristol, Gloucestershire

Grid Reference: ST589729

Following the destruction of the previous ring of ten bells when the church was burnt out by an incendiary bomb in 1940, the salvaged bell metal was kept in storage until it was finally scrapped in 1959. Some of the metal was then used to cast four new bells, comprising the 3rd, 6th and tenor of a proposed ring of ten in the same key as the original, and a Service bell which is sounded automatically.

The three bells of the proposed ring of ten hang in the cast iron ten-bell frame installed by John Taylor & Co. in 1897 but are currently devoid of any ringing fittings. However, the church clock chimes a ting-tang at the quarter-hours on the two smaller bells and strikes the hours on the tenor. This clock was installed in the early 19th Century and during renovations in 1870 had an inset dial to count the seconds added to its dial on the east wall of the tower. The movement was badly damaged in the fire of 1940 but after the war it was repaired and converted to electrical operation. It remains the only church clock in Great Britain to have a second hand.

The church was re-roofed in the early 1970s to serve as a museum for church artefacts but this closed through lack of funds. The building then became Bristol's main Tourist Information Centre but this too moved out in the summer of 2000. It remains in the ownership of Bristol City Council Museums department.

Bells hung for full-circle ringing

The bells of St Nicholas, Bristol
BellWeightDiameterNoteFounder Date
14-1-17 28½ inDb John Taylor & Co. 1959
28-2-26 36½ inAb John Taylor & Co. 1959
329-3-22 55 inDb John Taylor & Co. 1959

Additional bells

Additional bells at St Nicholas, Bristol
BellWeightDiameterNoteFounder Date
Service11-0-21 39 inG John Taylor & Co. 1959

Source: Bell data from George Dawson. Further information from ChurchCrawler (Phil M. Draper), About Bristol, Dove's Guide (6th edition, 1982), Nick Bowden and Will Willans.

Where the exact weight of a bell is known, it is given in the traditional way using the British imperial units of Hundredweight, Quarters and Pounds (cwt-qtr-lb) in which there are 28 pounds in a quarter, four quarters in a hundredweight, and 20 hundredweight in a ton (one hundredweight is equal to approximately 50.8 kilograms). However, if only an approximate or calculated weight is known, it is given to the nearest quarter of a hundredweight.

A bell's diameter is measured across its mouth (open end) at the widest point and is given in inches (to the nearest quarter of an inch), one inch being equal to approximately 2.54 centimetres.