The Belfry

Metal Bell Frame

Church BellChurch Bell Headstock

This bell is mounted in a iron H frame, at Halesowen, which is painted dark blue. It weighs 6cwt. (317kg) and is 31 inches (800mm) in diameter across the mouth. The inscription reads "Jesus Be Our Speed 1707" The rope passes into the clock room below, guided by the ground pulley.

A closer look shows how the bell is mounted on the headstock, two of the four bolts into the crown of the bell are visible. The nut in the centre of the headstock secures the crown staple which passes right through onto the inside of the bell. The clapper is pivoted on a bearing at the bottom of the crown staple.

Wooden Bell Frame and headstock

At Martley (left photo), the bells are mounted in a wooden A frame with metal headstocks. The garter hole in the wheel for the rope to pass through is clearly visible. The piece of wood sticking up is the stay which engages with the slider when the bell is parked or stood with its mouth upward.

The Lye bells (right photo) are mounted on wooden headstocks in a wooden frame. A metal strap through the cannons attach the bell to the headstock.

Load Balancing

This shows the how the bells are mounted so they rotate in different directions to balance the load placed on the tower. For example, the four bells in the middle swing left to right, but are arranged so the closest and furthest wheels move clockwise if the rope is pulled and the two in the centre move anti-clockwise if pulled.

Bells Up and Ready for Ringing

At Upper Arley, it is safe to enter the belfry with the bells in their up position but in most towers this is not usually possible. The mouths are upward being held in place by the stay. The bells are raised into this position prior to commencing change ringing. At the end of the session they are rung down to their safe position with the mouth downwards.


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