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Bristol Rural Branch
Tytherington (St James the Greater)

St James the Greater, Tytherington

Name or Dedication: St James the Greater

Location: Tytherington, Gloucestershire

Grid Reference: ST669883

This tower originally held a ring of five, hung in the oak five-bell frame that still houses the five heaviest bells today. In 1881 Ellacombe records the previous treble of this ring of five (28 inch diameter) as cast by Richard Purdue II in 1669, though it may in fact have been cast by Roger Purdue II. He also records this bell as "cracked". The previous fourth of five (35 inch diameter) was cast in 1626, probably by Roger Purdue I. Both of these bells were recast in 1884 by Llewellins & James who probably rehung all the bells with new fittings. The bearings were later renewed by Mears & Stainbank. Although often given as 12-0-18, the exact weight of the tenor has never been ascertained, and the bell itself is too small to be so heavy.

The bells were rehung again on ball bearings and the ring augmented to six by John Taylor & Co. in 1959 with the addition of a new treble, which was suspended above the original frame on two parallel rolled steel joists and hung with a cast iron headstock and a Hastings stay. The back five bells still have their conventional stays and sliders. The Ringing Room gallery was probably also installed at this time, accessed through a trapdoor via a ladder from the ground floor. However, in 2000 a new doorway was created from the tower's spiral staircase, allowing for the installation of a toilet and small kitchen in the ground floor.

The original 16th Century clock was replaced with the present movement in 1947, in memory of the four parishioners who gave their lives in World War II. Residing in the chamber above the Ringing Room, it is weight-driven and still hand-wound, the weights dropping to the ground floor. It strikes the hours on the tenor and its dial is on the south wall of the tower.

Bells hung for full-circle ringing

The bells of St James the Greater, Tytherington
BellWeightDiameterNoteFounder Date
13-1-15 25½ inE John Taylor & Co. 1959
24 cwt 28 inD Llewellins & James 1884
34½ cwt 29½ inC Roger Purdue I 1617
45 cwt 31 inB Roger Purdue I 1617
56 cwt 33½ inA Llewellins & James 1884
69¾ cwt 37 inG John Rudhall 1790

Source: Bell data and information from "Church Bells of Gloucestershire" (Mary Bliss & Frederick Sharpe, 1986). Treble weight from Taylors' job book, extracted by Christopher J. Pickford. All other weights from Andrew Bull, calculated using the bells' diameters.

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.