The bells of St Mary Redcliffe church are renowned as one of the finest rings of twelve in the country.
There has been a ring of bells in the tower since the 15th century. Most of the present ring were cast in 1903, by John Taylor and company of Loughborough, to replace an older ring of twelve. However, three of the older bells were kept; two of these were cast by Thomas Bilbie of Chew Stoke in 1763 and the other was cast by Roger Purdue in 1622. It is interesting to note that this bell was being rung at the time of the Great Plague, the Great Fire of London and the English Civil War.
The lightest of the bells weighs 6 cwt (“hundredweight”) and the heaviest (known as the “tenor”) weighs 50 cwt (two and a half tons). Since the current ring of 12 was installed, two more bells have been added so that a true diatonic scale can be rung without using the heaviest bells. This is useful for teaching people to ring methods, and on those occasions when only a few ringers are available.
The bell on the right is 1622 Purdue 11th Bell which weighs 25cwt and is the oldest in the tower.