The Bell Cage

In East Bergholt the building of a bell tower was started in 1525 with assistance promised by Cardinal Wolsey, but his downfall cut short any help and the work ceased in 1530. The Bell Cage was erected as a temporary measure in 1531 and the bells have been in regular use ever since and are still rung at these times to this day.

Although other Bell Cages exist, the one in East Bergholt is the only place where the bells are swung by pure force of hand applied directly to a wooden headstock and not by rope and wheel.

What makes this more remarkable is that they are the heaviest set of five bells that are currently being rung in England, with a total weight of 4.25 tons or 4,318 kilos.

Bells ring for joy and eke for sadness
For solemn requiem
Or in the marriage peal of gladness
Do thou like them
Fitly employ thy voice
The scripture precept keep
Rejoice with them that do rejoice
And weep with them that weep.

Inscription in St Mary's Bellcage, 1530
(no longer in evidence)

For more information contact the Captain.

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