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South Marston Tower Bells – A Brief History
The current peal of six bells were installed in 1926 by Mears and Stainbank of Whitechapel, London. Bells 1 to 5 were cast by them that year whilst the tenor (heaviest) bell was retained from the previous ring of three bells. The tenor bell weighs about 2/3 of a tonne. The fifth bell has the following inscription:
TO THE GLORY OF GOD
THESE BELLS WERE AUGMENTED FROM 3 TO 6 BY SUBSCRIPTIONS FROM THE PARISHIONERS & FRIENDS, ASSISTED BY THE REV: A. MACDONALD THE FORMER VICAR OF THIS PARISH.
FRANCIS GEORGE VERNON ILES, VICAR
JOHN JAMES SANSUM. CHURCHWARDENS
The sixth / tenor bell was cast in 1616 by the founder John Wallis and bears the following inscription:
BE JOYFUL IN THE LORD
One other bell hangs in the tower. It is hung ‘dead’, which means it is not hung for ‘full circle’ ringing, but can still be rung with a chiming hammer. This bell was cast in about 1470 by Robert Hendley and was also one of the three bells that hung in the tower prior to 1926.