The Tower and Bells
The tower was erected in about 1475 with the north aisle. On the first floor is the Ringer’s Chamber, which also houses the clock. The second floor is the Bell Chamber. The west door is not original, but was probably inserted in the eighteenth century, threatening the stability of the tower.
The church is known to have had a clock as far back as 1651, when it was extensively repaired. In 1712 a new clock was purchased from the Ellesmere clock maker, Mr Bullock, at a cost of five pounds. This was given an overhaul in 1858. The present clock was purchased in 1900 from J B Joyce of Whitchurch at a cost of sixth five pounds, who continue to maintain it to this day. In 2003, the clock was fitted with an electric winding motor at a cost of £3,657, and the face was repainted, a further £1,600. The costs for this were supported by 85%grants from the Welsh Assembly Government, via Wrexham Borough Council.
In 1650, the Terrier records three bells in the tower. In 1674 the bells were rung for thirteen days following the death of Dame Mary Myddleton, for which the “…Clarke of Chirke with his seaven parteners, for ringeinge the bells at my Ladys her funeral….” was paid the sum of three pounds. In 1857 two new bells were added. However, in 1749 records say that there were three bells, one small Saints’ bell, and a fifth not in use. In 1791 the situation had not changed: “three bells, one damaged by lightning, and one call bell”.
The present bells were recast and refitted by Rudhall of Gloucester in 1814 at a cost of three hundred and fourty pounds. They were engraded thus:
First bell (treble): 1814
Second bell: 1814
Third bell: Fear God, Honour the King
Fourth bell: Peace and Good Neighbourhood
Fifth bell: Prosperity to this Parish
Sixth bell (Tenor, tuned at ‘G’): 1814
The bells were rung principally to call parishioners to worship, and to mark funerals, celebrations, and visits by the bishop. The ringers were customarily plied with ale until about 1820, when expense became prohibitive and decorum prevailed! The curfew bell was still being rung in the ninetenth century – a tradition going back to medieval (and possibly Norman) times. Ringing the bells after Sunday morning worship was sometimes called the “broth bell” – a call to household servants to prepare the dinner!