The Bells at Clive Church


On September 22nd 1894, a peal of bells was installed in the Tower having been ordered in November 1892 from the John Taylor Bell Factory of Loughborough.  Their original invoice outlines the individual charges made for the casting, supply and fitting of this new ring at a total cost of £1,432.18s.7d.

The timing of the order proved most opportune as the Taylor Company were in the process of experimenting with different bell shapes in order to define and rediscover “the lost art of true harmonic tuning” and had agreed upon the ideal dome-shaped design to ensure the highest quality of sound.  It is a design that remains the favoured option even today.  All the bells hang from a cast iron headstock and within a single ‘Pitchford’ framework comprising three large oak beams supported on two pairs of twin steel R.S.Js.

The collective weight requiring support has been calculated as in excess of 81 hundredweight or over 4 tons, and this set is currently ranked as the eleventh heaviest peal of six in the world, this standing calculated according to the weight of the large Tenor bell which alone weighs over 25 hundredweight. Transported by railway from Loughborough, the carriage to Yorton station and up to the church was charged at £23.

The Bell TowerEach bell is individually decorated with a variety of images: human faces, animals and foliage; whilst Summercoates lettering has been used to inscribe the names of all seven of James and Sarah’s children.  A Latin inscription, taken from Ecclesiasticus. 3:15 is also included on the bells: “Unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”

The ringing room is an elegantly proportioned space popular with nationwide teams of bellringers who regularly visit to experience the renowned quality of these bells.  A wall-mounted Ellacombe chiming system, featuring six pull strings on a rack that allows a single operator to chime the bells, has a set of early-type hammers. In 1911 this system was renovated by Jim Good when all the ropes were replaced; and a memorial plaque was added: ‘In memory of Bill Gethin’,  a past Captain of the bells.


A Restoration Appeal was launched in 2014 to raise the funds to overhaul and preserve the bells of Clive Church for future generations.  Following a grant of £14,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a further £500 received from the Shropshire Council Joint Committee and £350 donated by Clive Parish Council, work was commenced in July 2014.  The restoration, carried out by the original installers – the John Taylor Foundry of Loughborough – and assisted by a team of local volunteers, was completed by August.

Throughout time the bells of Clive Church have been rung in celebration: to welcome military victories from the Armada through to Waterloo; for both major World Wars; and annually on Armistice Day to continue to remember the sacrifices made by local villagers.  In the past few years the Millennium (2000), the Diamond Jubilee (2012) and the opening of the London Olympics (2012) have all been celebrated with a full peal.  With the current restoration work, it is hoped that our bells will continue throughout the next century to ‘Ring out the False.  Ring in the True’.