The Bells of All Saints' Church

The church history goes back as far as the 1100's and was under the patronage of Ellesham in the County of Lincolnshire for some 300 years.


The first known rector was Robert de Stretton in 1229. In 1559 The Queens Commissioners to Southwell reported, "at Winthorpe the Chancel was uncovered" (had no roof).

By 1638 at the Archbishop's visitation, the church was in an even worse state. From 1628 to 1635 there was recorded two Rectors. In Brewer's Will 1616, the churchwardens were mentioned. In Stephen Grosy's Will 1612, 12 pence each for six ringers.

Then the ruin of 1638. What happened?

In 1886 a new building was started and completed ready for consecration in 1888. There were only three bells in the old church. In 1887, Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Branston provided a gift of two new bells.

No 2 Bell renovated and replaced.As part of the re-building project, Warners of London were employed to remove the canon from the 1630 George Oldfield Tenor Bell, and recast the two smaller bells plus the two additional bells gifted by Mr. and Mrs. Branston. They also re-hung all five bells with what were the latest fittings on timberhead stocks and plain bearings. 

In 1906 John Taylor & Co of Loughborough cast a new treble bell which was hung by Whites of Appleton in a new separate single bell frame above the previously provided five bell frame making a peal of six bells.

There is also a hand carousel fitted to facilitate all six bells being rung by one person. Other than intermittent routine maintenance little in the way of major restoration work was done for 115 years.

For some 30 years prior to the millennium the church bells were rarely rung and only then by visiting bands for weddings and special occasions. At the millennium a group of interested parishioners got together and decided to start a band and hopefully ring in the millennium. With six novice ringers this proved impracticable but the millennium was chimed in.

In the year 2000 with help from The Balderton Ringers and dedicated application the band learned to take the bells up and ring correctly.

"So the Band was born"

A new member from Coddington, Mr G. Wells, joined as mentor, who persevered and made good progress. By 2002 a band of total novices were able to call change and hunt with a fair degree of competence.

Due to an unfortunate accident in September 2001 the second bell jumped from its housing, whilst being raised for full circle ringing, resulting in extensive damage to the bell wheel. The short-term solution was simply to repair and replace the wheel.

Professional advice was sought from Hayward Mills Bell Founders.

Tower Captain Keith Lloyd watching the tuning of a bell at John Taylor's Foundary.The total cost of a major restoration project would be in the region of £25,000. The PCC in conjunction with the Tower Band decided rather than a minor repair, to embark upon a proposed major restoration of the bells by re-hanging the number two bell with new fittings including metal headstock, ball bearings and replacement bell wheel in the existing frame. The project was then to continue by restoring and re-hanging the remaining five bells.

Believing that nothing should be wasted the wheels for the bell rope were acquired by the owners of the walled garden just south of the church, and were cut in half to create the top of a rose arch in the garden. It is proposed to utilise the remaining wheels to create other arches in the garden. The wheel shown was off the Tenor bell, which dates from 1630, although the bell rope wheels were not fitted until 1887.






Fund raising was to be co-ordinated by the Tower Band. Management of the fund would be by the PCC Treasurer.

Winthorpe Church donated £2,800 to get the fund moving and the Tower Band donated £300.

Bell Ringer Andrew Jackson looking through the wheel of No. 5 Bell.In order to reduce the costs certain actions were agreed:

1.        Removal and re-hanging of the bells would be carried  out solely under the guidance of G. Wells.

2.       Transport to and from the Foundry would be provided solely by H. Bell Trading, Grantham.

3.       Insurance and some financial assistance by Southwell Guild of Church Bell Ringers Bell Repair Fund.

4.       Unskilled labour would be provided by the Tower Band.

In the year 2002 Number Two Bell was repaired, restored and re-hung.

February 2003 saw number six tenor bell and number four bed removed and transported to Hayward Mills foundry for restoration and retune.




Arch fabrication from the two halves of No. 6 Bell in Steve Jackson's garden.By 2003 a total of £11,018 had been raised this was achieved by:

  • Church donations.
  •  Villager's donations.
  • Community activities, concerts, fetes etc.
  • Charitable donations.

The project is on-going, it is anticipated that number three Bell will be restored in 2003 which would be a total of four bells restored, new access ladders fitted together with new tower electricity and heating.




A brick tower and spire over the north porch containing a ring of 6 bells.

Treble         1.     JOHN TAYLOR & CO., LOUGHBOROUGH
                           C.W.H. GRIFFITH
                           1906                                                  Dia.   24"  3cwt 2qtrs 2lbs

                   2.     JOHN WARNER & SONS LONDON 1887

                           B.M.B. 1887
                           IN TERRA PAX                                 Dia.   26.25"    c 3.5cwt

                          "Peace on earth"

                   3.     JOHN WARNER & SONS LONDON 1887

                                                                                      Dia. 27.5"        c 4cwt

                   4.     Recast by JOHN WARNER & SONS LONDON 1887
                           IHESUS BE OURE SPEDE         Dia. 28.5"        c 4.5cwt

                          "Jesus be our speed or savour."

