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Wotton-under-Edge Branch
North Nibley (St Martin of Tours)

St Martin of Tours, North Nibley - click for a larger version

Name or Dedication: St Martin of Tours

Location: North Nibley, Gloucestershire

Grid Reference: ST735961

A ring of six bells in Ab was cast with canons by Abraham Rudhall II in 1726. They had their canons removed and were rehung with elm headstocks on plain bearings, in a new cast iron frame on oak sills in the late 19th Century, possibly by Mears & Stainbank between 1865 and 1895 as they have prepared a document detailing the bells. However, John Warner & Sons recast the fourth bell (previously 7 cwt, diameter 34 inches) with a Doncaster crown in 1896, so they might also have rehung the bells.

In May 1997 a small Sanctus bell was given by Father David Smith, Curate, and hung for swing-chiming in the bellcote above the chancel arch. Its rope hangs alongside the northern pillar of the arch.

The bells were rehung again in the same frame but with all new fittings, including steel box-section headstocks and ball bearings, by Whites of Appleton in 1999. Whites also retuned the ring to G, drilled out the remains of the bells' cast-in crown staples and repaired a crack in the second bell. This was a problem apparently not spotted by John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd when they were asked to submit a quote, although they did suggest recasting the Warner fourth bell.

Also at this time the old clock hammers were removed, having previously been operated by a flatbed movement made by Smith of Derby in 1896. This clock played Cambridge Chimes and struck the hours on the tenor, but both the chiming and the striking had been out of action for some years. The hour is now struck on the fifth by an electromagnetic hammer, triggered by a radio-controlled electronic clock in the Ringing Room, however the clock dial on the east wall of the tower (refurbished and regilded for the Millennium) is still driven by the original movement in the room above.

The going train of the clock was initially converted to electric winding in 1990 in memory of Arnold T. Stephens who died that year, but a new epicyclic winding motor was installed by The Cumbria Clock Company in 2001. The original weight is still used, those of the chiming and striking trains now laying on the ground outside the west door of the tower. All three weights originally dropped to the ground floor, but the remaining one now stops above the Clock Chamber floor. A new gallery was also installed in 2001, the Ringing Room being moved here from its original position on the ground floor of the tower.

Bells hung for full-circle ringing

The bells of St Martin of Tours, North Nibley
BellWeightDiameterNoteFounder Date
14-3-07 28 inE Abraham Rudhall II 1726
24-3-25 29½ inD Abraham Rudhall II 1726
35-3-03 31½ inC Abraham Rudhall II 1726
46-0-16 32¼ inB John Warner & Sons 1896
57-2-06 35½ inA Abraham Rudhall II 1726
69-2-25 38¾ inG Abraham Rudhall II 1726

Source: Bell data from a document in North Nibley Ringing Room prepared by Whites of Appleton in 1999. Details of previous fourth from a document in North Nibley Ringing Room prepared by Mears & Stainbank, probably between 1865 and 1895. Further information from a church history booklet prepared by Gloria Gomm in 2001. Clock inspected personally 7th July 2006.

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.