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to carage to the water side - 00 : 00 : 04 to ferey & charges to fetch them
ouer 00 : 00 : 08
to three rowels' for the three
bells' 00 : 01 : 06
to a cart to Seacombe to fetch
them 00 : 00 : 06
to ringeing ye bells' to smooeth
the Bs 00 : 01 : 00
to a roape to peise ye bell ropes 00 : 01 : 06 to skins to heng ye clapers on 00 : 01 : 00 to the bell hanger for all his
worke 03 : 04 : 00
to ringeing on Gunpowder
Treason day 00 : 05 : 04
1686. to the order ag' irregularity of
ringing 00 : 02 : 00
Was this last "order" one of those rhyming notices levying fines for bad ringing, or for appearing in the belfry in spur or hat, &c., which exist in some old ringing lofts? Here is one from' Overton Church, Frodsham, 1776, which it will be observed is an acrostic :—
F rom faults observe you ringers well
and another from the belfry of Cartmell Church:—
If you come here to ring a bell
& 6 pence too without demur
The year 1687 brought a catastrophe to the church, which is explained by Schoolmaster Robinson in a note written—probably at a later date—on the blank page facing that year's accounts :—
"You must understand that the first bell in these "Churchwardens beginning of their time as people "were ringing one Sabbath day evening came "downe brought both Lofts mostly downe with it "espetially broke all the maine timbers of the "Lower Loft & stroke halfe ouer head through the "fiaggs into the ground & hurt none nor harmd it "selfe and was got up againe new wheele new "Lofts & the Leads on the top of the steeple (wch "were pillaged in the time of the Civill Warrs and "by remisness of the Clark and for want of a lock "on the Steeple door) new Laid and the two ends "done with stones and the roof new slated by wch "means these wardens who thought to have done "as little as they could proued to have their hands "full all the year as by their sd accts appear."
During the year 1688, further repairs were made:
to the smith's bill about the
to ex: our Selues & other assis-
after which only small items occur until the year 1723, when the old peal of three bells was replaced by a ring of five, which in their turn called the Wallasey folk to the old church for upwards of a century and a quarter.
The three old bells were, as appears by the accounts, sent to Bristol, being taken by the bellfounders—Luke Ashton, of Wigan—in part payment for the new peal, the balance, amounting to £60 us. yd., paid by the churchwardens, being raised by church leys, as follows :—
"Sept. 23, 1723.
"We whose names are underwritten being meet "according to the notice given last Sunday in the "church do allow the present Church Wardens "John Robinson and Joshua Young to gather ten "shillings pr Oxgange thro' the Parish, for a "Church Ley towards paying for Casting Buying "Timber and Hanging the Bells. Witness our "hands the day and year above written."
"Isaac Hyde Cu' Joseph Bird Tho. Robinson "Henry Bird Tho. Richardson Tho. Cotton "John Mullinix."
This ley brought in a sum of £75 15s. od., in addition to which the churchwardens "Resaued "from the Jentelmen, 11 : 00 : 6," and two smaller sums from the bellfounder —" Return of money "from the bellfounder for 29 Pound of metell which "was chiped of the bells, 01 : og : o," and "Re"turn'd by the Bell-Founder to the Parish, "02 : 10 : o."
The resident "Jentelmen" of this period were Mr. Tho. Meoles of Wallasey Hall, Mr. Ed. Mainwaring of Poolton Manor, and Mr. Chas. Bunbury; Thomas Urmson gave £5.—" Spent with Thomas "Ourmson when Wee Resauved his five Pound— "00 : 05 : 6."
The sums collected as above not proving sufficient for the expenses incurred in casting and hanging the bells, in addition to the usual yearly disbursements, another meeting was held, Feb. 13, 172J, at which a further ley of 3s. per oxgang was granted, which raised the necessary amount.
A note in the Account Book gives the weights of the old and new peals :—
"The Weight of the three old, and the five New
Bells. c. Q. L.
"Old Bells—1. &c 9:2:6
2 g : o : 15
3 11 : 3: 9
Tot 60 : 11 : 7"
which was "pade to the bellfounder."
There are no further entries of importance in the old volume of Accounts, closing in 1751, and the peal of five bells hung unchanged in the old steeple until a few years before the fire.
Wallasey bells rang out with great regularity every fifth of November, and on other occasions as well;—
l689. to ex. at the Coronacon day,
April 11th o : 03 : 04
to ringing last 11th of Ap: ex: o : 00 : 06 & ex: on seuerall pshionrs same
1728. To Ringing on his majesty's
Coronation day - - - - o : 02 : 06
1745. To the Ringers on the Retreat
of Rebels 0:02:06
1746. To Exps on Thanksgiving Day
for the Victory at Culloden - 00 : 09 00
In the year 1853, a sixth (treble) bell was added to the peal by the parishioners, and four years later came the fire; the flames rushed up through the tower as through a blast furnace, "the loud voci"ferous bells" fell "clashing, clanging" to the pavement, and, instead of calling the people to church on that memorable Sunday morning, lay silent and broken at the foot of the charred and empty steeple.
The fragments of the bells were gathered up and the metal used for the new peal of six bells, hanging in the present church, cast by Messrs. J. Taylor & Co., of Loughborough, by whose kindness I am able to give the following particulars of the old peal of 1723 :—
Bell. Diameter. Weight. Inscription.
Ft. in. Cwt. qrs. lbs.
Treble....2 if 3 1 15 Presented by the Villagers of Wallasey and other parishioners as a mark of devoted attachment to the house of God. A.d. 1853. Frederic Haggitt, M.A.