Woodford Halse Archive

St Mary’s rear view
St Mary’s Rear View

Woodford Buildings

St Mary’s

Bells are not mentioned in the report either, when they were first hung is not known, but a book entitled The Bells of Northamptonshire mentions that in 1552 there were four bells in the tower with letters of the alphabet inscribed on them, and in addition, there was a sanctus bell and a pancake bell. What happened to the last two is not known as only four were mentioned when the tower was in danger in 1876. Another bell was added in 1909.

In 1975 it was decided to renew the bell frame and to have the bells retuned and so, in August, 1975 the bells were brought down and sent to Loughborough for retuning. They were returned in March, 1977, four of them bear the date 1613 and the fifth bears the date 1909. The bells of 1613 are thought to be unique in that they are the only ring of four alphabet bells in the County and are said to have been cast by Hugh Watts of Leicester.

Whether that is so or not, is open to question, as the churchwardens’ accounts for 1609 show that a bell was taken to Buckingham and recast, metal being added, and there are nine consecutive entries of payments being made. This seems to be conclusive evidence that a bell was cast in 1609 and yet all four bells bear the date 1613. What happened will never be known as the rest of the churchwardens’ accounts were missing over one hundred years ago. Now that the bells have been rehung there are six instead of five, a treble bell having been added, given by Mrs. Edith Bird. In addition, there is a sanctus bell given by Mrs. Marjorie Bowes.

By kind permission of Woodford Halse Archive