Brightwell Baldwin



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Parish church

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The tower of St Bartholomew, which was rebuilt in the 15th century. It was again restored in 1911, with the foundations being dug out and strengthened with cement, inside and out refaced with Gibraltar stone, and new turret steps, belfry door and oak roof installed. At the time of the restoration a clock was also installed, and it is interesting to note that ever since its installation it has been wound up weekly and looked after by three generations of the Gammon family of Glebe Farm.

It was recorded in 1553 that there were three bells in the steple and onn sanctus belle. When the tower was restored in 1911 the number of bells was increased and in addition to the sanctus bell there are now six.

Treble - 3 cwt. 3 qrs. 15 lbs.
Second - 4 cwt. 1 qr. 26 lbs.
Third - 5 cwt. 0 qr. 21 lbs.

Fourth - 5 cwt. 2 qrs. 15 lbs.
Fifth - 7 cwt. 2 qrs. 1 lb.
Tenor - 9 cwt. 0 qr. 7 lbs.
Sanctus - 1 cwt.

The first four are inscribed Mears & Steinbeck. Founders London 1911, and have the Whitechapel foundary mark. The fourth has in addition We praise three O Lord. 1911. The fifth, which was the original treble, is inscribed Feare Godx637 and was by Ellis Knight I. The tenor, which was the old second, is inscribed * sancta * maria * ls and was by John Saunders.

The original tenor, which weighed over 11 cwts., and had been cast at the Wokingham foundry, was inscribed Sancta Maria Ora Pro Nobis. It was melted down when the new bells were cast.

That the bells have been in regular use is proved by the many entries for their maintenance in the churchwardens' accounts. Payments for new ropes are the most frequent, but there are also expenses for work on the metal and woodwork. The bells used to be rung annually on Gunpowder Treason and Coronation days, for which the ringerse were paid 2/6 on each occasion. In 1714 the ringers were paid 5/- for ringing when we heard ye King was comin'. Parishes could be fined for not ringing when the Sovereign was in the district and probably, on this occasion, William III was on his way to or from Oxford.

Parish church

Parish church

Parish church

Parish church

Parish church