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Evesham Bell Tower facts for kids

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The free standing bell tower is the only surviving part of Evesham Abbey, which was founded by Saint Egwin between 700 and 710 AD. The tower was built by Abbot Lichfield in the early part of the 16th century.

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Evesham Bell Tower
Evesham Abbey Bell Tower.jpg
Location Evesham, Worcestershire, England
Architecture
Architect(s) Clement Lichfield
Style Perpendicular Gothic
Completed c.‚ÄČ1532
Specifications
Height 110ft (33m)
Bells 14
Tenor bell weight 35cwt-2qrs-20lbs (1813kg)

History

In 1513, Clement Lichfield built the St Clement chantry of in All Saints Church, Evesham and in 1514, he became Abbott of Evesham Abbey. In 1524, John Molder bequeathed 40 shillings to a "new Towre for their bells". Records show in 1204, the Abbey's central tower collapsed and again in 1264, so this may have been part of the decision to build a free standing bell tower instead, as at Chichester Cathedral.

Construction commenced in 1531 under the supervision of Abbott Lichfield. It is unknown when the tower was completed, but it was certainly finished by 1539 when Evesham Abbey was surrendered as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Over the next few years, the Abbey, which was known to be one of the richest monasteries in England, was dismantled completely, apart from, curiously, the then new bell tower. The tower is 110 feet high.

Bells

In 1664, the four bells from the neighbouring churches of All Saints and St Lawrence were recast and added to the two bells already in the Bell Tower, giving a peal of six bells. In 1741, Abel Rudhall recast five of the six bells, keeping the largest bell from 1631, and casting two new bells to augment them to eight bells. The tenor bell was said at that time to weigh 29 long hundredweight. The tenor bell was recast in 1821 by Thomas Mears and increased in weight to 31 long hundredweight. By 1910, they were very hard to ring, were rehung and augmented from eight bells to ten.

The resulting ring was still considered to be poor compared to many rings being turned out by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough during the time, so in 1951, the present ring of bells was created by recasting all ten bells at Taylor's foundry in Loughborough and augmenting them to twelve. Two semitone bells were cast later by Taylor's, one in 1976 and one in 1992, which enables a light ring of ten bells to be rung without using the three heaviest bells. The bells are considered to be one of the finest sets of change ringing bells anywhere in the country.

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