For this church:
A western tower and spire containing a ring of 10 bells, also a turret between the nave and chancel containing 1 bell.
Hung in a cast-iron low sided frame by Mears & Stainbank in 1913 and new fittings, metal headstocks and ball bearings by Taylors in 1954.
The service bell is hung for chiming in the nave turret.
All 10 bells are by Taylors, the 2nd in 1846 and the rest in 1842. They were his first complete 10 and his original specification still survives at Loughborough. The original 2nd was inscribed:
PEACE ON EARTH GOODWILL TOWARD MEN JOHN CORBY SEXTON 1842
From earliest times the tower held bells and from the Churchwardens Accounts it is possible much may be deduced.
In 1552 there were 5 bells mentioned in the Inventory.
The 5 bells were augmented to 6 in 1646. Between these dates however, the bells received a good deal of attention:
The life of this bell was short lived as in 1712 the bells were all recast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester and augmented to eight. A board hanging in the belfry states that Brid-Gen Sir Richard Sutton gave £200 to the cost of this work. The inscriptions of most of Rudhall’s bells have been recorded:
Brown, in his History was very thorough for he also gives the weights of the bells down to the last ounce:
These bell did good service, for it was not until 1775 that any major attention was necessary. The 3rd bell was damaged and recast by Pack & Chapman of Whitechapel. The inscription they put on the bell was their stock inscription:
PACK & CHAPMAN, LONDON, FECIT 1775
1821 saw the recasting of the tenor by Robert Taylor, then at St. Neots, and this bell was inscribed:
I TO THE CHURCH THE LIVING CALL AND TO THE GRAVE DO SUMMON ALL TAYLOR AND SON, ST. NEOTS FECIT 1821
In fact Taylor had to recast the bell twice, the first casting being rather too flat. Robert Taylor’s notebook records:
The diameters of the 8 bells were also given:
In 1842 a decision was taken to have a new ring of bells, and the work was entrusted to John Taylor, then recently moved to Loughborough from St. Neots and Oxford. An account of the events at this time occurs in Brown’s History of Newark and I quote in some length:
In 1842 the old peal of bells were recast and converted (with additional metal) with a peal of ten. The great bell of the old eight was taken down on Saturday. February 19,1842. The remainder of the peal and frames were taken down during eight days-viz. from March 7th to the 15th, six men being employed. The new bells arrived by boat on Monday, April 25th 1842 and were met by the ringers at the top Roving. Having got on board, they rang a peal on the handbells until they came to “Huddleston Top Wharf” Mill Gate where many people came to see the bells. The Notts. Society of Change ringers were appointed by the Churchwardens of Newark to open the peal, and on Wednesday week, May 25 they assembled at Newark for that purpose. The bells were raised at eight o’clock in the morning, and 600 changes were rung. The Sheffield change ringers then raised the bells, and after accomplishing nearly the same number of changes, they desisted. The bells were then oiled, and short peals were rung during the day. The Nottinghamshire ringers pronounced the bells at Averham to be the finest peal of six in the county, having rung a peal of 720 “Kent or Treble Bob” on their return home. At Newark, on the evening of Wednesday, their performances on the hand-bells gained them very great repute. On the hoisting of the bells into their places in the tower they were each of them named by parties who were present.
As sometimes happens, the virtues extolled on the opening of a ring of bells and the real truth are somewhat divergent, and quickly the state of the hanging became unsatisfactory. Work was set in motion and the bells rehung, resulting in the following advertisement being inserted in the Leicester Mercury:
It will be recalled that about 18 months ago a new peal of bells for Newark Church was cast by John Taylor, bellfounders of Oxford and Loughboro’, but in consequence of the person who hung them not having a thoro’ knowledge of bell hanging they became at last quite unmanageable and the ringers refused to touch them- Mr Taylor being applied to engaged Mr Smith of Meadow Lane Lobro’ to remove the difficulty and he has now hung them on an Improved principle which has given the greatest satisfaction as they are to be rung with half the former labour- Mr Chas. G Bateman late of St John’s Church Manchester and now conductor of the Newark ringers declared them to be very skilful workmanship which reflects great credit on Mr Smith- The prize ringing which should have taken place last summer but was postponed in consequence of the bad state of the bells will now take place as soon as sufficient money is collected for the purpose when one of the greatest treats of the kind ever witnessed in Newark may be expected as the contest will be open to all,
As noted above the 2nd was recast in 1846 and the treble was retuned at the same time.
In 1897 the bells were rehung by Taylors with new wheels, gudgeons, clappers etc; the canons were removed from the bells and the crowns bored for the new crown staples at a cost of £175.10.0
Further restoration took place in 1913 when the Whitechapel foundry provided a new cast-iron low sided frame, and in 1954 Taylors rehung the bells on ball bearings.