Lost Rings

Bristol Branch

Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association

St Andrew, Clifton



This church is first mentioned in 1154, albeit possibly in a different place to its successors. The second parish church of Clifton was on the present site by the middle of 1278, although its tower was probably not added until the 15th Century. This building suffered badly in the Civil War in 1643, and all except the tower was rebuilt in 1654 because of dilapidation. It was enlarged in with a north aisle in 1716 and a south aisle in 1768. Matthew's Directory of 1793-4 records "two bells", both of which were transferred to the larger replacement church that was built to the north of the old one in 1819-22. The material of the old church was buried in a quarry.

The new church had a three-stage tower at the west end with louvres in the upper two stages, and clock dials in at least the west and south sets of louvres in the top stage. The nave had a gallery around three sides, accessed via staircases flanking the tower, and the Ringing Room was open to the western end.

The largest of the two bells was recast in 1838 by Jefferies & Price, the new bell weighing 13 cwt (diameter 42¼ inches, note F), and in 1868 it became the tenor to a ring of eight cast by Robert Stainbank, all of which were hung in a frame built by Thomas Hale of Redcliffe, Bristol. The smaller second bell from the previous church (a ting-tang for the clock) was removed at this time. An Ellacombe Chiming Apparatus was installed in the Ringing Room in about 1884, and the bells were all rehung in a new oak frame and with mostly new fittings by Llewellins & James in 1905.

The seven bells by Robert Stainbank were cast with canons, and when cast weighed (1) 4-0-11, (2) 4-0-25, (3) 4-2-23, (4) 5-0-16, (5) 6-0-11, (6) 7-0-10, and (7) 9-1-06. They had their canons removed in 1936 when the bells were restored and the tenor recast by Mears & Stainbank. A few years later they were silenced for World War II, and thanks to an incendiary bomb on the evening of 24th November 1940 (ironically the day before St Andrew's Day) they were never rung again.

The parish was combined with Christ Church in 1951, Christ Church becoming the new parish church, and the body of St Andrew was demolished and the bells sold for scrap in 1953. It had been hoped to retain the tower, but it was found to be unsafe and demolished in 1954. The very base of the walls survive in part, and the outline of the Medieval church is now marked by hedging.

The bells of St Andrew, Clifton
BellWeightDiameterNoteFounder Date
13-3-01 25¾ inF Robert Stainbank 1868
23-3-20 26¼ inE Robert Stainbank 1868
34-2-04 28 inD Robert Stainbank 1868
44-2-27 29½ inC Robert Stainbank 1868
55-2-11 32 inBb Robert Stainbank 1868
66-2-01 34 inA Robert Stainbank 1868
78-2-15 37½ inG Robert Stainbank 1868
811-3-26 41 inF Mears & Stainbank 1936

Source: All from The Ringing World 4368 (pages 29, 30 & 36), ChurchCrawler (Phil M. Draper), and About Bristol.

Where a bell's exact weight 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.