St Edith's Beck & Bells Project

A time-lapse video of phase 1 of our project to repair and re-hang the church bells. This footage was filmed on day two of the works.

A real-timevideo of our project to repair and re-hang the church bells. This footage was filmed over two days.

A look at the faces to be found in St Edith's


An artist's inspiration from the Bishop Wilton beck.

Poems inspired by St Edith's Church and Bishop Wilton beck.


Our new "history" display can be seen in church - along with a video installation of the bell repairs.

BECK AND BELLS is a project run by the Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St Edith’s Church.

We have preserved some of the oldest artefacts in St Edith’s church for future generations to appreciate.

Work to the bells

The work entailed

Removing the three bells from the bell frame.
Drilling a centre hole and removing the cast-in crown staple.
Provision of new wooden hardwood deadstocks for each bell.
Fitting the new deadstocks, recessed to accept the canons of the bell.
Fitting canon-retaining strap work to secure the bells to the headstocks.
Provision of securing ironwork to hold the deadstocks to the bell frame.
Installing the deadstocks and bells into the existing bell frame.
Installation of an electromagnetic hammer beside each bell, and a control panel.
Fitting ropes and sallies so that the bells can also be sounded by hand.

It started with a fascinating heritage weekend in October 2022, which featured an exhibition of photographs, maps and artefacts about Bishop Wilton, history walks, and two showings of cine films of village life. We also launched a 420-page book – A Local History of Bishop Wilton – about the village, its characters and history.

The three historically important church bells had been silent for at least five years. Thanks to Whites of Appleton, Bellhangers, they have been repaired and rehung and can at last be heard again in the village and beyond. We were able to ring them for the Coronation and they will continue to sound for church services, weddings and special events. 

We have installed a display about the project in St Edith’s church. It includes a screen for showing films, including some of the bellhangers at work and others featuring local art and poetry.

Bishop Wilton School has been involved, with the children learning to play handbells and finding out more about the beck.

We have also run a family ‘nature walk’ and have been encouraging people to reminisce about growing up in Bishop Wilton. We hope that the impact of the Beck and Bells project will last well into the future. 


St Edith's Beck & Bells Project

The Beck & Bells project held the official launch of its book "A Local History of Bishop Wilton" on the weekend of 8/9th October. It was a huge success. The exhibition was visited by more than 300 people over the weekend and we have sold more than 50% of our stocks of books - so if you want one you had better move quickly. They can be bought on-line by clicking the image opposite. The price is £34.79 includes postage and packaging. Or if you are local you can get one form the village shop for £27.50.

All proceeds go to the upkeep of the church building of St Edith's, Bishop WIlton.

We have successfuly rehung the bells so that they can once again sound out over the village and the surrounding Yorkshire Wolds.

Two of the bells are of such an age and interest that they are considered to be of national importance.

The treble bell, which is the smallest, was cast in 1649 by Abraham Smith, the first of a family of founders who had the ‘bell house’ on Toft Green in York from 1635-1671.

The largest bell, the tenor, was made by Abraham’s son Samuel. It is of considerable interest because its date of 1687 places it in the post-Restoration period of bell founding. It is in its original condition with its canons intact, and it has not been tuned.

The middle bell is the work of Robert Dalton of York, and dated 1791. It is of regional importance, and records the names of the Vicar and Churchwardens at the time. It is untuned, unlike many of his surviving bells.

Bell inscriptions

    ‘Soli Deo Gloria Pax Hominibus 1649 MPD PH.’
    ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo 1687.’
    ‘Glory to God in the highest Alleluia Dalton Fecit York 1791; Tho Williamson. Tho Dickson. Churchwardens.’

The church bells are very much loved in the village. As well as being rung for Sunday service and village events such as weddings and funerals, they have sounded at significant national moments. Over the centuries the bells have formed part of the soundscape of Bishop Wilton and they are sadly missed.

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