Campton & Chicksands


Photograph from the Bowell archives

All Saints' Church Bells
(The old ring of five bells pre-2006)

Two of the bells are mediaeval. They were cast in London by a founder named William Culverden in about 1520. In 1603 the tenor bell was added or - more likely - recast.. By 1700 when Richard Chandler cast the former treble bell there were four bells in the tower. The four bells were rehung in the newly rebuilt tower in 1894, A further rehanging took place in 1925. At that time, a fifth bell was added to the ring and the old treble - described as "of very poor workmanship and bad tone" - was recast.

The bellframe was erected at the time of the rebuilding of the tower in 1893-4 and remodelled and extended when the bells were rehung in 1925. Although of solid construction the bellframe is made of softwood. As erected in 1893-4 the frame was originally on two levels with three bells (apparently bells 2, 3 and 4 of the ring of four) in parallel pits in the lower frame and another (the treble) in a pit above. All four bells were hung to swing east-west. In 1925 the upper pit of the original frame was removed and Bowell repositioned the three largest bells to the west of the lower frame in order to give room to erect additional framework for the two trebles.

The tower stands at the west end of the south aisle. Originally built in the C15th it was found to be badly cracked and in it was completely rebuilt in 1893 during the course of the restoration of the church under the architect Arthur Wellesley Soames. It was reported in October 1893 that the tower restoration was nearly completed (Beds. Mercury 28 Oct.1893). There are date-stones of 1893 at the south-west angle of the present tower, which is of similar scale and style to the one it replaced. The new tower, however, has freestone dressings at the angles, in the windows, and on the parapet.

 The above are extracts from notes by Chris Pickford FSA

Shefford, Bedfordshire, UK (map)

Contact me