Church Bells

The earliest record of the bells is the Inventory of Church Goods of 1553, which gives four bells at Yarnscombe at a time when most parish churches had rings of three or four. One of these bells survives today, the other three having been re-cast (one of them twice). The bells became a ring of six in 1889, when two bells were added and the 4th was re-cast for the second time. The new and re-cast bells came from Taylor’s of Loughborough, and the bells were re-hung in a new frame by Harry Stokes of Woodbury. In 1973 they were hung in ball bearings by Arthur Fidler of Bow, but most of Stokes’ work is still in very good working order.

The notes, mouth diameters and inscriptions cast on the St. Andrew’s bells are as follows:

Bell Note Diameter Inscription Remarks
in. (cm.)
2nd C# 2912 75 ‘TO THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD 1889’ 1
3rd B 3034 78 ‘@ [shield] R*LOVEBAND @ 1709 * R*CAMPIN * WARDENS’ 2
4th A# 3338 84 ‘TO THE GLORY OF GOD 1889’ 1, 3
  On the waist: ‘J. B. SINGLETON

) C.W.
5th G# 36 91 ‘[crown] [ship] [crown] SRQPONML [crown] N [pattern]’ 4
Tenor F# 4058 103 ‘TP + Soli Deo Deter Gloria + R [bell] P 1608’ 5


1. This bell has Taylor’s trade mark roundel on the waist.

2. '*' is a small round mark which may be the impression of a decorative button. '@' is a wheel-shaped mark. '[shield]' is a floral pattern but it is not a coat of arms. The founder of this bell is unknown.

3. Before being re-cast in 1889 this was a bell by Thomas Pennington II of Exeter, with the inscription 'SOLI DEO DETVR GLORIA T [bell] P 1631' ['Let glory be given to God alone'].

4. This bell was cast by a Bristol foundry, probably during the 15th century. The ship stamp is well known in Bristol but this one, uniquely, has the ship issuing from a castle as in the Bristol city coat of arms. The letters 'SRQPONML' are clearly part of an alphabet of small capital letters; the 'N' is from a different alphabet and has a crown over it. Bells with meaningless inscriptions are often found to belong to the time of the Reformation but the marks on this bell suggest an earlier date.

5. This bell bears the initials of Thomas Pennington I, then living in Barnstaple. The 'RP' may possibly be Robert Pennington of Bodmin. The motto is the same as that on the old 4th but is misspelt. The initials 'TP' are set in an oblong frame with a bell between them and the cross is also in an oblong frame. The only other bell similar to this is at Minehead, Somerset.

The 5th and Tenor have had the cannons removed from their heads. The 3rd, 5th and Tenor are all listed as historic bells worthy of preservation by the Council for the Care of Churches.