Local Tower Information

Wotton-under-Edge Branch

Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association

St James, Charfield - click for a larger versionSt James, Charfield

Gloucestershire

ST719911

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Unringable; the bell is chimed with an Ellacombe hammer from the ground floor. It is hung with an elm headstock on plain bearings in an oak two-bell frame that was probably constructed in 1722, apparently using parts from the Medieval three-bell frame it replaced. The bell was cast with canons but these have been removed, probably in 1722, and its wheel and stay are missing, however an iron pendulum slider remains attached to the frame.

The church originally had three bells, but in 1722 the two smallest were recast into one larger bell as they were cracked. The resultant ring of two survived until 1882 when the new church of St John the Evangelist (ST719921) was built to replace St James, and the treble was transferred here where it remains hung for swing-chiming. This bell was cast in the 15th Century by Robert Hendley of Gloucester, has a diameter of 33¾ inches and therefore weighs approximately 6½ cwt. Its strike note is slightly sharp of B natural. The remaining tenor at St James shows no sign of ever being tuned, so it is unlikely the treble was either.

The Ellacombe hammer operates through the treble's pit, so it probably wasn't installed until after 1882. There is evidence of a former floor between the ground floor of the tower and the belfry, however it is not known which floor housed the Ringing Room.

The bells of St James, Charfield
BellWeightDiameterNoteFounder Date
115½ cwt 45¼ inF Abraham Rudhall II 1722

Source: Details of both bells from "Church Bells of Gloucestershire" (Mary Bliss & Frederick Sharpe, 1986); weight of former treble estimated personally. Inspected personally and strike note recorded 21st January 2006.


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.