Local Tower Information

Wotton-under-Edge Branch

Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association

St Leonard, Tortworth - click for a larger versionSt Leonard, Tortworth



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The bells are hung with cast iron headstocks in a 19th Century oak frame. Upon the frame is painted "A. JENNINGS 1959", which almost certainly dates from when John Taylor & Co. rehung the bells with new fittings and installed the Ellacombe Chiming Apparatus in the Ringing Room. The frame itself probably dates from 1872 when the top 30 feet of the 15th Century tower was rebuilt with new materials, at a time when much of the church was either restored or rebuilt. The pit of the tenor has been cut away to allow the passage of the wheel and clapper. The fourth bell was cast without canons; the other five bells have had theirs removed, possibly by Taylors in 1959.

The Medieval fifth is an exceedingly fine bell, probably cast by John Gosselin around 1420-1450. In the early 2000s it became cracked in the lip, and on removal the crown was also found to be in a bad way as the bell had been quarter turned before. Both the crack and the crown were successfully repaired at Soundweld in August 2002.

The bells of St Leonard, Tortworth
BellWeightDiameterNoteFounder Date
14-3-01 28½ inE John Taylor & Co. 1871
25-1-15 30½ inD John Taylor & Co. 1871
35-2-09 31 inC Jefferies & Price 1850
48-1-09 34½ inB John Taylor & Co. 1883
59-0-20 37¼ inA Bristol Foundry C15th
612-2-25 41¾ inG Jefferies & Price 1850

Source: "Church Bells of Gloucestershire" (Mary Bliss & Frederick Sharpe, 1986). Weights from Nick Bowden. Details of repairs to the fifth bell from a display in Tortworth Ringing Room.

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.