For this church:
A western tower containing a ring of 8 bells.
Hung in a cast iron H-frame, originally for 6 bells, but remodelled for 8 in 1984, with 7 pits on one level and a low-sided frame for the 6th above. (Click for archaeological information.) All bells have cast-iron headstocks, ball bearings etc. All the bells except the 5th and 8th are by Taylors, the 1906 bells having the old inscriptions reproduced facsimile. The 5th bell is the work of Henry II Oldfield, whilst the tenor is a fine bell by the Mellours, possibly Richard, c1472- c1508. The old 7th was probably cast by Henry Dand in 1592 or 1593, for in September 1593 nine inhabitants were cited for not paying their “layes” for the casting a new bell. The large badge on this bell is the arms of Sir Robert Pierrepont who died on 6th March 1333.
Prior to 1827 the 6th was inscribed:
MY SOUND IT IS EACH MAN TO CALL TO SERVE THE LORD BOTH GREAT
Thomas II Hedderly records this in his notebook:
Cotgrave 3d bell 37.75" wide 2.5 thick 9:2:16
Thus this bell would have been heavier than the old 7th !
There is a long history of ringing here. As early as 1603 there were a band of keen ringers who found themselves on the wrong side of the Vicar for excessive ringing:
Thomas Hunt the Rector was summoned “for Force used by him .... on the Feast of Stephen the Proto martyr ... against William Champion, Henry Smythe, Aaron Whittingham and Harold Humfrie”. “He admitted that in and upon the said feast day of St. Stephen laste paste the said personnes straighte after evening prayers donne did ringe all the bells of the church of Cotgrave aforesaid as also there and .... had done before the same Evenings prayers the same daye and at many other tymes in such excessive wise that the people being therewithall offended requested him the said Thomas Hunte to staye and not suffer them to ringes Whereupon he (as he saith) with some others of his neighbours required the said personner to desiste and leave ringings and so there did and departed. And that soone after there gotte to the better agayne and rongee again as before, and that then he at the motion of somme of his neighboars and .... required them to cease and give over which to doe these expressly refused saying thus or to this effect we will rings whether you will or no, be good in your office you cannot tall howe longe you shall have it, with other rude and contemptuous speeches and that the said Thomas Hunte not well endurings that there shoulde so insolentlie both offend his neiboars and contemne him an his church charges them to desiste and departe, and not regardinge his words, did with a small cudgill wheerwith he useth to waike strike them the said Champeons, Smith, Whittingham and Humfrie over the shoulders and gave hurte to anys of their personner and so left them. And then the said Thomas Hunte prayed the benefit of absolution from the sentence of excommunication, if by chance he had incurred it by reason of the premises, it being decreed him to be absolved from the sentence of excommunication which he had incurred thro facts by reason of the premises and absolved him decreeing him Letters Testamonial.’
Much later there was a Society of Change ringers who were competent. There are no references to their ringing, but the local paper in 1831 recorded the death of one of the band:
“At Cotgrave ...(died).. John Simpson aged 89 .... being one of the oldest change ringers in England, a muffled peal was rung on the occasion of his funeral on Monday morning last, by the Cotgrave Society of Change ringers.”
The band must have broken up soon afterwards, for a peal board of 1906 records the death of a founder member of the local band.