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The history of the St John Bells

The earliest record of bells in Halesowen date from 1280 when 'Peter the Bellringer' appears in the Court Rolls for the Manor of Halesowen. The Church records refer to the mending on bells in 1487 and show bells were purchased during the 16th and 17th century. By 1620 there were probably five or six bells. These bells were not tuned to any particular note.


Change ringing began in England during the mid-1600's and is thought to have spread from the London area across the whole of England. The popularity of change ringing was thought to have inspired the replacement of the discordant bells in Halesowen by a tuned set.


In 1707, Joseph Smith of Edgbaston cast six bells to replace the earlier ones. Then in 1753 two more bells cast by Lester and Pack in London were added to form a complete octave. The new bells were numbers one and two with the 1707 bells being renumbered three to eight. In 1864 J Warner & Sons recast bells one and six. In 1902 the previous wooden frame was replaced by the current cast iron structure.


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