Defunct tower bell instruments
of the British Isles

Some carillons and chimes in the British Isles have been destroyed, stolen or otherwise lost.  There are no data pages for such sites, so they cannot be indexed in the same manner as extant instruments.  Hence this page.

The lists below present, in appropriate orders, the original locations of such instruments, without distinction between traditional and non-traditional mechanisms.

DEFUNCT CARILLONS:

Carillons which no longer exist are listed in order by city name:

St.Botolph Parish Church, Boston, Lincolnshire [OS Ref. TF 32 44]
In 1867, a very light weight set of 36 carillon bells was supplied by A.L.J. van Aerschodt.  They were installed by Gillett & Bland above the old ring of 8 in this tower, and were played by a chiming machine of G&B manufacture.  This machine was equipped with four playing drums, each having seven different tunes pegged on it. In 1897, the carillon bells were recast by Gillett & Johnston into four quarter bells, and the chiming machine was scrapped.  This site is identified in the database as
        BOSTON - 1    : ENGLAND 
Many years later, another chime was installed in this tower; it is identified in the database as
        BOSTON - 2    : ENGLAND 
and it has a site data page here.

SS.Peter & Paul Parish Church, Cattistock, Dorsetshire [OS Ref. SY 59 99]
The church tower, designed to hold a carillon, was completed in 1876.  The first 33 bells of a carillon for it were cast in 1872 by Severin van Aerschodt, but were not delivered until 1887, and even then were not installed.  The last two bells were cast in 1899 by Felix van Aerschodt, who also installed the instrument.  Eight of the basses were hung for change ringing.  In September 1940, the carillon was destroyed by fire; the scrap metal was recast into a ring of 8 by Whitechapel in 1953.

Westcroft Park, Chobham, Surrey [OS Ref. SU 953 637]
In 1926, Gillett & Johnston supplied an 18-bell chime to Mr.H.O.Serpell for his estate, and in 1932 they enlarged it to 23 bells.  (There are also reports of 25 or 28 bells.)  After the death of its owner, this was reduced to a clock-chime, presumably of 5 bells; the disposition of the bells which were removed is unknown.

G&J foundry tower, Croydon, Gtr.London [OS Ref. TQ 34 06]
This instrument, made in 1920 but of unknown size, was probably intended as a showpiece for the Gillett & Johnston foundry.  The bells were presumably sold off piecemeal.

G&J travelling carillon, based in Croydon, Gtr.London [OS Ref. TQ 34 06]
This instrument, made in 1949 but of unknown size, was probably intended as a showpiece for the Gillett & Johnston foundry.  But the bells were eventually sold off piecemeal.

Taylor Foundry, Loughborough, Leics. [OS Ref. TQ 277 809]
A 40-bell carillon was installed in a purpose-built low tower at the Taylor foundry by 1912, with some bells having been cast as early as 1904.  Various bells were replaced from time to time up to 1935, but by 1940 all the bells had been sold off piecemeal.  The tower still stands.

DEFUNCT CHIMES:

Chime-sized instruments which no longer exist are listed in order by city name:

Abberley Hall, Worcestershire. [OS Ref. SO 75 68]
A 20-bell chime was installed in the freestanding clocktower by Taylor in 1884, with a bass bell of 78.5 cwt.  (Some reports incorrectly cite 10 or 16 bells.)  It was described as a 'carillon', being operated by a mechanical drum supplied by Gillett, Bland & Co. of Croydon.  Fifteen of the bells (and the drum) were removed in 1939, leaving five (including the smallest) to serve as a clock-chime, with Cambridge (Westminster) quarters struck by the original three-train flatbed clock from Joyce of Whitechurch.  The tower still stands on a private estate, while the Hall itself is now an independent school whose history of the tower doesn't mention their disposition.

Mobile Chime, Loughborough, Leicestershire
A 16-bell travelling chime was constructed by Taylor in 2001, in cooperation with David Potter of York.  Equipped with a baton keyboard, but having a non-touch-sensitive electric action, it was intended for publicity and fund-raising purposes.  The former was highly successful, but the latter was not.  In 2008 the chime was dismantled, and its bells were used in constructing the York Minster carillon.

Highmoor Bell Tower, Wigton, Cumbria. [OS Ref. NY 263 476]
A 9-bell automatic chime was installed in a freestanding clocktower on a private estate by van Aerschodt in 1884, with a bass bell of about 4000 lbs.; Taylor supplied a great bell as sub-bourdon or hour bell.  Probably it was operated by a mechanical drum.  The bells were scrapped in 1920; the tower is still standing.

NOTE: Sites for which no database identification is listed are the only ones in their respective cities in the database.  Thus their identification follows the standard model.


Return to Indexes to tower bell sites in the British Isles.


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This page was created 2005/07/15 and last revised 2010/06/20.

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