Local Tower Information

Wotton-under-Edge Branch

Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association

St Mary, Yate - click for a larger versionSt Mary, Yate



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The present tower was probably built in the latter years of the 15th Century, and replaced a dry-stone tower at the east end of the north aisle. This presumably collapsed, most likely due to the weight of the bells, and only part of its staircase now remains. At least the fourth and fifth of the present six bells were originally hung in this tower. The third bell was given by Robert Stanshaw, who was Lord of the Manor of Yate in 1473. His family gave its name to Stanshawes Court in Yate, which in 1723 was home to Richard Stokes who gave the treble bell.

All six bells were cast with canons and originally hung in an oak frame, of which just one foundation beam now remains. They were rehung lower in the tower in a new cast iron frame with new fittings in 1931 by Gillett & Johnston, who also removed all the bells' canons. The bearings were renewed by sub-contractors to Whitechapel in around 2000 but the work was inferior and the bells were more difficult to ring as a result. The problems gradually worsened until the tenor was virtually unringable, so Whitechapel returned in 2009 and rectified the previous work free of charge.

There is a derelict Ellacombe Chiming Apparatus in the Ringing Room. A small Sanctus bell, weighing 0-2-07 and sounded electrically, is hung dead in a bellcote above the chancel arch.

The bells of St Mary, Yate
BellWeightDiameterNoteFounder Date
17-1-02 33 inC Abraham Rudhall II 1723
27-1-10 34¼ inBb Bristol Foundry c.1480
39-1-05 38¼ inAb Bristol Foundry c.1450
414-0-03 43 inG Bristol Foundry c.1450
516-3-06 46¼ inF Robert Wiseman 1600
620-0-25 50 inEb Thomas Rudhall 1765

Source: Bell data from Nick Bowden, with diameters measured personally 25th January 2006. Further information from Barrie Fletcher, "The Church Bells of Gloucestershire" (Revd Henry Thomas Ellacombe, 1881), the Yate and Chipping Sodbury Guide website, and a document in Yate Ringing Room prepared by Gillett & Johnston in 1931.

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.