Rudhall of Gloucester was a family business of bell founders in the city of Gloucester, England, who between 1684 and 1835 cast more than 5,000 bells.[1][2]

History

There had been a tradition of bell casting in Gloucester since before the 14th century.[3][4]

The family business was founded by Abraham Rudhall (1657–1736) who developed a method of tuning bells by turning on a lathe rather than the traditional chipping method with a chisel.[5] One of the earliest ring of bells he cast was for St Nicholas' Church, Oddington in 1684.[6] He came to be described as the greatest bell-founder of his age. The business was continued by his eldest son, also called Abraham (1680–1735), his son Abel (1714–60), and three of Abel's sons, Thomas (?1740–83), Charles (1746–1815) and John (1760–1835).[6] In 1815 John Rudhall was declared bankrupt and the bell foundry bought by Mears & Stainbank who owned the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.[7] The business formally closed in 1828 but bells bearing John's name have been found with dates up to 1835.[8]

Selected bells

Five bells cast in 1702 by Abraham Rudhall I hang in St James the Great, West Hanney, Oxfordshire. A sixth was recast in 1856.[9][10]

In 1706 and 1707 Abraham Rudhall I cast three of the bells of Great Malvern Priory.[11]

In 1710 Abraham Rudhall I cast six bells for SS Michael and Wulfhad's church in Stone, Staffordshire. In 2012 the four heaviest bells, including the tenor, were re-hung in the church but the other two were replaced by new bells cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.[12] The two redundant bells were moved to St Michael's Tower, Gloucester, near to where they were cast.[13]

Three of the bells of St Mary Magdalene, Adlestrop were cast by Abraham Rudhall I in 1711.[14]

Six of the bells in the Church of St Leonard, Middleton, Greater Manchester were cast by Abraham Rudhall I in 1714.[15]

Five of the bells of St Michael and All Angels, Great Torrington were cast by Abraham Rudhal I in 1716.[16]

Six of the bells in Pershore Abbey were cast in 1729 by Abraham Rudhall II: a seventh (also 1727) was recast in 1897.[17]

Six bells by Abel Rudhall (cast in 1738 and 1753) hang in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.[18]

Eight change ringing bells (tenor: 13 long cwt 3 qr 5 lb (1,545 lb or 701 kg) in F) at Old North Church in Boston were cast by Abel Rudhall in 1744 and hung in 1745.[19] One bell has the inscription: "We are the first ring of bells cast for the British Empire in North America, A.R. 1744."

All eight bells from the Church of St Anne, Shandon, an iconic symbol of Cork, Ireland, were cast by Abel Rudhall in 1750.[20] They were recast in 1870.[21]

Four of the bells of Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral, Cork, were cast by Abel Rudhall in 1751.[22]

Five bells cast by Abel Rudhall in 1757 still hang in Wells Cathedral.[23]

References

  1. ^ The Rudhall Family I, Gloucester City Council, archived from the original on 8 February 2012, retrieved 14 September 2013
  2. ^ "Rudhall Bells" (PDF). Discover DeCrypt. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  3. ^ Rudge, Thomas (1811). The History and Antiquities of Gloucester: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time; Including an Account of the Abbey, Cathedral, and Other Religious Houses, with the Abbots, Bishops, and Dignitaries of Each. J. Wood. p. 120. Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  4. ^ "The Origins of Gloucester Bell Founding". Gloucester Made. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  5. ^ Counsel, George Worrall (1829). The history and description of the city of Gloucester: from the earliest period to the present time ; with an account of St. Peter's Abbey, the cathedral, churches, and other religious houses ; ...the origin and present state of the port of Gloucester ; the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal... J. Bulgin. p. 218. Archived from the original on 2013-09-07. Retrieved 2020-03-19. Rudhall of Gloucester.
  6. ^ a b Bliss, Mary (2003). "The Last Years of John Rudhall, Bellfounder of Gloucester, 1828- 35" (PDF). Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society. 121: 11–22. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-09-21. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  7. ^ "Bells for America". Gloucester Made. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  8. ^ Middleton, LM; Hudson, Giles (rev.) (2010) [2004]. "Abraham Rudhall the elder". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/24254. Retrieved 14 September 2013. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) ((subscription or UK public library membership required))
  9. ^ Davies, Peter (1 November 2017). "W Hanney S James Gt". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  10. ^ Page, William; Ditchfield, PH, eds. (1924). "Parishes: Hanney". A History of the County of Berkshire. 4. British History Online. London: Victoria County History. pp. 285–294, para 37. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  11. ^ Another of the bells dates to 1350–1380, possibly by John of Gloucester. "The Priory Bells". Great Malvern Priory. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  12. ^ Hutchieson, Stuart (18 March 2013). "Stone S Michael & S Wulfad". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  13. ^ "Stone church bells 'going home' to heritage centre". BBC News. 24 October 2012. Archived from the original on 8 March 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  14. ^ Chester, Mike (31 August 2016). "Adlestrop S Mary Magd". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  15. ^ "History". St Leonard's Church. Archived from the original on 13 January 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  16. ^ Scott, John (8 September 2010). "Great Torrington S Michael". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  17. ^ "Pershore Bells and the Pershore Abbey Society of Bell Ringers". Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  18. ^ Higson, Andrew (14 May 2015). "Dublin, Christ Church Cathedral". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  19. ^ Chester, Mike (27 August 2014). "Boston, Old North Christ Church". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  20. ^ "St Anne's Shandon, Cork ~ Views of Cork and Ring the Famous Bells!". Cork, Cloyne, Ross. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  21. ^ Chester, Mike (16 September 2010). "Cork Cath Ch of S Fin Barre". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  22. ^ Chester, Mike (6 February 2019). "Cork, Shandon, Cath Ch of S Mary & S Anne". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  23. ^ Higson, Andrew (25 January 2012). "Wells Cath Ch of S Andrew". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 5 August 2020.