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Bristol Rural Branch
Dyrham (St Peter)

St Peter, Dyrham - click for a larger version

Name or Dedication: St Peter

Location: Dyrham, Gloucestershire

Grid Reference: ST741758

The previous treble was cast at Gloucester in 1835 by Thomas Mears II. The previous third and fourth bells were cast in 1638, but their founders are unknown. However, it is possible that the church purchased these two bells from Holy Trinity, Cold Ashton in 1800. If this is the case then they were probably cast by Roger Purdue I, who cast the two remaining bells at Cold Ashton around this time.

The bells are hung with elm headstocks on plain bearings in a cast iron and steel frame installed by Llewellins & James in 1911. The canons were removed from the second, fifth and sixth bells at this time, the Llewellins & James bells being cast without. All the bells swing east-west in the tower.

There is an Ellacombe Chiming Apparatus in the ground floor of the tower. High on the wall of the Ringing Room is a 17th Century weight-driven birdcage clock that strikes the hours on the tenor. It was originally hand-wound and the weights dropped from the Ringing Room ceiling to the ground floor of the tower, the wires taking an unusual route via the Ringing Room floor before passing over the pulleys on the ceiling. However, in June 2008 the movement was overhauled and converted to epicyclic autowinding by Smith of Derby, leaving the original weights grounded but with wires attached to the ground floor ceiling in an attempt to give the appearance of still being connected to the movement upstairs. The clock's dial is on the south wall of the tower, overlooking the gardens of Dyrham Park.

Bells hung for full-circle ringing

The bells of St Peter, Dyrham
BellWeightDiameterNoteFounder Date
14¼ cwt 28¾ inD# Llewellins & James 1911
25½ cwt 30½ inC# William Purdue III & Richard Purdue II 1650
36½ cwt 32 inB Llewellins & James 1911
47½ cwt 34 inA# Llewellins & James 1911
510½ cwt 38 inG# Worcester Foundry c.1400
614¾ cwt 43 inF# William Purdue III 1669

Source: Inspected personally and diameters measured 26th April 2006. Weights estimated personally. Other bell data confirmed by Nick Bowden.

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.