Budby
Chapel

Bells

The Budby Mission Chapel had a bell fitted into a timber structure above the entrance porch at high level on the iron-clad building. This bell is one of the earliest existing relics associated with the Thoresby Estate and was according to the Perlethorpe Parochial Parish notes from the 13th century.

The bell remained here at Budby, until the bell turret collapsed in 1967 and was taken to the Thoresby Estate wood-yard for safe keeping. It bore the inscription:

THOMAS : DE : BYRCHOVERE : ME : DEDIT

(The two letter ‘M’s are inverted, and the ‘Y’ is sideways.)

The bell diameter is 18 inches and it weighs 127 pounds. Unfortunately it has lost its canons (supporting loops on the top of the bell) but the canon piece has a flat surface, an indication of an early bell.

The founder is unknown and the lettering on the bell is unique. Stylistically the bell dates from the period 1340 to 1370, a little later than indicated in the Perlethorpe Parochial Parish notes.

The search for a founder associated with this bell continues to prove difficult. The large existing bell founder, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, was not established until 1570, and the John Taylor Bell Foundry at Loughborough, much later, as its initiator Robert Taylor who was apprenticed to Edward Arnold of St Neots, did not start until 1782.

There are many other smaller bell founders associated with this geographical area, however none appear to be in the date range for our bell. However a Nottingham bell founder William Brasyer de Nottingham, Freeman of Nottingham may be the same person as William de Norwyco, who became Freeman of Norwich in 1376 and introduced bell founding into the Norwich area. One may suggest that William Brasyer de Nottingham probably learnt his trade in Nottingham before leaving for Norwich, and therefore, it can be assumed that there were other bell founders of repute operating in the city since before the middle of the fourteenth century, the period whence we seek further information.