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Recorded: WAH 13/2/02
Analysed: WAH 13/2/02
This fairly new peal of twelve consists of an eight originally cast in 1897 by Taylors for Christ Church Todmorden in West Yorkshire. When the church in Todmorden was made redundant the bells were moved to Towcester and augmented to twelve by the addition of four Taylor trebles. Some trouble was taken at the time of augmentation to ensure compatibility between the new and old bells. The original eight are of historical significance, being one of Taylors' early true-harmonic peals. The frame in which the bells hang includes some H-pattern framesides from St John the Divine in Leicester. The sliders at Towcester were originally on the Rudhall peal at St Martin-in-the-fields in London!.
I am grateful to Andrew and Michael Wilby for allowing me to take recordings, and providing much interesting information about the bells. Here is a recording of the bells rung in rounds and a much longer one of them ringing Erin Cinques, both of which they have just provided to me.
|1 - 4||Taylors 1989||none since|
|5 - 12||Taylors 1897||none since|
The recordings were taken with the bells swinging. The Doppler effect of the swing is quite noticeable and made the recordings difficult to analyse and impossible to check for doublets. Some of the front bells were also a bit loud for my recorder . . .
Tenor nominal: 648Hz
(The figures in this table are all given in cents. For all partials except the nominal, the partials are given from the nominals of the bell. Cents of the nominals are relative to the tenor. Pairs of values indicate a doublet. Frequencies for the quint are often not given, especially if inaudible. The links in the first column provide recordings of all the bells.)
Here are intensity plots of various bells selected from the ring:
The nominal tuning of this peal is not entirely clear. The best fit for the whole twelve is to equal temperament, but comparison with other Taylor peals of the early 1900s suggests that the back eight were intended to be tuned Just but that the sixth of the back eight was tuned sharp. Another page gives a detailed comparison of the tuning of these bells with other Taylor peals. The plot below shows the differences in the nominal of each bell from equal temperament, together with a straight-line fit to the data.
There is the slightest amount of stretch (4 cents in the octave). Interestingly, the fourth - the largest of the four trebles added in 1989 - is a little flat. The interval between fourth and fifth is 12 cents or just over 10% of a semitone too small. This would be very difficult to hear. Apart from this bell, the maximum error in the nominals is six cents, which is nothing at all.
The primes in the original eight bells are very good. Clearly, by 1897 Taylors had found the secret of keeping the primes in tune throughout the peal, rather than going flat in the trebles as was the custom in old-style bells. The hums also are very good. The sixth is a slight exception to this, as its hum is a little sharp and its prime a little flat. This bell has a slightly different profile to the others, as will be seen below, and had been pointed out to me as sounding a little different from the others.
The tierces of the original eight get considerably flatter as the bells get smaller - the sixth, as before, breaking the sequence. This will give each bell a slightly different timbre. It took Taylors several more years to get their tierces fully under control. The hums, primes and tierces in the front four bells - the new ones - are as one would expect well tuned. However, the higher partials of the smallest bells are quite a lot flatter than those in the heavier bells, a feature also seen in modern Whitechapel trebles also.
The intensity profiles show a slight difference between fifth and sixth - the sixth has weaker prime and nominal and a strong superquint. The tenor has lots of high partials, a common feature of bigger Taylor bells.
The plot below shows the results of taking various measurements on the bells to compare their shapes. The figure in the plot for each bell shows a straight line drawn from the lip, to the shoulder, to the centre of the crown, and down the central axis of the bell. All twelve bell shapes have been normalised to unit radius at the lip. The height of the crown above the shoulder was estimated, the remaining dimensions were measured as accurately as could be achieved with a tape measure.
This diagram shows that the shapes of all the bells are very similar, with the slight exception of the sixth which is proportionatey the tallest bell in the ring.
Last updated March 1, 2002. Site created by Bill Hibbert, Great Bookham, Surrey