There are five bronze bells housed in the tower of St. Mary's Church, Stratton. Both the Treble and the Tenor are listed in the Council for the Care of Churches Schedule for Preservation in the Salisbury Diocese.

All five bells were originally cast with canons (supporting loops) and wrought iron cast-in crown staples.

The bells hang in an iron frame constructed at the end of the 19th Century by bell-hanger Thomas Blackbourn of Salisbury. The three larger bells swing East-West and the two smaller bells swing North-South.

Before the bells were refurbished in 2005 they all hung from elm headstocks fitted with plate gudgeons running in plain bearings housed in cast-iron plummer blocks. They were fitted with traditional stays, sliders and runner gear. They all had clappers of wrought iron with baldrick tops. During the refurbishment the headstocks were replaced with new steel ones and all the other woodwork was renewed.

The Treble bell, which was cast by Richard Rock of Closworth, Somerset in 1753, is the only example of his work known to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. It is inscribed ‘Elias Wood David Casher CW 1753'. Elias Wood and David Casher were Churchwardens at St. Mary's, Stratton when the bell was cast. It weighs 4¾ cwt, measures 30 1/8” in diameter and is tuned to the note of ‘C'. The photograph shows the refurbished bell after re-hanging in 2005. Churchwardens Accounts for 1753 show: - 26th April, Pd. Mr. Richd. Rock his bill for casting the bell £10 15s 11d Pd. for carriage of ye bell to Closworth and home again 12s 6d




The Second bell, cast in 1695 by Thomas Purdue of Closworth, is 32 3/16” in diameter and weighs 5cwt, 1 qtrs, 24 lbs. Thomas Purdue's initials appear on the bell along with the name Samuel Fisher, a Churchwarden at the time of casting. The bell is tuned to the note of ‘Bb'. The photograph shows the bell being repositioned into the bellframe after the 2005 restoration.


The Third bell was cast by Thomas Purdue in 1658. It is inscribed ‘IP CW ANNO DOMINI 1658', weighs 6 cwt, 3qtrs, 27 lbs and is 35 1/8” in diameter. The photograph, taken prior to the 2005 refurbishment, shows part of the 20” crack rising from the letter ‘O' of the word ANNO. The refurbished bell is tuned to the note of ‘A'.


The Fourth bell is the oldest of the five. It was cast in 1619 by George Purdue. It is inscribed ‘GP ANNO DO 1619' and is 38 1/16” in diameter. It weighs 8cwt, 2 qtrs, 14 lbs and is tuned to the note of ‘G'. The photograph shows the bell following its 2005 refurbishment.


The Tenor bell (seen here before restoration in 2005) was cast in 1627 by Roger Purdue of Bristol and is inscribed with his casters mark (a bell symbol between his initials) and lettering ANNO DO MI NI 1627. The bell bears the coat of arms of King Charles I, weighs 10 cwt, 1 qtrs, 27 lbs, is 41 1/8” in diameter and 31” in height. It is tuned to the note of ‘F'.


A plaque in the tower records that: - “A peal was rung in this Belfry 3hrs 40 mi March 7 1824 by William Green, John Riggs, Thos. Woodland, Jasper Riggs and William Sprackling. J. Clark, painter.”


There are two brass plaques at the base of the tower:- The top plaque reads: - These bells were rehung by Thos BLACKBOURN Salisbury and were rededicated to the service of God the 15th day of Decr 1898. Charles L DUNDAS Vicar : Alfred Pope : Thomas Chick : Churchwardens

The bottom plaque reads: - These bells were rehung by Nicholsons Engineering Ltd., Bridport and were rededicated to the service of God by Rt. Rev. Timothy Thornton, Bishop of Sherborne on the 12th day of June 2005. Kenneth Scott Vicar : Peter Holland : Ian Gibson : Churchwardens

    Brass Plaques   Before restoration in 2005    

Between the 28th February 2005 and the 2nd March 2005 all five bells had been removed from St. Mary's Church tower by bell hanger Allan Britain of Nicholsons Engineering Ltd assisted by two Stratton residents, Wayne Hughes and Colin Jackson.

Having been restored and tuned, the bells and their new fittings were returned to St. Mary's, Stratton on 16th May 2005. During the following week they were replaced in the tower by the same bellhanger and his local assistants.

A band of ringers was formed within the parish.

In September 2016 ringing stopped when a crack appeared in a section of the cast iron framework that supported the treble and tenor bells. An investigation found that a large oak beam supporting the framework had become rotten. Repair work was undertaken and the ringing of the bells resumed.


At 3pm on Friday 1st November 2019 visiting ringers began a peal which involved 5,040 changes of bells positions, carried out without verbal direction save for an occasional one word instruction. This meant that all five ringers needed to know where they and the others were in the sequenece at all times during the entire 2 hours 52 minutes that it took to complete. One error and the peal would have been lost.

The photo shows the ringers; Michael E C Mears, Robert D S Brown, Peter G C Ellis, Nicola J Turner, and Colin M Turner. Colin and Nicola are from Milton, near Abingdon. Michael and Robert are from Newton Abbot, and Peter, who grew up near Blandford, now lives in Hertfordhire.

    L-R: Michael, Robert, Peter, Nicola, Colin    
  As far as is known, there have only been four other peals in the church; on 7th March 1824 (mentioned above), 25th January 1936 (on the death of King George V), 28th October 1980, and 12th May 1982.  
  If you would like more information about joining the Stratton ringers - or if you would just like to try it out - please contact Malcolm Wilson by email at: -