Bells at All Saints' Church, Little Staughton, Bedfordshire

The tower contains a ring of five bells. Access to the loft is by a narrow stone spiral staircase in side on the south side of the tower. The bells are:

No. 1 Bell (the Treble): Bears the inscription "Congregate mini sanctus meus". It was made by Miles Graye in 1654 and recast by Taylor of Loughborough in 1901.

Weight: 4-1-9

No. 2 Bell: Bears the inscription "Let men praise the Lord". It was made in 1628 and recast by Mears & Stainbank in 1934.

Weight: 4-2-7

No. 3 Bell: Bears the inscription Leonard Wye and Robert Baxter, Churchwardens. It was made in 1755 by Jos Eayre, St Neots.

Weight: 6-0-11

No. 4 Bell: Bears the inscription "Sit nomen domini benedictum". It was made between 1440 and 1449 by Johanna Hille.

Weight: 8-2-3

No. 5 Bell (the Tenor): Bears the inscription "Miles Graye made me". It was made in 1654 by Miles Graye and recast in 1934 by Mears and Stainbank.

Weight: 10-2-20

Historically No 4 bell is the most interesting. It is not only over 550 years old but it was made by a woman foundress, Johanna Hille. In 1440, Johanna's husband, Mr Hille, the owner of a bell foundry in London died and Johanna carried on his business for about ten years before she remarried a Mr Sturgess in 1449. During her widowhood, she caste Little Staughton's number 4 bell. In addition to the inscription, the bell bears a "cross and ring" shield with a lozenge over it. When the bells were restored in 1934, Johanna's bell did not have to be re-cast.

Two painted wooden boards hanging in the loft bear witness to the prowess of the ringers at the turn of the last century. On 29th January 1904 the ringers rang "720 changes in 30 minutes being six 6 score of Grandsire Doubles". A second board proclaims that on Friday 9th November 1906 to mark the occasion of the 65th Birthday of the King a peal of doubles, 5040 changes composed of Plain Bob, Grandsire and Canterbury Pleasure was rung. On that occasion the treble was rung by Reginald Gray who was just fourteen years old! Although our modern ringers have yet to match the achievements of their predecessors, their ringing at the Millennium and the Golden Jubilee are commemorated in the tower although on a more modest scale!

Hanging on the wall is a short poem written in 1756.



This is a belfry that is free
For all those that civil be
And if you please to chime or ring
It is a very pleasant thing

There is no musick played or sung
Like unto bells when they're well rung
Then ring your bells well if you can
Silence is best for everyman

But if you ring in spur or hat
Sixpence you pay, be sure of that
And if a bell you overthrow
Pray pay a groat before you go.

The Tenor
The Tenor (click to enlarge)
Lozenge (click to enlarge)
"Ring and Cross" shield
"Ring & Cross" shield
(click to enlarge)