The Bells

Ring In The True

Invoice for Bells at Clive ChurchOn September 22nd 1894, a peal of bells was installed in the Tower having been ordered in November 1892 from the John Taylor Bell Factory of Loughborough.  Their original invoice outlines the individual charges made for the casting, supply and fitting of this new ring at a total cost of £1,432.18s.7d.

The timing of the order proved most opportune as the Taylor Company were in the process of experimenting with different bell shapes in order to define and rediscover “the lost art of true harmonic tuning” and had agreed upon the ideal dome-shaped design to ensure the highest quality of sound.  It is a design that remains the favoured option even today.  All the bells hang from a cast iron headstock and within a single ‘Pitchford’ framework comprising three large oak beams supported on two pairs of twin steel R.S.Js.

The collective weight requiring support has been calculated as in excess of 81 hundredweight or over 4 tons, and this set is currently ranked as the eleventh heaviest peal of six in the world, this standing calculated according to the weight of the large Tenor bell which alone weighs over 25 hundredweight. Transported by railway from Loughborough, the carriage to Yorton station and up to the church was charged at £23.

The Bell Tower

Each bell is individually decorated with a variety of images: human faces, animals and foliage; whilst Summercoates lettering has been used to inscribe the names of all seven of James and Sarah’s children.  A Latin inscription, taken from Ecclesiasticus. 3:15 is also included on the bells: “Unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”

Specifications of the Six Bells

Bell Weight[cwt] Note Diameter Latin Dedication Born
1 6-3-25 C 32.25" AD PARTEM FRANK 1857
Treble (304.25 kg)   (818 mm)      
2 8-2-23 Bb 35.00" DOMINI JAMES 1852
  (406.4 kg)   (889 mm) NOSTRI THOMAS COOK 1854
3 11-0-9 Ab 38.50" JESU AGNES JESSIE 1849
  (558.8 kg)   (978 mm) CHRISTI GERTRUDE 1850
4 12-2-16 G 40.50" EX QUO FRANCES 1845
  (609.6 kg)   (1029 mm) NOMINATUR SARA[H] 1849
5 17-0-16 F 45.50" IN COELIS ET SARAH 1818
  (836.6 kg)   (1156 mm) IN TERRA    
6 25-0-9 Eb 51.50" OMNIS


TENOR (1270.05 kg)   (1308 mm) PATERNITAS   1813
      On Waist: FECIT A.D. 1894 JOHANNES TAYLOR  

The ringing room is an elegantly proportioned space popular with nationwide teams of bellringers who regularly visit to experience the renowned quality of these bells.  A wall-mounted Ellacombe chiming system, featuring six pull strings on a rack that allows a single operator to chime the bells, has a set of early-type hammers. In 1911 this system was renovated by Jim Good when all the ropes were replaced; and a memorial plaque was added: ‘In memory of Bill Gethin’,  a past Captain of the bells.

Ellacombe Chiming System

Bell Captains of the Clive Tower. 1962 – Present

1962-1971 George Ruscoe
1972-1976 Francis Hollis
1977-1982 Bill Gethin
1982-2004 Jim Good
2005-2009 Iain Coull
2009 - Present Gareth Jones

Church Clock

Winding the clock up at Clive Church

Ferguson’s original designs featured a sundial on the south face, but thankfully this was replaced in the final build in 1894 by the two clock faces supplied by Joyce and Co of Whitchurch. The specification is a flat-bed Westminster with an hourly striking movement and a three pendulum action. Interestingly the clock is still maintained today by Smiths of Derby, the firm that took over Joyce’s. Before any bell ringing can commence, the hammers that chime the quarter hours and the full hours of the church clock must be raised clear of the bells. 

The clock is powered by a set of three weights that are accessed via the small North door at the foot of the tower, and viewed prior to the weekly winding process.  A clutch mechanism is loosened

in the ringing room to halt the movement of the hands and so allow the winding-up of the clock.

Clive Church Bells

A common practice to ensure accurate timekeeping when restarting the clock was to advance the hands to the hour position and, using a radio to listen for the BBC pips, quickly retighten the clutch to engage mechanism immediately to follow Greenwich Mean Time.  Interestingly it is not possible to turn back the clock hands for instance at the end of British Summer time or should the exact moment be missed as the clock can only be advanced forward or stopped completely.  The weekly winding task was carried out unfailingly by Michael Renshaw for many years, and subsequently by Tony Leah “who lovingly gave 35 years to this Church and Clock. 1974 – 2009.” [Plaque on Tower clock].

Restoration of Clive Bells

A Restoration Appeal was launched in 2014 to raise the funds to overhaul and preserve the bells of Clive Church for future generations.  Following a grant of £14,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a further £500 received from the Shropshire Council Joint Committee and £350 donated by Clive Parish Council, work was commenced in July 2014.  The restoration, carried out by the original installers – the John Taylor Foundry of Loughborough – and assisted by a team of local volunteers, was completed by August.

Throughout time the bells of Clive Church have been rung in celebration: to welcome military victories from the Armada through to Waterloo; for both major World Wars; and annually on Armistice Day to continue to remember the sacrifices made by local villagers.  In the past few years the Millennium (2000), the Diamond Jubilee (2012) and the opening of the London Olympics (2012) have all been celebrated with a full peal.  With the current restoration work, it is hoped that our bells will continue throughout the next century to ‘Ring out the False.  Ring in the True’.


Clive Church Bells in Shropshire Clive Church Bells in Shropshire
Clive Church Bells in Shropshire Clive Church Bells in Shropshire
Clive Church Bells in Shropshire Clive Church Bells in Shropshire
Clive Church Bells in Shropshire Clive Church Bells in Shropshire
Clive Church Bells in Shropshire Clive Church Bells in Shropshire
Clive Church Bells in Shropshire Clive Church Bells in Shropshire