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THE HISTORY OF CHILDWALL

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In 1517, we hear of three new bells being hung in the tower having been made by Richard Seliock of Nottingham. The great bell (518lbs),  the lesser bell (417lbs) and Mr. Norriss bell (41lbs).This is the first reference we have to the presence of bells, and after this time they appear quite frequently in the Accounts: In 1552 there were only 2 bells, one having been sold in the meantime to John Plummer of Chester, but by 1589 the number was once again restored to three.

 

In 1593, Wardens and bellfounders spent two days and two nights at the church, consuming a pound of candles. Some of the bell metal was broken and the repairs cost 3-12-6d. In 1603, more recasting, this time costing 10-2-8d. In 1635, A meeting of the parishioners ordered that "he that keepeth the clock and ringeth curfewe shall have XIId per annum for his paynes: and also the ringers VIs. VIIId. Per annum to ring every Sonday in this manner following: to witt, the sexten one peale att seaven of the clock, the clark and sexten another peale att eight of the clock, and the clark, sexten, and other ringers another peale att nyne of the clock" In 1639, A new bell purchased from the Chapel-Warden of Liverpool for 10s.

 

In the seventeenth century records there are numerous references to the repair of the bells, and in 1666 we that the ringers rang with such vigour at the celebration attending the Restoration of Charles II that the treble bell burst and had to be re-cast. In 1680, Two bells recast but were not found satisfactory and a musition from Liverpool was paid 2s to give his judgement and censure of the bells. Apparently the little bell was out of tune as it had to be taken down and recast. It was rehung twice and rung, but not approved.

 

When the new cast bells had been drawn up in to the steeple, the Huyton ringers were, as usual, called in to test them but the peal was not found satisfactory and the wardens referred the matter to a lawyer to put on a suit against the bellfounder. The proceedings were however not gone on with as apparently after the third attempt by the bellfounder to recast the bell it was finally approved.

 

Three shillings and three pence was spent when Edward Markland of Wigan, and another came to Childwall and "we did consummate the bargaine with them about the bell and it was knoct in peeces." More trouble followed when one of the Wardens went to Wigan to see the bell re-cast the "mettall" did run upon the workmen. Another visit was necessary to see the bell broke out of the mould and weighed.  Markland was paid 7 1s. 5d for the casting and over-weight, and gave a bond for security of the bell. Something however went wrong, as 1s. 4d. was spent upon the Huyton ringers when they came to try if they could mend the first bell in its ringing. In 1691, Bells rung for three hours the day Queen Mary was interred. In 1714, Bells rung on receiving the news that King George had arrived in England. On a board in the church is the following statement, which refers to the new bells:

 

At the request of the Inhabitants of Childwall Parish ye Lady Dowager Gerard, of Garswood, gave ten guineas, part thereof for erecting this seat for ye use of the churchwardens, and ye surplus towards erecting five new bells hung in ye steeple of this church in the year of our Lord 1722. The number of bells was brought to five in 1722 when a new one was added and the other four recast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester. The sixth bell was bought from Shrewsbury in 1751. This peal of six bells remained in use until 1912 when they were once again recast, this time by John Warner and Sons of Spitalfields at the cost of about 100. At this time too, the old oak frame supporting the bells in the tower was replaced by a steel structure which was fixed clear of the walls to prevent any damage to the tower. Each of the bells bears an inscription and, in the case of the four oldest bells, the initials of Abraham Rudhall, the Gloucester founder who re-cast the bells in 1722.

 

The inscriptions are as follows:

 

Treble       :Wm, Brown, late (Warden). Jn. Whitfield, Jos. Grace. Ch. Wardens, 1751. A.R.

 

2nd          : Peace and good neighbourhood. A.R.

 

3rd           : Prosperity to this Parish. A.R.

 

4th           : Prosperity to the Church of England. A.R.

 

5th           : God Bless King George and Queen Mary. H. E. Abbot, J. G. Rishton, Wardens.

 

Tenor       :  I to the Church the living call, And to the Grave do summon all. 1772.

 

The bells have a total weight of 45 cwts, 3 qrs, 26 lbs. n 1953, All bells rehung with new bearings by Messrs. Gillet & Johnson, Croydon. To date there have been 17 peals on these recast bells.

"In 1635, A meeting of the parishioners ordered that "he that keepeth the clock and ringeth curfewe shall have XIId per annum for his paynes: and also the ringers VIs. VIIId. Per annum to ring every Sonday in this manner."  Three shillings and three pence was spent when Edward Markland of Wigan, and another came to Childwall and "we did consummate the bargaine with them about the bell and it was knoct in peeces." At the request of the Inhabitants of Childwall Parish ye Lady Dowager Gerard, of Garswood, gave ten guineas, part thereof for erecting this seat for ye use of the churchwardens, and ye surplus towards erecting five new bells hung in ye steeple of this church in the year of our Lord 1722.

There have been bells in this tower (and previous tower) for almost five hundred years, and while Childwall has a ring of 6 bells now, it was a slightly different story a few hundred years ago. The new tower was to completed the same in fifteen months according to the elevation and plan. The cost was to be £1750! The new building occupied the same site as the old, with the exception that the new West wall was a few feet west of the position of the old one. New foundations were sunk to a depth of six feet and when the new walls rose about ground level, they were made five feet thick, of new stone on the outside, faced inside with stones from the old tower.

 

If for to ring a man comes here;

Ringing facred; its Laws revere;

Thefe ringing Laws muft be well ufd;

That ringers may not be abufd;

If ringer wears his fpur or hat;

One quart of ale he pays for that;

If while he rings, his bell oerthrow;

Sixpence he Pays before he go;

But if hes heard to fwear or curfe;

Demands One Shilling of his Purfe;

If to thefe Laws he does conform;

The ringers part he may Perform.

Past and Present Tower

The Clock Chamber

The Ringing Chamber

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