Interested in joining us? Bellringing practice is on Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm. We have several new ringers in our tower and new ringers are always welcome.
For more information on our tower and how to begin bellringing, please contact our Correspondent, Diane Biggs on 07776 182848.
Bells at St. John’s, Devizes
- St. John’s eight bells were originally cast between 1610 and 1747, but some have been recast and all were rehung with plain bearings in a steel frame in 1902.
- Ten peals are recorded on boards in the ringing chamber. One of particular interest is a peal of 5040 changes of Grandsire Triples rung in February 1920 in memory of Devizes ringers who gave their lives in the 1914-18 Great War. Mr. G. Harding who conducted the peal on that day rang in a quarter peal in Devizes as recently as September 1969, over 49 years later.
- Another peal board records one of Grandsire Triples rung in 1962 in honour of the 80th anniversary of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild by officials of the Devizes Branch.
- Until it was stopped in 1940, the curfew had been rung at 9 p.m. for several hundred years. The late Mr Jessie Stone, as verger, carried out this duty for the final 40 years, but the practice was not resumed after the war ended.
The Inscriptions on the Bells are as follows:
Treble“The Gift of Wm. Willy, Esqr. Mr. Tris. Godwin and Mr. Wm. Adlam Ch. Wardens. Js. Burrough Founder 1747.” Note : D. 4 cwt. 2 qrs 25 lbs.
Second “The Gift of Wm. Willy Esqr. Mr. Wm. Adlam and Mr. Tris.Godwin ch. Wardens. Js. Burrough Founder. 1747.” Note : C sharp. 4 cwt 3 qrs 13 Ibs. (James Burrough’s foundry operated next to St. John’s churchyard 173~1755).
Third “Vivat Rex et Floreat Grex. Ano Domini 1677 : (symbol of a bell) R.P. (bell) W.C. (2 bells) + T.C. + “. Note : B. 7 cwt 2 qrs 8 lbs.
Fourth “HOPE WELL I.W. 1610.” Note : A. 7 cwt 0 qrs 26 lbs.
Fifth “FEARE THE LORDE 1610.” I.W. Note: G. 9 cwt 3 qrs 9 lbs. (Recast in 1927).
Sixth “Mr. James Sutton Mier William Ric : Smith Churchwardens 1697 (shield with three bells).” Note: F sharp. 10 cwt 2 qrs 17 lbs. (Ric. is an abbreviation for Richard).
Seventh: “John Jordan and Matthew Figgins Churchwardens. 1677 (two bells) R.P. (bell) W.C. (bell & tree) (a) Recast 1905 (b) (Taylor’s mark) As a thank-offering from Mary Peace. J. G. ‘Watson M.A. Rector. G. S. A.Waylen, E. J. Giddings. Churchwardens.” Note : E. 15 cwt 3 qrs 1 lb.Tenor“Richard Hillier; Mayor Gnt. Charles Danvers Sqr Recorder.1677. R.P. (bell) W.C. (two bells) Henry Johnson, Rector; John Jordan and Matthew Figgins, churchwardens.” Note : D. 19 cwt 1 qtr 6 lbs. (The Initials R.P. and W.C. on the 3rd, 7th and Tenor are those of William Coney and his assistant Rog.
Bells at St. Mary the Virgin, Devizes
- At least 4 bells hung in the tower in 1498–1500. The clapper of one of these, the ‘great’ bell, was repaired by John Smith of Bristol in the latter year.
- Some of the then existing bells were recast by J. Wallis of Salisbury in 1606, and a bell was recast in 1616.
- In 1641 there were 5 bells. There are now six: (i), (ii), (v), and (vi) of 1663, all apparently by the Purdues, (iv) of 1640, recast 1696 by Robert and William Cor of Aldbourne, (iii) of 1701, recast 1879. The bells were re-hung in 1878, 1897–8, and 1915.
- A chest with 15 locks, holding title deeds, stood in the chancel in 1629.