                   5.     Recast by JOHN WARNER & SONS LONDON 1661
                           GOD SAVE HIS CHURCH 1661    Dia.  31"         c 5.5cwt

Tenor          6.   GEORGE I OLDFIELD LONDON 1630

                           GOD SAVE THE CHURCH             Dia.  36.75"      c 7cwt (note B)


The inscriptions on the bells is in Latin and English and is in blue.

The translation is underneath in italics.

C - circa - about. 

The back five bells were hung in a wooden frame by Warners in 1887 when they recast the two trebles of the old three and augmented the bells. The tenor is by George I Oldfleld and has lost its canons. The treble was provided by Taylors to Whites of Appleton who hung the bell on a separate wooden frame above the rest.

1552 Inventory of Church goods                    - no mention
1740 Cole Manuscripts, British Museum     - 3 bells

From "Church Bells of Nottinghamshire" George A. Dawson 1995





The bells re-tuned and re-hung with new fittings in the existing bell frame. The work was carried out in stages, as funds permitted with new weights after retuning.

Bell                                    Founder                                                                      Date             Weights

                                                                                                              cwt   qrts   lbs

Treble         John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough                    1906        3       2    20

2                  John Warner & Sons of London                          1887        3       2      8

3                  John Warner & Sons of London                          1887         3       3    23

4                  John Warner & Sons of London                          1887         4       1     23

5                  John Warner & Sons of London                          1887         5       0     20

Tenor          George Oldfield I of Nottingham                           1630          6       3      2

                    The peal is tuned to the key of B (960 Hz)




The team of Winthorpe Bell Ringers are L. to R. Mike Casterton, Treasurer. Chris Hewitt. Andrew Lowe. Keith Lloyd, Tower Captain. Ian Hasman. Mike Lawrence.K. J. Lloyd           -          Tower Captain

M. Casterton       -          Treasurer

I. Hasman           -          Steeple


M. Lawrence

S. Perkins

A. Jackson

A. Lowe

J. Lawrence

C. Hewitt             -          University

C. Wells              -          (Mentor) Coddington





            2hrs 2mins                   A peal of 5040 Grandsire Doubles was rung to 

            5th Oct. 1950.              commemorate the wedding anniversary of Clarence Briggs.


           2hrs 40mins                 Grandsire Doubles were rung to commemorate 

           30th Nov. 1950.            the birthday of Henry J. Cloxton, Tower Captain.


          2hrs 47mins                   Grandsire Doubles.

          1st March 1952.


          2hrs 32mins                   A peal 5040 Plain Bob Minor.

          13th March 1954.


          2hrs 40mins                   A peal 5040 All Saints Doubles.

          2nd Sept. 1954.


          2hrs 37mins                   A peal 5040 Plain Bob Minor was rung half muffled in memory

          7th Jan. 1956.                of Dr. C. Garbett, Archdeacon of York, died 31st Dec. 1955.


          1999 - 2000                   The millennium was chimed in.


          2000 -2001                   The millennium was rung out full circle ringing.


         June 2002                     The Golden Jubilee Celebrations were enhanced by Plain Hunt on six bells and full circle ringing.




Bell Rope at Rest. Project complete.At 6.15pm on Sunday 6th June 2004 there was a service at All Saints B.V.M. (Blessed Virgin Mary) Church, Winthorpe attended by 60 members to rededicate Nos. 1, 3 and 5 bells and thanksgiving for the completion of the project in renovating, retuning and replacing the headstocks with modern roller bearings of the six bells. This was last being carried out in 1887, some 117 years ago. Following the service tea and refreshments were served and a quarter peal was rung.

The project took two years to raise the funding and complete the project. This was only possible by the generosity of

  • WREN LANDFILL via HISTORIC CHURCHES TRUST who donated £5000 towards the cost.
  • SMITHS TIMBER, Newark.
  • ROGER who donated materials to ease the work.
  • HENRY BELLS TRADERS of Grantham who provided transport of the bells.
  • HAYWARD MILLS, Bell FOUNDERS who not only carried out the work on all six bells but loaned us the special equipment to carry out the removal and reinstallation.
  • The villagers of Winthorpe.
  • Our friends and supporters from other areas.
  • The PCC of All Saints' Church.
  • The assistance of members of the Bell Repair Fund Committee.
  • Southwell Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers especially Geoff Wells who lead the workforce, aged between 14years and 72years for which we are extremely grateful.

Hopefully the bells will continue for another 100 years.

Thank you for all your help and support.

K.J. Lloyd, Tower Captain. February 2004



Further readings can be found in  

        All Saints' Church in Volume 1.

        Winthorpe Church - Property - 1764 in Volume 4.

        Consecration of All Saints' Church, Winthorpe in Volume 4. 

        The Churches at Winthorpe in Volume 4.

        Winthorpe Church Windows in Volume 4.

        Stained Glass Windows in All Saints' Church in Volume 4.

        Memorials In All Saints' Church in Volume 4.

        All Saints' Church Bells, Winthorpe in Volume 4