Our Bells

The Mary Tudor Bell

mary-tudor-bell-main

Our oldest bell in the tower is the fourth, cast by Roger Reve at the beginning of the 16th century. It is the last remaining bell of the original ring of four for which the oak bell frame was constructed. Roger Reve was a bell founder in Bury St Edmunds and the shield that appears three times on the shoulder of the bell carries the pair of crossed arrows which are synonymous with Bury St Edmunds bell founders.

As it is a pre-Reformation bell, this is a rare survivor and as such is listed for preservation.  The bell is inscribed in Latin ‘sancta Maria ora pro nobis’  ‘Holy Mary, pray for us’.  It is this bell that would have rung out when Mary Tudor was living here and in the village we call it the ‘Mary Tudor Bell’.

The bell frame which held our Mary Tudor Bell is thought to date from around 1420 to 1500. In August 2021, dendrochronological dating of the bell frame took place.  The results were fascinating.  One of the timbers retained the heartwood-sapwood boundary at 1400, making the likely felling date range for the parent tree 1409-1441.

The bell and the frame dates are in line with a 1419 will of Lady Elizabeth Elmham, widow of Sir William Elmham, Knight, Lord of the Manor and soldier for King Richard II. 

Weight: 6cwt
Diameter: 32.18inches (81.99cm)
Dated: c.1540

Inscribed: +Sancta Maria ora Pronobis

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