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Bristol Rural Branch
Doynton (Holy Trinity)

Holy Trinity, Doynton - click for a larger version

Name or Dedication: Holy Trinity

Location: Doynton, Gloucestershire

Grid Reference: ST720741

An anti-clockwise ring that has long been believed to be tuned 1-5 of eight in Db (C#), but which is in fact more likely a major five, the second being a semitone lower than previously thought. Only the tenor is unringable as it moves sideways in its frame, but the front four have not been rung full-circle since the Millennium celebrations. They are occasionally chimed using an Ellacombe Chiming Apparatus in the ground floor. This was originally the Ringing Room, but is now home to a toilet facility that takes takes up most of the space.

The bells are hung in an oak five-bell frame installed in 1666. Much material has been cut away to allow the bells to swing, and as a result the frame is rather thin in places. The front four bells are on their original plain bearings, the tenor having been rehung on ball bearings by Amos & Bees, a local company, in 1961. All five bells were cast with canons, although those on the second and fourth have since been removed. The oak headstocks all appear to be of the same date.

The previous treble was cast by Richard Purdue II in 1664, and measured 32 inches in diameter. Ellacombe lists it as "Cracked" in 1881, a probable reason for its recasting twenty years later in 1901. The previous third bell was cast by William Purdue III & Richard Purdue II in 1657, and measured 36 inches in diameter. It is possible that a complete ring of five was produced in 1657, and indeed the Church History claims that this is so (albeit attributing them to Roger Purdue who wasn't casting in 1657). However, the present frame wasn't installed until 1666, so it is unlikely that five bells were left unused for so many years.

Another theory is that the two Purdue bells were hung in a two-bell frame which was replaced by the present frame in 1666, probably when three more bells were added. This could also explain why a ring of five was installed rather than a ring of six, as the latter would have meant not only buying another bell but also recasting (or retuning) one or both of the original bells, which would have increased costs considerably.

Bells hung for full-circle ringing

The bells of Holy Trinity, Doynton
BellWeightDiameterNoteFounder Date
16 cwt 31¼ inC# Llewellins & James 1901
27¼ cwt 33¾ inB Thomas Bilbie I 1766
38½ cwt 35¾ inA# Llewellins & James 1901
413 cwt 40¼ inG# Edward Bilbie I 1709
516 cwt 44¼ inF# Jefferies & Price 1844

Source: Inspected personally and data gathered 16th March 2006; founders confirmed by Nick Bowden. Weights have been estimated based on the bells' diameters. Details of the previous treble and third from "The Church Bells of Gloucestershire" (Revd Henry Thomas Ellacombe, 1881).

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.