The bell cage was originally erected as a temporary structure in 1531 is thought to have stood in the east of the churchyard until the 17th Century, when it was moved to its present position. Mr Joseph Chaplin paid for this to be done as the family at Old Hall disliked the noise of the bells.
There are 5 bells which weigh approximately 4,400 kilogrammes, thought to be the heaviest five bells being rung in England. Pressure is applied by hand to the bell and it is technique rather than strength that enables the bell to be rung. The bells are left upright because of the effort required to get them in that position as they are not counter – balanced.
The Treble or First
It was recast in 1887 by Warner and Sons. The original bell weighed 8cwt. The present bell is inscribed “Warner and Sons me reficit in anno Jub.Vic.Reg. 1887. 12 cwt.0qr.9lb. Diameter 3ft 4 in /101.5 cm
The Second (G)
It is in its original form and dates from approximately 1450. The inscription reads “ Hecce Gabreelis Sonat hec campana fidelis.” (Here sounds this bell of faithful Gabriel) 12cwt. 3qr.23lb. Diameter 3 ft.5in /104 cm
The Third (F#)
Is inscribed “ Ricardus Bowler me fecit 1601” and “Sum Rosa Pulsata Mondi Maria Vocata.” (My name is Mary; for my tone I am known as the Rose of the World) 19cwt.1qr . 5l. Diameter 3ft 8in/111cm
The Fourth (E)
Shows coins of Charles II and was cast in 1688 by a London Founder, Christopher Hodson. 19cwt.1qr.5lb. Diameter 4ft 1in/124 cm
The Tenor (D)
The Tenor or Fifth was made by John Stephens, a Norwich founder, in 1727. In 1749 repairs were done by Messrs Hayne of Ipswich for £1 4s 6d. 1 ton, 6cwt.0qr.8lb Diameter 4ft 6 in/137cm
Restoration work was done on the cage in 1972 so the bells were removed. They were rehung on ball bearings in 1973. A great deal of work was done on them in 2000/2001 to bring them up to modern health and safety standards.
The bells are rung every Sunday morning between 9.30 and 10.00 and for weddings and other special occasions such as the Diamond Jubilee.
Contact the Bell Captain for further information