Rob Forsyth


Sketch -A Hammond 1952


Image - Colin Robinson

The history of the church bells is contained in a large number of different sources in the Parish Archive and on this website. This article provides a composite account drawing on all of them. As most of the sources overlap in their descriptions, it is not possible to attribute any one entry in the Timeline to just one. For a complete list see the bibliography at the foot of this article. I am most grateful to Colin Cox (Bell Captain) for his advice and to John Plumbe (Ringer) for his research into the newspaper references. 

A Timeline

1634 The Church tower collapsed.

1635 Letters Patent were issued for a public subscription to rebuild the tower and the extensively damaged fabric of the building. The cost was estimated at £8250. Work commenced quite quickly but the tower was left open to the elements.

1643 The unused bells were requisitioned by Charles I and sent to his magazine in Oxford to be made into artillery with the promise that they would be restored in material or money 'when you shall have occasion to use the same'.

1649 The present Sanctus bell was cast by James Keane of Oxford. It is  known as the 'Ting Tang' because of its distinctive sound and is rung just before a Service to hurry people into church.

1683 Repairs to the church and tower not yet complete. A levy was placed on parishioners to complete the work.

1709 The parishioners belatedly petitioned Queen Anne for the fulfilment of the 1643 promise, but their request was opposed by the Board of Ordnance who could find no record of the incident.

1732 The Bagley family of Chacombe cast two bells. A manuscript in the Bodleian Library (Browne Willis) gives the number of bells now as four.

1788  There were at least five bells by now because the churchwardens stated that the 3rd and 4th bells were broken; presumably the Sanctus bell was the 5th.

1791 On 31 December Jackson's Oxford Journal reported

" ON Tuefday January 3d, I792, will be opened a Compleat PEAL of SIX BELLS, (by a Society of Gentlemen from Oxford) cast by Mears, late Lefter, Pack and Chapman, of London. On which bells, every Gentleman Profeffor of Ringing may have an Opportunity of difplaying his Abilities in that ingenious and Athletic Art."

1844 14 January. Rev.Risley recorded in his diary "The wheel of the Great Bell broke today whilst it was ringing for Evening Service"

1862 8 September. Rev.Risley complained that"..a most disgraceful scene took place in the Belfry between 8 & 9pm - Bells jangling, Sexton half drunk and saucy"

1867 6 November. Rev.Risley once again complained that when he asked the ringers to stop because of three sick children nearby  'they were insolent and refused...I went up into the Belfry and ordered them to stop which was done - after a few saucy words from one Seeney - They set the Bells and then went away refusing to to ring them down, which I did myself - to their surprise, happening to have been an Bellringer when at Oxford -They behaved very ill - I told the Law of the case"


  The Banbury Advertiser reported 'A scare in the Belfry' when the 6th bell 'weighing 23cwt'* fell while bell-ringing practice was in progress. (* Today's Bell Capt. says actually only 17cwt)

1889 The Parish Magasine recorded the cost of rehanging the bells as £6 10s 0d and listed those who had subscribed to the cost.
click on thumbs here & below for larger images


1891 Bell ringer George Ell fell through the trap door in the bell floor. His life was saved by a pile of rope on the church floor. Banbury Advertiser carried the story.

1930BAextract1927 The bells were found to be unsafe and were not rung for the next 3 years.  R White of Appleton carried out the repairs and have maintained the bells ever since.
1928  A Dance to the music of the Deddington Dance Band was held to raise funds to pay for the repairs.
  6 November The Banbury Advertiser carried a full report of the work carried out.

1930s Lily Hill tells an amusing story about the the 'pooden' bell in earlier years (extract from Sept. 1988 Deddington News)
Capt. A J Morris, who had commanded the Home Guard throughout WWII, presented treble and 2nd bells to complete a ring of eight  to commemorate the dedication of the Home Guard in having kept watch over the parish every night during the war. 

1946 14 December Service of Dedication for the new bells

1951 The Sanctus ( Ting Tang) bell was rehung.

1952 A history of the bells and details of the full peal are published in 'Notes on The Tower and Bells'  written by the Vicar Rev. Maurice Frost.

1974 A complaint about the bells from two members of The Deddington Society received a sharp response by letter from Bill Ivings the bell captain!

1986 The bells were refurbished, fitted with new cast-iron headstocks, retuned and rehung. (see Gallery album below) A full peal was rung on Christmas Eve.The cost was £15,131, raised by public subscription and grants.