Lincolnshire Bells and Bellfounders

Second Edition (28/10/2009)

For amendments, see foot of this page

Bells are very often the oldest artefacts in a church building, but usually they are hidden from view and most people know very little about them. It is remarkable that the oldest bell in the Diocese of Lincoln has been calling the faithful to church for over 850 years.

The first edition and a reprint of this book sold out soon after publication, and I decided to produce a completely new second edition. This was published by subscription on 28 October 2009 at £45.

The number of pages overall is approximately 445. 795 buildings containing a total of 2522 bells have been visited. Most of these are churches but the bells in 39 schools and 40 other secular buildings have also been recorded.

An important addition to this second edition is an appendix of 59 letters from bellfounders and others relating to the bells of Lincoln Cathedral written in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These culminate in the recasting of Great Tom and make fascinating reading particularly to industrial archaeologists.

A chapter is included on the history of bell founding in the county in which archaeological evidence for casting 'on site' is recorded. The major bellfounding industries at Barton on Humber, Lincoln and Stamford have been thoroughly researched and recorded. There is also evidence of bell casting at other places in the county including Market Rasen, Snitterby and Spital in the Street. Brief details of founders of Lincolnshire bells from outside the county have also been included.

The recent interest in bell frames has been recognised. The county possesses a number of frames parts of which date back to the sixteenth century and earlier.

A leaflet detailing the contents of the book can be found here

Additional information added 27/12/2012:

HARRISON Bellhangers and founders

James III Harrison's sons.

It is well known that the sons of James III Harrison worked for their father, but further interesting data has come to light.

Henry Harrison



CHURCH CLOCK MAKER, &c, Canning-street, near Spencer-

street, Hull, respectfully informs the Public, that he casts and

hangs Church Bells on the most approved principles, and on the

most reasonable terms; he also makes Church Clocks to order

(warranted to keep true time) on the lowest terms possible.

Letters addressed as above will meet with due attention.

(Liverpool Mercury, Fri. 28 Sept. 1827)








To the PUBLIC.


HARRISON, Bell Founder and Bell Hanger,

Canning-street (near Spencer-street), Hull, re-

spectfully informs the public that he casts and hangs

Church Bells on the most improved principles, and at

the same time be wishes it to be generally known that

his prices are the most reasonable.

N. B. Letters addressed H. Harrison, bell-founder,

Hull, will meet with immediate attention.

(Stamford Mercury, Fri. 15 Feb. 1828)











HUMBER, (son of the late Mr. James Harrison,

deceased,) respectfully informs the public that he casts

and hangs Church Bells on the most improved principles

and also on reasonable terms, such as will, he has no

doubt, give perfect satisfaction to his employers.

(Stamford Mercury, Fri. 19 Dec. 1834)







As there are no bells with Henry's name on them, it is clear that whilst his father was alive, he must have used him for any bell commissions that came his way, but as no bells were cast by James after 1833, he either was unsuccessful at attracting bell work, or more likely he bought bells from another bellfounder.

James IV Harrison

A correspondent informs us that Sir Culling Eardley Smith, Bart has had an interview with Mr. James Harrison, Hessle New Road, church-clock maker and bell-founder, and ordered from him a good clock for the parish church of Nettleton.

(Stamford Mercury, Fri. 5 Aug. 1836)

Source : John Eisel


A (PDF) leaflet of amendments to 31/12/2010 can be downloaded here

A (PDF) leaflet of amendments to 31/12/2013 can be downloaded here

Revised: 27/02/2014 (acah)






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