Edward VI’s commissioners reported in 1552: ‘Badbye possessed iiij great bells in ye steple and a sanct’ bell’.
In 1930 the Revd Ralph Cornish told a meeting that the frame, new in 1709, was damaged by the beetle and was in such a dire state that a new frame and fittings were essential; the bells needed to be retuned and a sixth bell could be added. The money was soon raised locally despite the prevailing depressed economic state of the country and the work was carried out in 1931-2.
The bells hang in the iron frame installed in 1931. The base of the frame is mounted west to east on three steel I-beams, bolted down to two larger steel I-beams running north to south. All five beams have their ends built securely into the tower walls to transfer the considerable vertical and side thrusts from the swinging bells. A new treble (lightest) bell was cast and the remaining five were retuned and rehung with all new fittings by John Taylor of Loughborough to provide a very tuneful ring of bells.
The service of dedication by Bishop Norman Lang, suffragan Bishop of Peterborough took place on Sunday, February 7, 1932.
In the 1980’s, the 4th bell was found to be cracked in its crown. The Whitechapel Bell Foundry cast a new bell incorporating the original inscription and carried out other long term maintenance work, which was dedicated by the Vicar, the Revd Michael Petitt, on Easter Sunday 2000.
Details of the Bells
Treble bell. Inscription: FOR THE GLORY AND SERVICE OF GOD
GIVEN IN THANKFUL MEMORY
OF ELLEN AND FARRER
THE WIDOW AND SON OF MAJOR SAM PALLIN
weight 297kg, cast in 1931 at Loughborough by John Taylor & Co.
Diameter 303/8 in. Nominal Note 1106Hz: C# (4 cents flat from International pitch)
Bell 2. CELORVM CHRSTE PLATIAT TIBI REX SONUS ISTE 1623 IH
weight 389kg, cast in 1623 at Leicester by Hugh Watts II.
Diameter 337/8 in. Nominal Note 988Hz: B (exactly)
Bell 3. IHS : NAZARENVS REX: IVDEORUM FILI DEI MISERE: MEI 1623
weight 440kg, cast in 1623 at Leicester by Hugh Watts II.
Diameter 357/8 in. Nominal Note 876Hz: A (8 cents flat)
Bell 4. SAMUELL GOODMAN JOHN KIBBELL CHURCHWARDENS
MATTHEW BAGLEY MADE MEE 1754
IN THIS MILLENNIUM
REVD MICHAEL PETITT – VICAR
CATHERINE WAKEFORD CHRISTOPHER NELSON – CHURCHWARDENS
GEOFFREY PULLIN – TOWER CAPTAIN
RECAST WHITECHAPEL AD2000
weight 535kg, cast in 2000 at London by Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
Diameter 373/4 in. Nominal Note 827Hz: G# (8 cents flat)
Bell 5. RYCHARD HYNE VICKAR OF BADBY GAVE THIS BELL 1623
weight 679kg, cast in 1623 at Leicester by Hugh Watts II.
Diameter 415/8 in. Nominal Note 739Hz: F# (2 cents flat)
Tenor bell TAYLOR & SONS FOUNDERS OXFORD & ST. NEOTS
AUGT. 22 1822
weight 711kg, cast in 1822 at Oxford by Taylor & Sons.
Diameter 453/8 in. Nominal Note 657Hz: E (6 cents flat)
The bells are rung in the full-circle English manner. The churchwardens’ accounts show payments of 2s..6d to the ringers on each May 29 (Oak Apple Day; King Charles II’s birthday, marking his restoration in 1660 – a public holiday until 1859) and November 5 (Failure of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605) for over 30 years until 1885 and 5s.. 0d for the Duke of Wellington on November 11, 1852, the day of his grand state funeral. This, with the cost of new ropes reported above, indicates a great deal of ringing in the 19th century.
Reg Fennell was the ringer who in 1930 instigated the restoration work. The first ringing after the dedication service in 1932 was undertaken by: Fred Wilford (from Northampton and a very active Master of the Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers, established eight years earlier. He rang at St Giles’, Northampton), Mr A Moore (Daventry), Harry Shimmell (Flore), Mr W Hancock (Willoughby), Mr H Blundell (Northampton) and Sydney Foskett (Bedford, who previously lived and rang in Newnham). The first full peal was rung on June 12, 1932 in 3hrs. 3mins, after which it was recorded that the “go” & tone was perfect! There was regular ringing until 1940.
After the nationally enforced cessation between June 1940 and April 1943, Stan Ruddlesden helped organise the ringing until he left the village in 1956, during which time many villagers were taught to handle a bell. In 1962, Eric Bull, by then the tower captain, complained to the Parochial Church Council (PCC) that only two of the thirty bell ringers in the village turned up to ring! The latest period of regular ringing began in January 1981 after Geoff Pullin was appointed tower captain. Since Easter 1981, the bells have been rung for most Sunday services, weddings and every Wednesday for practice but, by tradition, not in Holy Week. Over 80 more people have been trained to handle a bell during this period, both from this and surrounding villages, but still the tower captain sometimes struggles to get six ringers!
See the page Bellringing at Badby for further information.
The Church owns a set of handbells. The bells were ordered from John Taylor & Co of Loughborough in 1957 after a series of money raising events using Newnham handbells. The twelve bells, from size 7 to size 18 (note G), were delivered in 1958. All bear their size number and the founder’s mark JT except number 13 which has MEARS as founder as it was recast in March 1975 after the original bell was broken. Their current storage place is recorded in the PCC minutes.
More details are given in the second edition of ‘A History of Badby Church, usually available from the church during daylight hours for £3. Profits go to church funds.
Amended 20 April 2021