St Gregory


St Gregory’s possesses two bells, which are dedicated as follows:

  2. + PRAYSE THE LORDE. 1600.

A record of 1552 notes ‘Fledburch ii bells in the steple and iii handbells’.

The first bell is medieval, dating from the early 14th century. The letters are widely separated and belong to an unknown North Country founder, who is likely to have lived c1350-1370; only one other bell with this lettering is known - the bell at Gautby, Lincolnshire. The bell bears the same, rather unusual, dedication as the church. The second bell dedication comprises Gothic capital letters and a small cross fleury, and was cast by Henry Oldfield II of the Nottingham foundry.

The bellframe The bells

The belfry stage of the church appears to be of c1200 from the style of the window tracery. The roof was renewed and new planking inserted on the first floor, during the 19th century restoration. The bell frame is unusual, being a free-standing two-bay structure, positioned in the centre of the belfry, with curved braces. All four sides of the roughly-square frame comprise Elphick 'V', Pickford Group 6.B trusses with the main braces curving outwards from the centre. All the joints are of mortise and tenon type, with some later, bolted bars added to support the bell headstocks. The bells are hung in a north-south alignment and have wheels for full-circle ringing. The wheels are of typical 19th century design, but the headstocks and stays may be older. The frame has been tree-ring dated and it has been determined that it was constructed utilising timber felled in Spring 1649, thus giving it a mid-17th century date, despite the use of curved braces which imply an earlier style. The report on the dendrochronological analysis of the bellframe timbers is available for download.

The belfry is accessed by means of a long ladder, constructed from a single tree trunk, which appears to be of very considerable age.